Jos Van den Bergh

  • Nicolas Provost, Plot Point, 2007, still from a color video, 15 minutes.

    Nicolas Provost

    It is hard to believe that Nicolas Provost filmed the entirety of Plot Point, 2007, with a concealed camera on the streets of New York. The production value of the images and styling seems more like what you would see in a vintage Lynch film, and with a similar sense of artifice. Ordinary life is transformed into pure cinematography, as if you were watching a Philip-Lorca diCorcia photo come to life. The light feels like stage light. The people on the street move like dramatic performers. There is a suggestion of an intangible tension in the streets, and we feel that something is about to happen.

  • Hans Op de Beeck

    Hans Op de Beeck’s early work investigated issues such as the fate of refugees or the consequences of living in an inhumane urban landscape. He used multiple means and media to fabricate an imitation of life or comment on our environment. Often Op de Beeck reproduced a hushed world on a small scale or filmed common situations, isolating them and turning them into immediately recognizable documents of our age.

    With “Family: Scenes and Scenery,” Op de Beeck looked at a different aspect of daily existence, turning his lens on the social niceties of what we all know well—family life. Where he used

  • Kati Heck

    Two nearly naked, life-size men are looking at us. The expressions on their faces can say or mean anything. Is it arrogance, disinterest, or plain boredom? One is sitting on a chair, legs stretched out on a barstool. The other is leaning toward his friend. Or is it his friend? And what’s wrong with the hand of the seated man? It looks like blood is being tapped from his fingers into weird objects. In Kati Heck’s paintings things are suggested that must be interpreted or even projected by the viewer. The interaction between the two men in Chapeau, 2005, seems more like that of partners than, say,

  • Su-Mei Tse

    For many, the news that the 2003 Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion would be awarded to Luxembourg-based artist Su-mei Tse was, to say the least, unexpected. But for the happy few who’d managed to find their way through the narrow streets and overcrowded canals to the Luxembourg pavilion, there was little to be surprised about: After all, Tse had conjured a simple, powerful, and—why not?—beautiful transformation of a complex reality. Her video projection Les Balayeurs du desert (The Desert Sweepers), 2003, for instance, made a poetic yet lucid comment on how the Western world is keen to use immigrants

  • Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven

    About a year ago, it was reported that Swiss-based scientists had succeeded in creating antimatter, the mirror image of matter—purportedly an important breakthrough inasmuch as this could explain, or at least tell us more about, the big bang. This news item was the starting point for Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven’s latest project, “Anti-Sade.” Paraphrasing the news report but changing terms like “the standard model of physics” and “antimatter” into “the standard model of moral philosophy” and “anti-Sade,” the content acquired at times a subversive, allusive, and above all ironic tone.

    According to the

  • Vincent Geyskens

    A SUCCESSFUL MINTER can do a lot of damage in a small country. To name the painter, Luc Tuymans. To name the country, Belgium. Young artists here struggle with the question of how to escape Belgium's association with a kind of perverted surrealism. In Tuymans's case this resulted in frightening, loaded, disturbed images. On the other end of the spectrum, the same struggle gave rise to Wim Delvoye's cynical view on art versus—or embracing—commercial language. But a tattooed pig in a museum or a machine that produces shit is, in a way, as Belgian as a Magritte painting. Both Tuymans and

  • Alicia Framis

    It’s hardly unusual for an artist to question contemporary society, but it is surprising to receive genuinely poetic yet straightforward answers. Days after seeing Alicia Framis’s “Remix Buildings,” her latest contribution to shaping a better world, I was still haunted by her propositions, which are fantastic in the truest sense of the word. These proposed interventions in the public domain—shown in the form of color photographs of her maquettes—are in no way cryptic, and they avoid the hermetic intellectualism and easy sarcasm that have become so commonplace.

    Example: The Dam Square

  • Peter De Cupere

    Everybody has memories, and the older you get, the more selective you are about them. You forget the so-called important events of your life and for one reason or another cherish the details: a brief encounter in the subway, a certain compliment your father gave you when you were five, the first time you ever heard a particular song. The songs, books, and paintings you like the most have some connection with this strange selective memory of yours. As for me, I still remember the Wednesday smell of my grandmother’s homemade fries, and that is exactly the reason why I’m so affected by Peter De

  • Sven 't Jolle

    The title of Luis Buñuel’s 1972 masterpiece The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie could well have been the credo for Sven ’t Jolle’s show of recent work. The actual title—“De betere klasse heeft ook recht op ontspanning!” (The better class also has a right to entertainment!)—certainly sounds like a never-made film by the Spanish director, and the similarities run deeper than mere titular resemblance. In ’t Jolle’s work as in Buñuel’s, irony, social problems, subversiveness, and political reflections are all mixed together in a lighthearted artistic survey of what is wrong with society.

    One of

  • Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven

    Provocatively titled “Headnurse,” AnneMie Van Kerckhoven’s recent exhibition appropriated two thousand years’ worth of sexist stereotypes. This may sound pretentious, but despite the philosophical, historical, and scientific references riddled throughout the artist’s work, her latest alter ego—a nurse who uses cliched depictions of women to “cure” psychological and philosophical problems—radiates humor and high spirits. Van Kerckhoven grouped the material, including ’50s pinups, into three categories: women clad in nothing but a belt, figures exposing their breasts while looking unabashedly back

  • Jan Van Imschoot

    A famous curator recently declared the act of painting “illegitimate,” or obsolete. It could just be a coincidence, but since the last Documenta the most interesting art I’ve seen has involved this supposedly reactionary and out-of-date medium. Call it my mistake if you will, but it seems that the familiar refrain that painting is dead (again) doesn’t correspond to reality.

    Take the Belgian painter—or perhaps “imagemaker” would be a more appropriate term—Jan Van Imschoot. Van Imschoot’s universe is extremely rich, full of paradoxes and fueled by such compassion for or astonishment over what he

  • William Kentridge

    Although there’s an entire new generation of fascinating South African artists at work today, perhaps the most remarkable recent addition to the international scene has been William Kentridge. The artist’s labor-intensive drawings, which form the basis of his animated films, are so impressive that they may overshadow the fact that Kentridge produces work in a number of media. (He’s even recently directed an opera, Ulysses, which made its debut last year.) In Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts curator Piet Coessens has gathered a wide-ranging selection of the artist’s work—more than forty