National participation of Belgium


Main Exhibition curated by Ralph Rugoff (Giardini/Arsenale)

Otobong Nkanga

Miet Warlop



Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys

Belgian Pavilion, Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles

58th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia - Special Mention as National Participation

From May 11 to November 24, 2019



At the 58th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, the Belgian Pavilion is showing MONDO CANE, an exhibition by artists Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys, curated by Anne-Claire Schmitz. MONDO CANE was selected and announced as Belgium’s representation to the Biennale in July 2018 by the Minister of Culture of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. The project depicts a society that is folded in on itself where tradition is erected as a refuge.

MONDO CANE presents itself as a local folkloric museum that displays the human figure. Silent, pale and frightened, the pavilion’s inhabitants appear as aestheticized shells, stuck in a loop of formal activity that the visitor perceives as odd and out of touch with contemporary reality. The exhibition contains some twenty dolls, most of them automated; a series of large illustrations depicting pastoral scenes; and steel bars that fence off the pavilion’s lateral recesses. At the centre of the building there are artisans - such as a cobbler, a stonemason and a spinner who, true to themselves, ply their respective trades. The side rooms of the pavilion are a parallel world peopled by louts, zombies, poets, psychotics, the insane, and the marginalized. These two worlds exist in the same space, but they seem to be entirely unaware of one another. The gestures of the dolls are mechanical and awkward. The sounds and movements alternate and are activated by the visitors’ presence via a motion detector at the entrance. The space is imbued with songs, plaintive cries and labour. The dolls’ heads are modelled both on fictive characters that have already appeared in the work of Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys and on real people. We enter the pavilion as we were entering a wonderland. Full of beauty and ugliness. In accordance with an age-old tradition, spectators allow themselves to be drawn by the promise of seeing wonderful things at an exhibition: ‘A show well worth the while of parents and their children!’ The Belgian Pavilion offers a real promenade, akin to a touristic or anthropological experience, reminiscent of an old Europe.


 Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys have the habit of distilling fictions out of a reality that is, sometimes, ‘too real.’ Both willingly concede that they feel attracted to the psychotic state of contemporary societies, a state that they simultaneously dread and disseminate in their work. MONDO CANE, which seizes visitors with its off-kilter realism, is in every way a continuation of this practice. Without ever falling into cynicism or moralism, the artists deftly and wittily transform that which resembles fear or a latent state into something willed, critical and counter to the status quo.

Anne-Claire Schmitz

Special Mention as National Participation

The publication

Young curators Programme

Press review

Interview l'art même n°78





Main exhibition curated by Ralph Rugoff










Otobong Nkanga

May You Live In Interesting Times
curated by Ralph Rugoff
Central Pavilion
until 24.11.2019







Belgium in Venice








Laure Prouvost

Deep see blue surrounding you / Vois ce bleu profond te fondre
Curator: Martha Kirszenbaum
French Pavilion
until 24.11.2019

Katerina Gregos

Igor Grubic
Traces of Disappearing: In Three Acts
Curator: Katerina Gregos
Croatian Pavilion
Sestiere Santa Croce 2258, Calle Regina Venice
until 24.11.2019





Kasper Bosmans

Future Generation Art Prize 2019 @ Venice
Organisor: PinchukArtCentre, Victor Pinchuk Foundation
Università IUAV di Venezia, Ca’ Tron, Santa Croce, 1957 Venezia
until 18.08.19

Vanhaerents Art Collection

The Death of James Lee Byars
Zad Moultaka in dialogue
Curator: Walter Vanhaerents
Chiesa di Santa Maria della Visitazione
Fondamenta Zattere ai Gesuati, 30123 Venezia
until 24.11.2019





Edith Dekyndt - Ann Veronica Janssens

Luoga e Segni
Curators: Mouna Mekouar & Martin Bethenod
Punta Della Dogana (Pinault Collection)
Dorsoduro 2, 30123 Venezia
until 15.12.19

Luc Tuymans

La Pelle
Curator: Caroline Bourgeois
Palazzo Grassi (Pinault Collection)
Campo San Samuele, 30124 Venezia
until 06.01.2020





Espace 251 Nord

E2N 35 
Archives Actives // Published
Album of images of 35 exhibitions – History with colophons, posters, invitations and other archives of more than 180 exhibitions
Co-edited by Espace 251 Nord Archives Actives and MER B&L
Project manager: Laurent Jacob
Latteria Moderna
Castello 1791 (Via Garibaldi), 30122 Venice
until 10.05.19

Eva Evrard

Keeping our heads above water
Semi-immersed ceramic busts are spread around the city in an experimental in-situ installation. On the eve of the announced global flood, this work evokes our own contradictions in the way we value life, people, artworks.
from 08.05.19





Alexandra Dementieva

Organised by CYLAND MediaArtLab and the Center for the Studies of Russian Art CSAR
Ca’ Foscari Zattere Cultural Flow Zone
Zattere, Dorsoduro 1392, Venice
From 11.05.2019 until 28.06.2019

Jan Fabre Kendell Geers Hans Op de Beeck Laure Prouvost Koen Vanmechelen

Curators: Vik Muniz and Koen Vanmechelen
Fondazione Berengo Art Space
Campiello Della Pescheria, Murano
until 24.11.2019





Jan Fabre

The man who measures the clauds
(Monument to the measure of the immeasurable)
curated by Joanna De Vos
Garden of the Palazzo Balbi Valier
869 A Dorsoduro Venice

Elisabeth Ida

Curators: Kerry Whigham, Luca Berta, Francesca Giubilei
Artivism: The Atrocity Prevention Pavilion
The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation
Palazzo Dandolo, 2879 San Polo
until 24.11.2019





Nástio Mosquito

Meetings on Art
Performance programme at the 58th Venice Biennale
Curated by Ralph Rugoff and Aaron Cezar
From 11.05 until 24.11.2019

Koen Van Mechelen

Human Rights Pavilion
Global Campus of Human Rights, Fondazione Berengo, MOUTH Foundation
until 24.11.2021





Antoine Bertin Florian Kiniques Mathieu Zurstrassen Mostafa Saifi Rahmouni

Artist Series

Venice Art Projects

1830 Fondamenta San Gioacchin Venezia, Veneto, 30122

Until 30/11/19

I Fiamminghi e Venezia

Organised by Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp and Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia
Palazzo Ducale – L’Appartamento del Doge
from 05.09.2019 to 01.03.2020