Wake-up Call Blijven liggen / laten staan

Thanks to an invitation by Philippe Van Cauteren, director of the S.M.A.K., Ghent, we (Lieze Eneman, Luk Lambrecht, Gert Robijns) in turn were able to set up an exhibition with works from Bieke & Tanguy Van Quickenborne’s extensive collection.


This collection consists of deliciously disconnected works of art from all parts of the world, without any regard for the name and fame of their maker. Lots of works are improper, don’t fit in the current trends or don’t comply with politically correct themes. The collection is like life itself: a colourful patchwork of not one single taste, but of many tastes, and of unusual excursions to and incursions in the seemingly endlessly branching world of contemporary art and art market. At the same time, the collection echoes the sound of a rumbling, hungry stomach that is always looking for ‘food’, spiced with worldly flavours that whet the appetite for more.


The point of departure is a photograph with an image of Tanguy lying on the floor, ‘resting’ next to a number of unused, leftover bars of marble. The photograph was taken by Gert Robijns, who together with the CEO’s of some companies thought up a concept in which the ‘sleeping material’ of their companies enters into a relation with an artist, while at the same time the material is put at the disposal of the artist. This photographic image is part of the series ‘re-art’, which ‘shifts’ leftover material/matter from business companies to the art production.


This image made us conclude that most works of art basically ‘sleep’ in their protective packaging. This is true of all collections, both private and public. In our conversations, we transposed the photograph of Tanguy next to matter sleeping and the idea of art in a dormant state to turn them into an exhibition concept in time and space. In the exhibition room, all of the thirty works selected are presented horizontally on ‘rests’ made of white wood, and they are protected with a sheet of transparent, white fabric, with makes them diaphanously visible. In this stage, the works of art just let us glimpse them: in a state of suggestion and expectation.


The exhibition is activated in three movements: at the opening (4 March) and in May and July; thus the exhibition awakens as it were progressively in time. The works of art are lying there with their protective cover, probably reminiscent of contemporary art works by for example Christo, with his ‘wrapping art’, and of Joseph Kosuth’s Passagen-Werk (documenta-Flânerie) at the documenta IX (1992) in Kassel.


wake-up call presents a cross-fertilizing exhibition logic in an intense three-cornered relationship between the collectors, who lend their works, the curators, who make a meaningful selection and present a meaningful set-up, and the insert/input of the artists, whose work is required to keep art ‘awake’.


The exhibition features a number of small ensembles, but is also invaded by several benign outsiders: works of art/viruses by Gert Robijns, Sybren Vanoverberghe and dancer Mooni Van Tichel that don’t relate to any collection, but ‘unexpectedly’ acquired a place of their own in wake-up call because of their power and artistic value.


The opening (on 4 March) will turn into a first transitional moment, with ten works that will be woken from their sleep and thus become publicly ‘on display’. This moment will acquire an extra dimension thanks to a short performance by Mooni Van Tichel (ex-P.A.R.T.S.), who has reworked her short choreography 40 Falls and transformed it into a new version: 30 Falls. An echo of the performance remains visible throughout the exhibition in a video that is on view.


The exhibition doesn’t pretend to present sententious insinuations, though the title alludes openly to urgencies that allow today’s art in a meaningful way to poke fun at reality.


As an exhibition, wake-up call is an expanding place for nonconformist, lateral thinking, which (in this instance) goes hand in hand with bold creativity, the idea of transit, the ephemerality of trends and good taste, the permanent packing and unpacking (and vice versa) of works of art, and the joy of playing with the intrinsic, as well as the exhibition value of works of art.


In short:


wake-up call is a subjectively traceable exercise in making an exhibition and reveals at the same time the mechanisms of movements of packing and unpacking, selection, appearance and disappearance, and the succession of tastes and interests.


A free take-away poster features an image of the sleeping ‘scenography’ of the exhibition, as well as the three-part list of (3 x 10) works of art selected, interlarded with some additional thoughts, as it were in order to stay awake together.


Luk Lambrecht & Lieze Eneman in a co&go with Gert Robijns

January/February 2021


Our thanks to WorkSpaceBrussels