The Belgian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale will present the work of the Belgian artist Vincent Meessen, together with international guest artists. The artist’s project, Personne et les autres, selected to represent Belgium at the 56th Venice Biennale, moves away from the traditional format of a solo show and opens up to include multiple positions and voices, thus challenging the traditional notion of the national representation in Venice. Working in close collaboration Meessen and Brussels-based curator Katerina Gregos have developed a thematic exhibition and invited a dozen international artists to participate. The exhibition includes artists from the Americas, Africa, and Asia as well as Europe, whose work - like Meessen’s - probes the history and afterlife of colonial modernity.
The project takes the history of the Belgian Pavilion and the international context of the Biennale (both derived from the colonial exhibitions and world expositions) as the points of departure. It aims to challenge the Euro-centric idea of modernity by examining a shared avant-garde heritage and artistic/intellectual cross-pollination between Europe and Africa, looking into the hybrid forms that were produced as a result of colonial encounters. At the same time it examines the impact of colonial modernity on our contemporary subjectivities. Personne et les autres also revisits and pays tribute to the legacy of Internationalism, and the global emancipatory movements during the time of independence in respective African countries, whilst at the same time interrogating the notion of artistic radicalism and its meaning today.
Curator: Katerina Gregos