“Time Is Free”


Boredom used to be a sin, attendant cousin of sloth, a welcome state for the devil to seduce weak minds. We know what it did to Emma Bovary. For most people now, boredom is instead a name given to a lamentable, persistent discontent. But boredom would also seem like a luxury today, having been displaced by the new collective condition of mass anxiety. In order to avoid guilt, dread, and other unpleasant thoughts, we prefer our time to be organized, eschewing purely contemplative hours spent doing nothing in favor of constant activity. So what about that state of just being, and where does artistic creativity reside in this cultural scenario? According to Jan Hoet, the director of SMAK in Ghent and a guest curator of “Time Is Free,” the artist is located in “an autonomous time zone,” somewhere between work and leisure. Collaborating with Ann Demeester, he presented seven artists whose work

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