April 1, 2019 - Netwerk Aalst - Imogen Stidworthy: Dialogues with People […]
April 1, 2019

Netwerk Aalst

Imogen Stidworthy, Iris [A Fragment] (still), 2018.

Imogen Stidworthy
Dialogues with People […]
April 6–June 30, 2019

Opening: April 6, 2–6pm

Netwerk Aalst
Houtkaai 15
9300 Aalst
Hours: Thursday–Sunday 1–6pm

T +32 53 70 97 73

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“(...) again I listened, with deep attention, a whole quarter of an hour, elapsed, in painful expectation expectation, expectation, expectation, lost, silence, I waited waited waited, I waited, I waited, I waited waited waited, deep and solemn silence, so still, I could hear, the beatings of my own heart, beatings, suddenly, my ear, my ear, appeared to catch, the faintest echo, of a sound, I thought that I heard, I thought that I heard, incoherent, distant, voices, to make any meaning out of the sound (...)”
—extract from The Whisper Heard, Imogen Stidworthy, 2003

How do we experience and shape an understanding of ourselves and our social relationships when words are not a given? What other forms of meaning and communication emerge at the borders of language?

Imogen Stidworthy’s works share a preoccupation with different forms of language, whether shaped by cultural practices or conditions such as aphasia and non-verbal autism. Her films, sound works and installations involve people whose language is in some sense detached from linguistic meaning, opening the way to new channels of voicing and communication. These voices engage us in different modes of listening and reflect our relationship with our own tongue in new and surprising ways.

At Netwerk Aalst, Imogen Stidworthy brings together seven installations produced over the last 20 years involving people such as the photographer Edward Woodman, who is re-training his speech and pronunciation (I Hate, 2007) and Iris Johansson, a Swedish therapist and writer who was non-verbal until the age of 12 (Iris [A Fragment], 2018).

According to writer and critic Chris Fite-Wassilak, we are figuring out, through Stidworthy’s work, what is relegated to the realm of noise and what builds towards speaking. Imogen Stidworthy is also asking us, Chris writes, to consider the basic constituting elements of society; when two or more people might share some sense of what sense is when wider agreement or association might come about, or not. Through Dialogues with People […], it becomes apparent that the limits of intelligibility aren’t easily traversed, but rather heavily regulated and policed, both by habit and by formal rules. What emerges through experiencing the work is a set of metaphorical spaces where the social might start.  

Read the specially commissioned essay of Chris Fite-Wassilak about the work of Imogen Stidworthy here


The exhibition takes the form of two interdependent sequences playing as continuous loops. In each loop only one work is active at a time, running in parallel on the upper and lower floors of the building. 

Dialogues with People […] is the second iteration of this exhibition format of sequential loops, which Imogen Stidworthy has conceived specifically for her current work on the borders of language. The first iteration of the exhibition was presented at Würtemburgischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, from October 27, 2018, to January 13, 2019.

Dialogues with People […] at Netwerk Aalst is curated by Piet Mertens and Pieternel Vermoortel

Netwerk Aalst is... Hans Bocxstael, Danny Bonnaerens, Veerle Coppens, Jelle Clarisse, Lisa De Neef, Elien Doesselaere, Kevin Eylenbosch, Hendry Mendy, Piet Mertens, Celine Roelandt, Steven Op de Beeck, Kaat Vander Roost, Jeniffer Vansteyvoort, Sophie Verhulst, Pieternel Vermoortel en Remi Verstraete.

Netwerk Aalst
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Dialogues with People […]
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