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Ways of Seeing at Villa Empain

The Boghossian Foundation is presenting an exhibition by curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath focused on the impact of visual culture

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Text by Rab Messina

Curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath are presenting a new collaboration with the Boghossian Foundation with Ways of Seeing, an exhibition based on John Berger’s 1972 text on visual culture.

“The exhibition invites the viewer to investigate the manifold ways by which artists accord forms and concepts that are otherwise familiar with renewed appearances and meanings,” explained Bardaouil and Fellrath.

Set in Brussels’ Villa Empain, Ways of Seeing features 70 works by 27 artists and collectives, from painting to sculpture, photography, sound, film and installation. “It facilitates a return towards a vision of artists as makers of things, who relentlessly remind us that the connection between what we see and what we know is never settled, and that seeing is, at its core, a political act,” said the curators.

Some pieces highlight the history of the country. Thierry Bosquet’s The Uprising in front of La Monnaie in 1830 is a testament of how art constructs an image of national identity. The rare editions of The Adventures of Tintin on display speak of one of Belgium’s most well known adventurers —but, placed next to archival photographs from the collection of the Royal Museum for Central Africa-Tervuren, the contrast shines a light on the creation of the image of the colonised.

The roster is completed by pieces like a 1968 projection by James Turrell (pictured in our cover image), a vertical construction installation by Fred Sandback and two Historic Photographs by Gustav Metzger.

Ways of Seeing is open until February 18, with a series of screenings and lectures throughout January

David Claerbout, The Algier's sections of a happy moment (2008)
Chris Bond, svampkris ig perrrgin vantlish la steken (2015)
Gustav Metzger, To crawl into... (1996-2017)
Alicja Kwade, Kohle (1T Rekord) (2010)

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