Young Artists '07, Nine of them! : Dirk Pauwels, 2007

 

How are choices made? And how can you mould them into a single whole? These are questions every curator probably has to deal with.

 

The fact that the initiator asked me - a man of the theatre - of all people, to make a selection for the Young Artists exhibition shows they are not afraid of taking risks. My positive reply, immediate and spontaneous, brought with it more doubts and uncertainty than any so-called 'expertise'. In my case, this 'shortcoming' lies in the way I handle artistic matter, based on the idea that one knows and has control over is too weak a foundation on which to produce anything unexpected. 'What is event-based challenges what exists, and when adding an event (an experiment) one cannot start out from what one is, how one is or how one moves' :Alain Badiou

 

I know from experience how difficult it is for Young Artists to make their talent visible, to be discovered, to be included, to be finished out. Whichever way you look at it, the market principle is at work in art too, and talent alone is unfortunately not sufficient for inclusion. This exhibition will probably not signal a breakthrough for the nine artists selected. I can only hope it will mark a step forwards on their path, and to this I would like to add my personal hope that I may have helped in some way.

In making my selection I took no account of any common affinity, nor with the opposite, any confrontation or clash. There is no overall story, and we therefore need no rhetoric about what connects them: they are nine individuals, each with their own idiom, story, colour, style and technique.

 

Nor have I reflected on any balance between spatial, pictorial, photographic or painted work. All that motivated me was the search for the ones that captivated me - so I chose nine by gut instinct. They share the space, each with their own personal (visual) story. In other words I have not let myself become caught up in what one might easily think one has to attempt, which is to give the whole set some unity, or, worse still, establish a confrontation. There is no logic involved here, no urge for cohesion, let alone belonging together, but rather a contrariness of presentation. After all, a working method that is open only to a certain recognition and not to deconstructive thinking simply clings onto acquired rights and stays where it is. And when something stays where it is it does not move forward.

 

Each work is a personal narrative, different from any other person's story. So for the visitor there is nothing left but to walk around in this unusual roofed space where tropical plant are briefly coming out of hibernation.

Attractive and extraordinary as this glass gallery may be, the location played no part in the choices made. The creation of a balance, and the difficulties this involved, only occurred after the decisions had been taken. I am also very pleased that, in consultation with the exhibitors, no exhibition panels or enclosures were put up. The interior is used as it is, as a large exhibition space where everyone's work can be shown uncompromisingly and as of equal worth alongside one another, going from one focus to the next.

 

Nor do I wish to give any personal appreciation of the nine participants in this introduction. I do not want to be guilty of providing ready-made views. The work is not always helped by reflection on their content - it is best left to speak for itself. Leave the perception to the viewer, because their own eyes and feelings are more than sufficient to absorb this fascinating collection. In my case too, my own definitions do not extend beyond what I feel, and it is not always simple to argue with feelings.

 

The only thing I still want to say is that the nine people appearing here are who they are and are able to transpose this fact into convincing and uncompromising work. Work that is individual enough to convince me of its worth. My daily dealings with young artists (in the theatre and other genres) have shown me that once again an exciting new generation is ready and waiting to make their move in the artistic world. This exhibition is yet more proof.

If globalism means 'many things for many people', the nine from 2007 present the opposite. So, let this be a statement in the whole great but banal story of participation.

 

Dirk Pauwels, 2007

 

Ghent I Belgium I johan.gelper@telenet.be

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