Sunday, April 11, 2010


Sorry for lack of posts, everyone. Its been one heck of a week, with midterm reviews, school closing for Easter Vacation (Passavacantie - 2 weeks) and having friends and relatives come in and out of town all week, and doing a bit of traveling myself. I will be backtracking a bit in my art explorations, as to catch up on all the exhibitions I have seen.

On the 3rd Thursday of every month in Antwerp, all of the local galleries and museums hold openings for all of the new exhibitions. With drinks and hors d'oeuvres, ambling through the streets of Antwerp; you could say it is the authentic European experience. On this particular Thursday, I made it just to the Museum of Contemporary Art (Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen - M HKA) to see their current exhibition:

(1/22/2010 - 5/2/2010)
Part One
A Collaboration between Extra City and M HKA @ M HKA Antwerpen, BE
(5/2010 - 7/2010)
Part Two
@ Kunsthalle Bern

The exhibition/publication project that is Animism showcases the reemergence of animism as a concept vital to contemporary times. The concept outlined by 19th century Anthropologists, such as Sir Edward Tylor (1871 book Primitive Cultures), suggest that animism is the "the theory of the universal animation of nature". Furthermore, Tylor reduced animism to an idea of simplistic concept and perspective on the world at large, that only "primitive" societies would believe in such an archaic and basic evaluation of nature.

This philosophical perspective provides the generalized belief that all animals possess an immaterial soul, hence placing humans and animals within a complex relation to one another. Although it can be assumed that humans have souls, and that humans are a distinct and sophisticated species of animal, we are inevitably just that; animals. Human beings, by nature, have a level of arrogance and a superiority complex that enables us to (primitively speaking) see all objects and subjects possessing human-like qualities and characteristics (i.e. souls, feelings, personalities, etc.). Similar to personification, man's perception of himself in nature can be seen from a child's imaginary friend to idol worship, the concept of "god making man in his image", to a "tribal-like" religion. This arrogance is what also stems the paradox of humans v.s. animals; the idea that somehow we are the superior, dominant species yet we long for the simplicity of existence that animals possess (after all what more could any being want more than to roll in mud and bake in the sun such as a pig? However we may front our disdain and faux supremacy, we still posses the envy and innate desire to be a contented animal).

Comprised of such ideals and philosophies as stated above, as well as each artists individual interpretation and conception; we have the exhibition Animism. The show consisted of installation works, photography, sculpture, performances, and video/film; every visual art form equally represented. Contemporary works meld with historical artworks to fully represent a century's worth of Animism in visual thought. The following images are stills and pieces from the exhibition:

Len Lye
Tusalava, 1929
16mm reduction from 35mm film, 10'

Daria Martin
Soft Materials, 2004
16mm film, 10'30"

Felix Regnault
Hommes negres - marche, c.a. 1870

Etiennes-Jules Marey
Le vol du pelican, c.a. 1800

Joachim Koester
Bialowieza Forest, 2001
Extra City

Assembly, 2010
Mixed Media/Installation
Other Artists from the show:
  • Christian W. Braune & Otto Fischer
  • Marcel Broodthaers
  • Paul Chan
  • Didier Demorcy
  • Walt Disney
  • Lili Dujourie
  • Jimmie Durham
  • Eric Duvivier
  • Thomas A. Edision
  • Harun Farocki
  • Leon Ferrari
  • Victor Grippo
  • Brion Gysin
  • Igloolik Isuma Productions
  • Luis Jacobs
  • Louise Lawler
  • Angela Melitopoulos Maurizio Lazzarato
  • Wesley Meuris
  • Henri Michaux
  • Santu Mofokeng
  • Wincent Monnikendam
  • Tom Nicholson
  • Retro Pulfer
  • Jozeph Robakowski
  • Natascha Sadr Haghighian
  • Paul Sharits
  • Jan Svankmajer
  • David G. Tretiakoff
  • Rosemarie Trockel
  • Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven
  • Dziga Vertov
  • Klaus Weber
  • Apichatpong Weeraesethakul
Until Next Time,

1 comment:

  1. Looks pretty wonderful! I remember seeing good work there too.