Critics’ Picks

View of “INNERCOMA,” 2010.

Hasselt

Philip Metten

Z33 Center for Contemporary Art and Design
Zuivelmarkt 33
June 27–October 10, 2010

In late June, what seemed like an object from outer space or a futuristic temple landed in Hasselt, Belgium. The outsize sculpture is, in fact, Philip Metten’s most recent tour de force and his first solo exhibition, “INNERCOMA.” According to the artist, the title is a word that refers to “a state of mind.” So far, hundreds of people have attended screenings, performances, concerts, and other artistic interventions that have turned the museum into a vivid platform for Metten, several other artists, and his friends.

During the opening celebrations on June 27, there was an outstanding performance by POWERHOUSE, Metten and Tim Vanhamel’s collaborative project, on the balcony facing the street. Dressed in outlandish clothes, Vanhamel looked more like a high priest calling for his followers rather than the musician he is in daily life. Eva De Leener and Romeo Hoornaert, whom Metten had also invited to participate, provided drawings and paintings that functioned as a “skin” for the building. Inside, the walls were decorated with high-tech wallpaper, designed by another artist, Tom Tosseyn. A film screening by director Toon Aerts showed what the building had looked like before Metten’s extreme makeover. We have to be careful not to use the word historical or groundbreaking too often, but for all who attended Metten’s opening night, it was a memorable spectacle. One can only imagine that the rest of the programming will follow suit.