Kunsthal Extra City, Antwerpen

Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office, Scale and Perspective, Montevideo Antwerpen, 1981. Courtesy Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office and Annie Gentils Gallery.

September 3, 2013

Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office:
Orban Space
Mona Vǎtǎmanu & Florin Tudor: All That Is Solid Melts Into Air
Allan Sekula & Noël Burch:

The Forgotten Space
15 September–17 November 2013

Extra City Kunsthal
Eikelstraat 25 – 31
2600 Antwerpen – Berchem

On Saturday 14 September, Extra City Kunsthal will open its new venue with three parallel exhibitions. The centrepiece of the inauguration program will be the work of architect/artist Luc Deleu. The duo Mona Vǎtǎmanu & Florin Tudor will present All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, two new films and an installation. The Forgotten Space, by Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, will launch the Extra City Kunsthal cinema.

Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office: Orban Space
Luc Deleu is one of Belgium’s most innovative and radical urbanist thinkers. Together with his T.O.P. office, Deleu has developed an intriguing and consistent oeuvre, spanning more than four decades and challenging the discipline of architecture to rise to its global-scale responsibilities. At Extra City Kunsthal, Deleu presents an ample overview of this conceptual trajectory: it will be T.O.P. office’s first large-scale critical survey in Antwerp in almost a decade.

After a successful first edition at Stroom Den Haag, the second iteration of this exhibition, curated by Wouter Davidts and Stefaan Vervoort in collaboration with T.O.P. office, focuses on Orban Space, the ‘research by design’ project initiated by Luc Deleu in 2006. The exhibition articulates new productions and historical pieces, aiming to expand current notions of public space to the scale of the earth, and recalculate urbanism as orbanism. Among these continuously updated projects, that build upon streams of spatial, sociological and economic data, the show will include a 400-page Terminology of public space on a global scale, presented in an adapted and expanded version, as well the world map Mobile Medium University, Academical Tour 2015–2016, an itinerary for a mobile university that echoes recent debates on academic reformation. These and other works will be put in historical perspective through older material: projects, sketches, models, design tools, and documents dating from the period 1969–2011.

Especially developed for Extra City Kunsthal, a discursive program will explore five recurring operations and strategies in the practice of Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office: devices, media, measurements, movements, and realities. These thematic clusters structure the exhibition and emphasize conceptual affinities and historical continuity between the works on display. Through lectures, performances, films, sculptural interventions and music, the diverse output of Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office will be considered in both its critical and versatile aspects. Contributors to the progam include Mark Jarzombek, Adrian Lahoud, Hugh Campbell, Chantal Pattyn, Adrien Tirtiaux, Hans Demeulenaere and students of the Drama Department, Conservatorium of Antwerp.

A book on the work of Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office, edited by Wouter Davidts, Stefaan Vervoort and Guy Châtel, published by Valiz, book and cultural projects (ISBN 978-90-78088-60-8) in 2012, will have its Belgian launch during the exhibition period.

The exhibition was co-produced with Stroom Den Haag. The video work Tribune was co-produced with LLS387 – Antwerp, and Etablissement d’en face – Brussels.

Mona Vǎtǎmanu & Florin Tudor: All That Is Solid Melts Into Air
For their first institutional presentation in Belgium, the Romanian duo Mona Vǎtǎmanu & Florin Tudor show two new films and an installation—complementary elements in a critical investigation of ecological mismanagement, human and non-human rights, and the apocalyptic imagination.

The installation is a ‘poor cosmology,’ modelled in dough, representing the known universe as if constructed by those deprived of everything but bread. The video All That Is Solid Melts Into Air revisits the mining site at Rosia Montana, in Northwestern Romania, where a Canadian enterprise advertises its plans for extraction of gold and rare metals via a pompously optimistic public-relations campaign. This contrasts with the footage this film builds upon, frighteningly close to the stock image of a post-cataclysmic planet, where all signs of dwelling have been submerged in reddish waste water. The second video, The Unblinded, departs from a report on the attempt of the Romanian Orthodox Church to secure a national monopoly of the manufacturing of candles, divesting, among others, a blind persons’ association of their only source of income.

Both films can be read as either local case studies, surveying the symptoms and effects of a painfully protracted democratic transition in Romania, or within a universal perspective, as allegories of environmental destruction and economic war, as counterpoints to the political slogans of responsibility towards the planet and towards the underprivileged.

Mona Vǎtǎmanu & Florin Tudor are represented by D+T Project, Brussels; Lombard-Freid Projects, New York; and Andreiana Mihail Gallery, Bucharest.

Allan Sekula & Noël Burch: The Forgotten Space
“Our premise is that the sea remains the crucial space of globalization. Nowhere else is the disorientation, violence, and alienation of contemporary capitalism more manifest, but this truth is not self-evident, and must be approached as a puzzle, or mystery, a problem to be solved. Without a thoroughly modern and sophisticated ‘revolution’ in ocean-going cargo-handling technology, the global factory would not exist, and globalization would not be a burning issue.” 
–from the Directors’ Notes

The cinema of Extra City Kunsthal will be inaugurated with The Forgotten Space (2009) by Allan Sekula and Noël Burch. The film follows container cargo aboard ships, barges, trains and trucks, listening to workers, engineers, planners, politicians, and those marginalized by the global transport system. The filmmakers encountered displaced farmers in Holland and Belgium, underpaid truck drivers in Los Angeles, seafarers aboard mega-ships shuttling between Asia and Europe, and factory workers in China, whose low wages are the fragile key to the whole puzzle. The image of the sea that emerges from this cinematic study is neither a metonym for infinity, nor a metaphor for tempests occurring elsewhere in the world, but a superposition of functional hypertrophy and symbolic atrophy, a fluid mirror for economic and political convulsions.

Film courtesy of the artists and Galerie Michel Rein, Paris.

For more information, please contact
Carl Jacobs: carl.jacobs [​at​] / T +32 498 76 71 21


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September 3, 2013

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