Shame on me

4/05 > 20:00

5-26/05 > du mercredi au samedi/van woensdag tot zaterdag/Wednesday to Sunday > 13:00-19:00

Since Maquette presented their film Adrift on the remains of a Grand Piano at the KunstenFESTIVALdesArts in 1998, they have become Maquette X XX, owing to new encounters they have made. These artist-performers, sculptors and creators of unusual costumes have an organic and animist imagination – a dead branch, a whalebone bleached by the sea and washed up on the shore, broken mirrors or bits of metal rusted by rain are no longer discarded objects. In each primitive matter there is a statue lying dormant, awaiting deliverance from oblivion. Shame on Me, their latest installation, invites visitors to explore the surroundings and entrails of their new cave. Placed around it is a selection of contemporary totems. Then there is a wild door to take you right to the womb of the matter which is irrigated with life and fluid poetry.

Coproduction/Coproductie/Coproduction: Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie, Gemeenschapscentrum De Kriekelaar,, Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap afdeling Beeldende Kunst en Musea, Pix & Motion

Présentation/Presentatie/Presentation: KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

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Behind every thing there lay a story. He alone who knew all the stories knew the world. It could not be any different. But behind the entire world with all its stories, there was still one story that was even older than the world. You would have to have come from it to know this story.

Harry Mulisch, The Discovery of Heaven, Penguin USA, 1997

There is a gallery in Brussels called There is an artists’ collective called Maquette X XX. For nine months, they have revealed nine multimedia installations, nine ‘corporeal sculptures’, one a month. Nine stories, nine ‘unveilings’.

The artists’ collective called Maquette began in the early 1980s. Most of the artists who joined it at the start were trained at Etienne Decroux’s Ecole de Mime Corporel Dramatique, the famous school of dance and theatrical movement in Paris. The artists in Maquette moved in a realm that encompassed dance, theatre, plastic arts, cinema, music and photography. They first applied their method of ‘unveilings’ as part of their project entitled Wake. In 1995, within a period of 7 months, they produced seven different performances that were conceived as sculptural ‘unveilings’. At the end of the year, these performances culminated in a synthesised version entitled Great Wake. Their film, Adrift on the remains of a grand piano, was premiered at the KunstenFESTIVALdesArts in 1998, whilst in the same year they published an illustrated book of their artistic cycle, entitled Juggler and the Juggled Joy. This corresponded with the conclusion of the first period of their work.

A new shoot in artistic dynamics then sprouted with Maquette X XX. In September 2000, the first ‘unveiling’ of a new project took place at Eight other ‘unveilings’ were to follow. They experimented with different notions and forms of encounter/contact, and will eventually merge into E’motions - (Touch me) – e’motional motion and emotion in motion. The nine different ‘unveilings’ explore a specific emotional dimension of encounter and contact: shaman me (meditative), à couteaux tirés - me (aggressive), dimi’dium me (loving), take me in(emotional), frame me (communicative), a’nima me (impressive), djinn me (defined), adam adem me (oppressive) and in me (magnetic).

The enigmatic titles of these ‘unveilings’ reveal in turn the quest for an authentic world: “Is it past or future? We’re coming in to land! Back home or far away! Bearers bearing… images. Lines, brands, waves everywhere... Are we on a journey? Or are we only in search of something… Are we individuals or groups? A journey with ourselves? Why have we got this blindfold over our eyes? Ssshhhh. The rest will follow… all in line…Quiet! Quiet, quiet… How should we interpret this? Are we going there or is it simply abstract, kitsch and incomprehensible! Influence, influence, influence… Cultures of the world… Which cultures? A world of individuals, everyone with their own truth, hidden behind an injection of consumption. My symbolic system. Our symbolic system.” It is the inner monologue of modern confusion showing through here, which the nine ‘unveilings’ attempt to ward off.

The term ‘unveiling’ also corresponds to the notion of ‘work in progress’. Step by step, for nine months, the sculpture was revealed before the public. Nine months is the length of a pregnancy. It is not by chance that the audio-visual space taking a central place in their tenth installation, Shame on Me, is called ‘womb’, an organic space made out of wood, iron, lead, stone and tar. It is as if this womb had an organic life, growing around televisions and objects, enveloping them so as to absorb them more effectively. They make reference to the nine preceding ‘unveilings’, with the womb literally fertilised by it.

From the outside, the spectator can see the traces of the creative process that took place. Inside, in the womb itself, he finds himself integrated entirely into another world. To reach this other dimension inside the womb, the spectator has to go through a door that has been calledHingeonMe. Is the hinge on the door a pivot on which he can turn towards a new reality of perception? Has the spectator himself become unhinged while in the womb? Once inside the womb, he can choose from a selection of films made during the ‘unveilings’. The enclosed space, the sound on ‘loud’ and its darkness make the womb a complete experience.

Every story is the seed of another story. For the artists, the womb is literally the seed of a new project: the performance of E’motions - (Touch Me) which will be premiered in September 2001. It aims to provide a synthesis of the project in its entirety. Thus Shame on Me is a hinge linking the nine ‘unveilings’ and the performance. Its title echoes the name given to the first ‘unveiling’,Shaman me. Maquette X XX has developed its own ritual multimedia language in order to rediscover the world. It is a language whose materiality, density and rhythm are as, if not more, important than established and exact meanings.

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