Launch of Young Curators Programme (YCP): Belgian Pavilion, Venice Biennale

Launch of Young Curators Programme (YCP): Belgian Pavilion, Venice Biennale

Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK), School of Arts of University College Ghent

View of Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, MONDO CANE, Venice Biennale 2019. Courtesy and © of the artists and Belgian Pavilion. Photo: Nick Ash.

August 30, 2019
Launch of Young Curators Programme (YCP): Belgian Pavilion, Venice Biennale
September 2–November 24, 2019
Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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KASK & Conservatorium (HOGENT & Howest), Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles and Bureau International de la Jeunesse are pleased to announce the launch of the Young Curators Programme (YCP) at the Belgian Pavilion—58th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia.

The inaugural YCP fellows are Yseult Gay, Koi Persyn, Pauline Salinas and Lenny Vervaeke. The YCP is coordinated by Brussels-based curator Laila Melchior.

Laying the foundations for a regular Belgian fellowship at the Venice Biennale, this pilot edition invites four young curators from Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders to provide mediation for the Belgian national exhibition while pursuing personal research. The programme offers the opportunity to enrich the exhibition MONDO CANE by artists Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys, curated by Anne-Claire Schmitz.

The four YCP fellows will engage with audiences, supporting their interpretations, contextualizing the exhibition, linking it to the practice of the artists, the curator and the broader framework of the Belgian representation at the Venice Biennale. This mediating role will allow the YCP fellows to closely follow the development of the exhibition over time and gain invaluable experience from working in a high-level international art context.

During their time in Venice the YCP fellows will be encouraged to develop their own personal research, connected to the Biennale or other art institutions based in the city.

Beyond nurturing career development opportunities, encouraging curatorial practice and investigation, the YCP simultaneously addresses the specificities of the Belgian art scene, promoting an interaction between young professionals from different backgrounds and the country’s two main linguistic communities.

About the exhibition
MONDO CANE presents itself as a local folkloric museum that displays the human figure. Silent, pale and frightened, the pavilion’s inhabitants appear as aestheticized shells, stuck in a loop of formal activity that the visitor perceives as odd and out of touch with contemporary reality. The exhibition contains some twenty dolls, most of them automated; a series of large illustrations depicting silent nature; and steel bars that fence off the pavilion’s lateral recesses. At the centre of the building there are artisans—such as a potter, a knife-grinder and a spinner who, true to themselves, ply their respective trades. The side rooms of the pavilion are a parallel world peopled by louts, zombies, poets, psychotics, the insane, and the marginalized. These two worlds exist in the same space, but they seem to be entirely unaware of one another.

Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys have the habit of distilling fictions out of a reality that is, sometimes, “too real.” Both willingly concede that they feel attracted to the psychotic state of contemporary societies, a state that they simultaneously dread and disseminate in their work. MONDO CANE is in every way a continuation of this practice. Without ever falling into cynicism or moralism, the artists deftly and wittily transform that which resembles fear or a latent state into something willed, critical and counter to the status quo.

Next to the exhibition, MONDO CANE further develops as a publication and website to be found at
Follow the artists on Instagram.

For more information: belgianpavilion2019 [​at​] /

The Young Curators Programme is an initiative of the 2019 Belgian pavilion in association with KASK & Conservatorium (HOGENT & Howest), Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles and BIJ (Bureau International de la Jeunesse).

Artists: Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys
Curator: Anne-Claire Schmitz
Belgian Pavilion Commissioner: Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles

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Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK), School of Arts of University College Ghent
August 30, 2019

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