Try to freeze this image in your mind: two men standing in a landscape. Now sink below the ground. See the sediments of the past. Add layers of culture and all the different interpretations of history and believes. This image is the starting point for the series of exhibitions Two Men Standing.
Two people, thus two images collide – an empty-handed man that walks through the landscape, looking for a place to settle. Then a man of plenty, trying to exclude the other from the land that he claims belongs to him. Law of nature and law of man superimposed.
The concept of a line is often taken as a primitive. The behaviour and properties of lines are defined by postulates. They lay a foundation for further reasoning, unconditionally being accepted to be true. Ria Pacquée opened the group exhibition Two Men Standing. Part 3 with the performance Line drawn with emotion and Line drawn without emotion on 29 February 2020, one week before we made a decision to close the space due to COVID-19.
Together with artists OUT OF SIGHT decided to reOpen the exhibition on 5 September, 2020.
The recent changes of our daily lives and new “normalities” are reflected within the artworks at this exhibition:
A monumental wall drawing by Minna Henriksson resulted from a collaborative research of ‘race science’ in the Nordic countries between the 1850s and 1945, by the artist and archaeologist Fredrik Svanberg, then head of research at the Swedish History Museum. The complex network of state institutions and respected scientists that promoted this pseudo-science and categorisation of humans into ‘races’, placed in hierarchical order, is untangled within the work Nordic Race Science.
The project Integration by Zoran Todorović was realised in a refugee center in Belgrade through which refugees from the Near East and Africa were passing. Todorović collected their urine on the basis of which a domestic beer was made according to a popular Belgium recipe. The beer was exported to first-world countries and consumed by the audience and the author as part of a lecture performance. After the expiration date of the beer, Integration is presented as an installation which testifies about the process of making the beer, from the refugee toilet to the final packing of the finished product and its consumption.
The installation I Don’t Want to be a Prepper by Johanna Kirsch is situated in the very near apocalyptic, dystopian now. The work contemplates possible catastrophes from the western perspective of the global north and the individual eagerness to survive. The work leans on the history of modern survivalist movements, from the Second World War, Cold War, the Great Depression era, and more recent ones related to fear of terrorist attacks, climate change, classism, xenophobia and racism. Kirsch embodies the role of a prepper, simultaneously trying to resist becoming one. The structure that she created within the exhibition is a model of survivalist, stockpiled retreat. The installation follows the mind set of a prepper whose goal is to become self-sufficient and capable to live, detached from the rest of the world.
The Horror Garden is an investigative performance and installation by Gosie Vervloessem, trying to answer questions about the relationship between humans and plants. According to Vervloessem there are three locations where the relation between humans and plants takes a stark form: the nature reserve, the plantation and the botanical garden. Places with a direct link to a colonial past. Places in which the relationship between people and plants seems tightly aligned. Do people treat plants with respect? Do plants feel recognised and understood? What happens when plants break out of the background of our living rooms? When searching for an answer, Vervloessem calls on a number of horror movies in which plants frighten us.
Ria Pacquée’s two charcoal lines and a handwritten text on the wall is an uncanny reminder of unstable and fragile state of now.