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Abel Auer

Don’t Call it a Scene: Belgian Art Gets a Fittingly Patchy Survey

by Eva Heisler on August 6, 2012
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Un-Scene II, curated by Elena Filipovic and Anne-Claire Schmitz, is the second installment of what is to be a triennial inquiry into the practices of Belgium-based artists. It is not, however, a show about Belgian artists. Half the artists are non-Belgian. Rather, the ambition is to investigate art-making at this particular moment in Belgium.

Since its inaugural show in 2009, Un-Scene’s curatorial approach has been characterized by its resistance to any impulse to define a Belgian “scene”. Because Belgium is composed of two primary language communities, attempts to define Belgian art are dismissed as “mischievous” by curators Devrim Bayar, Charles Gohy and Dirk Snauwaert in the catalogue for the first Un-Scene. Stereotypes such as “French-speaking artists [tend] toward sardonic humour and language games, whilst Flemish artists … tend toward melancholic descriptions and mystifications” are avoided by including artists actively working in Belgium, regardless of citizenship.

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