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exhibition Arbeid

Thomas Raat

Arbeid, a group exhibition organized in collaboration with Netwerk, center for contemporary art (Aalst, Belgium), examines the attitude that various artists occupy in relation to artistic labour. The exhibition provides the impetus to develop alternative models that ensure that the art workplace is better adapted to the changing needs and realities of being an artist. Four artists carry the theme in various ways through work that was conceived during a residency at FLACC.

In recent years there has been a renewed interest in traditional art production materials such as ceramic, wood and glass processing. This shift coincides with a redefinition of manual work in the field of contemporary high-tech media. The position of the artist is hereby also questioned. What makes the artist “different” than the craftsman? When does labour become “artistic work”?

Why is Belgian Congolese pottery seen as traditional, while Art Nouveau pottery from the same period is ascribed a much higher artistic value? How does historical perspective change the position of the pottery from the Belgian Congo, from common utensil without any pretensions, to objects in respected museums? Is this typical for the difficult relationship with the colonial history? Stephanie Syjuco has long been interested in the politics of the industry and handicraft production and their relation to globalization and capitalism. In her project “Empire / Other” she places the exploration of the apparent contradiction between the handmade and the virtual even further, examining how society can deal with the conflict from the past.

Katsutoshi Yuasa sees how a changing world not only puts pressure on traditional artistic craft methods, but also provides opportunities to preserve them for the future. High-tech production facilities play an important role.

During Kevin Rodgers‘ work period in FLACC, he used two specific questions as starting points: at what point does the inaccessibility of a representation begin? What does it mean for an artistic practice to be “out of order”?

The recent work of Thomas Raat focuses on the spread of modernist visual language. This experimental imagery, which originated from a small circle of avant-gardists, became conventional during the course of the fifties and sixties, due to many artists and designers tendency to reference it. This created an art historical twilight zone of secondary currents and applications. Raat takes this twilight zone, which stretches from furniture designs to book covers, as his starting point. “Modernist” images that seem to position themselves at a turning point; the moment when the experimental nature of a radical new imagery becomes homey.

Practical information
Opening: saturday 3 oktober at 20.00.
Location: Netwerk, Houtkaai 15, 9300 Aalst (Belgium)
The exhibition runs from sunday 4 october til sunday 15 november.

Presentation Thomas Raat (NL), Stian Ådlandsvik (No) & Lutz-Rainer Müller (De)

We have the pleasure to invite you for presentations of Thomas Raat and Stian Ådlandsvik & Lutz-Rainer Müller. The presentations are on Saturday 27 June at FLACC, Andre Dumontlaan 2, 3600 Genk (Belgium). It starts at 13.00 and we end the day at 16.00 with a glass of Norwegian beer.

Thomas Raat (NL)
The project of Thomas focuses on the distribution of the modernistic visual language. This experimental visual language, which started in a small circle of avant gardist artists, became the conventional form in de fifties and sixties, because many artists and mainstream designers used it as examples for their own work. And thus a twilight of art historical derived movements and uses. Raat takes this twilight, which stresses from furniture design to book covers, as the starting point. Using a combination of quotations and imitations Raat simulates authentic looking “modernistic” images that position on the moment of the tipping point. The moment that the experimental new visual language becomes conventional, the moment that avant garde becomes homely.

Stian Ådlandsvik (No) and Lutz-Rainer Müller (De)
Reflection upon their collaboration in itself becomes one of the core elements in their expression, both as a duo and as individual artists. At FLACC the artists researched their collaboration by using a circular motion. A hand dough form of a shovel was filled with plaster and used to make a bronze version. This somewhat blind way of tentatively shaping a sculpture would be closely connected to the idea of a handmade hybrid form that wavers between artistic thought and practical use. A digger’s strong mechanical arm will then be used to move the shovel, possibly altering a landscape or simply digging a hole. But the digger will also function as a temporary sort of carrier for the sculpture, shaping it further by affecting traces of physical work.

The reception is made possible by the Norwegian Embassy and Marlou Dranken.

Thomas Raat

Part of the work realized by Thomas Raat at FLACC is on view in The Andor Gallery in London. The exhibition can be visited until April 25.
More info:

Thomas Raat


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