EUROPALIA CURATOR'S AWARD Natural Capital (Modal Alam)
21 12 '17 > 21 01 '18
Centre for Fine Arts
Rue Ravenstein 23
Tuesday - Sunday
10:00 - 18:00
10:00 - 21:00
Closed on Monday
T +32 (0)2 507 82 00
EUROPALIA, Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia
About Europalia Curator’s AwardFor the second edition of the EUROPALIA CURATOR’S AWARD in the framework of EUROPALIA INDONESIA, curators Charlotte Dumoncel d'Argence (FR) and Laura Herman (BE) developed the project Natural Capital (Modal Alam), including five participating artists: Martin Belou (FR), Adrien Missika (FR), Rachel Monosov (IL), Offshore Studio (CH) and Adrien Vermont (FR). Both curators and two artists (Martin Belou and Adrien Vermont) went on a one-month residency in Indonesia in order to reflect on issues of biodiversity in the archipelago. The result will be presented soon in the exhibition Natural Capital (Modal Alam) opening the 21st of December in BOZAR, accompanied by an online catalogue (naturalcapital.online).
Curated by Charlotte Dumoncel d’Argence and Laura Herman
Artists included are Martin Belou, Adrien Missika, Rachel Monosov, Offshore Studio and Adrien Vermont
naturalcapital.online is an online publication, in English and Bahasa Indonesia, that includes contributions, essays and interviews by artists and theorists from Indonesia, Belgium, and elsewhere. The website will go live on the occasion of the exhibition opening. With Yuki Agriardi, Mira Asriningtyas, Bakudapan, Cooking Sections, Yudi Chandra, T.J. Demos, Syaiful Garibaldi, Alexis Gautier, Setu Legi, Celia Lowe, David O’Reilly, Yasmine Ostendorf, Filip Van Dingenen and others.
Design by Offshore Studio (Isabel Seiffert and Christophe Miler)
About the exhibition
Comprising an exhibition and online publication, Natural Capital (Modal Alam) aims to confront economic and scientific accounts of biodiversity in the Indonesian archipelago — one of the world's most biodiverse countries. ‘Natural capital’ is an economic concept that we have come to understand as the world’s assets of natural resources capable of flowing into goods and services. No doubt, there must be more liberating and emancipatory concepts to describe the natural commons, currently managed, quantified, and represented as natural capital.
Dealing with this current treatment of the natural world — an outcome of 19th century notions of heroic discovery and scientific classification — while being aware of the contemporary filters through which our experience of nature is mediated, the invited artists and contributors engage with languages and visualisations of Indonesian nature that attempt to thwart the abstractions of natural capital. Yet these investigations raise the question of whether the channels that allow us to mediate and exchange alternative forms of knowledge and experience — such as travel, cultural diplomacy, the media, and the Internet — are capable of transmitting a genuine understanding.
An installation by Martin Belou comprises an unlikely combination of coral skeletons and the kinds of empty advertising panels that dot the Indonesian landscape, bearing campaigns, adverts, or political messages that have dwindled over time. Scenes of faded organic matter and panels devoid of signs quickly become aestheticized abstractions, displaced from their original context and emptied of meaning.
In It will end up in me, Description use of medicinal plants and The Expedition, a film installation by Rachel Monosov, the artist leads us through the Indonesian landscape to encounter indigenous botanists and healers. Her films address bioethical questions and subtly upend the oppositions between science and mythology, documentary and fiction.
Inspired by Conrad Gesner’s 1615 Historiae Animalium, the first species encyclopedia, Adrien Vermont researches the historical shifts in animal representation and symbolism. His travels to Indonesia have inspired a series of drawings on large canvases that reference the experience economy of Bali and magnify the Western fascination with an ancestral, mystified nature.
With More or Less (Psychometric Portrait), Adrien Missika connects the hazards of nature with his own mood swings. A series of hygrometers simultaneously measure humidity and human feelings. Using humour, Missika questions our relationship to nature, spanning scientific rationality, quasi-esoteric beliefs, and undeniable biological rhythms.
Finally, a series of pivoting, synthetic, organic-looking 3D objects by Offshore Studio refer to the artificiality of the ‘natural’, as well as the challenges of going beyond clichés of cultural appropriation in contemporary modes of representation.
Charlotte Dumoncel d’Argence (°1985, France) has a background in design and holds an MA in conceptual design from Design Academy Eindhoven. Collaborations and experiences have brought her closer to the field of contemporary art in which she initiates and contributes to exhibitions, publications, and events with a transdisciplinary mindset.
Laura Herman (°1988, Belgium) is a writer and curator living in Brussels, whose work focuses on affective infrastructures. She currently serves as an assistant curator at La Loge and as editor at De Witte Raaf. Her writing has appeared in Frieze, Mousse, Spike Art Quarterly, Bomb, and Metropolis M. In 2016 she received her MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, New York.
Martin Belou (1986°, France) is an artist who creates performative situations and experiences with the four elements: earth, water, air, and fire. Driven by intuition and artisanal savoir-faire, he combines sculpture, drawing, and organic materials (mushrooms, spices, wood, stone, chalk…) in installations that often deal with universal notions of craftsmanship, tradition, and community.
Fueled by his travels, Adrien Missika (°1981, France) uses his practice to share his acute perception of being present - in a physical space, at a certain time, within a given culture. He subverts the notions of exoticism and cultural appropriation in multimedia productions that highlight the frictions and incompatibilities between natural and man-made, and the absurdities that ensue.
Bridging photography, video, performance, and sculpture, Russian-born Rachel Monosov (°1987, Israel) delves into cultural notions of alienation, territorial belonging, gender, and identity. Nature serves as a source for the artist’s imagery and objects, which can be interpreted as both symbolic and indexical. Her work reflects a rootless present rife with broader social implications.
Offshore Studio (Isabel Seiffert (°1986) and Christoph Miler (°1988)) is a graphic design studio based in Zurich. They are the founders and editors of the magazine Migrant, which explores the circulation of people, goods, information, but also flora and fauna around the world and their transformation. They are interested in collaborative, transnational, and decentralised projects and productions. Offshore’s designs often feature bold signs and glyphs that recall scientific taxonomies.
Adrien Vermont (°1981, France) explores drawing by playing with codes ranging from natural sciences to comics via medieval enluminures and children’s colouring books. In an endless quest for the right tone, through the format of etudes, he has fine-tuned a unique handwriting, embedding all the above-mentioned references into a seemingly universal visual language. His inclusions of text and language, far from being simply provocative, raise questions of self-expression of the observed subject.
Opening: Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 18:00