Idiolect: Bruges

Idiolect: Bruges

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels

Der Schatten der Strasse, 2010

March 26, 2010

28 January – 23 May 2010

Exhibition part of the festival
“Poetry in Double-Time” in
historical locations in Bruges.

The participating artists are:

Robert Devriendt (B, 1955)
Anne Mie Van Kerckhoven (B, 1951)
Walter Swennen (B, 1946)
Koo Jeong-A (Kor-FR, 1967)
Lothar Hempel (D, 1966)
Henri Jacobs (NL-B, 1957)
Gabriel Kuri (Mex-B, 1970)
Willem Oorebeek (NL-B, 1953)

Curated by Dirk Snauwaert, assisted by Kwinten Lavigne of Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels.

The visual artists contributions in this new poetry festival explore what contemporary poetics can mean today. Oscillating between the literary contributions and the historical sites, their interventions and small surveys can be approached as defining what is a ‘poetic language, process and practice’ today.

The double definition of the poetic concept suggested by the invitation to both writers and visual artists, is the guideline, though it does not take the stance of text versus image, rather from poetics as personal practice instead of search for metaphor or symbolical images. Rather than a site-specific concept departing from to the picturesque and historical framework of Bruges, it departs from the historical position of Bruges, a city that was at the invention of global trade in medieval times. The traces are still visible in the accumulation of signs, technology and wealth in the historical locations and museums.

The conceptual line refers to a contemporary struggle with the transformations of the imaginary provoked by globalisation and its effects, namely as it was defined in the 1980s by Edouard Glissant, poet-thinker from the Caribbean with the concept of ‘creolisation’. This possible definition of cultural phenomena and languages that are the result of colonial times and that in the era of ‘globalisation’ can form alternative principles against domination and bleakness. The words “trade” and “translation” carry similar roots in Latin.

Rather than digging into the notion of modern poetics through poetics of objects, or singular writing, the definition points out to the poetics of the relationships between things, identities, words, symbols, metaphors, symbols, language and gestures, which Glissant also formulates in his poetry.

The notion of creolisation can also be seen as an allusion to the cultural-historic background for which Bruges and the Flemish poet Gezelle are known, namely, the aim for recognition of Southern Dutch as the standard language (or idiom) of the 19th century. Conveyed in the term ‘creolisation’ is the definition of the ‘dialectic’ usage of language (idiolect, as scientifically defined), and here the references to Glissant and/or Gezelle overlap regarding their formal content. With the term ‘creolisation’ Glissant speaks of radical innovation and experimental association with language such as that existing in the involuntary shock of completely different voices, and this in regard to the oral as well as the literary variant. Glissant does not see creolisation as a cultural or a language phenomenon, but, due to it not only being about a phenomenon of language but about a written language too, as a general human principle that lies at the basis of the way in which a transnational society can form.

With the choice of artists the accent lies not so much on the use of symbolical, metaphorical language, but on an individual writing, as opposed to the usual harness of language or image as a recognisable means of communication. The guiding line is the developing of the equivalent poetic principles of concreteness and abstraction present in linguistic environments.

Creolisation: “ce qui change en s’échangeant” (that which changes in being exchanged), Edouard Glissant,
(Introduction à une poétique du divers, Gallimard, p. 32)

Organisation by Brugge Plus; Poetry selected by Gwij Mandelinck; displayed by Koen van Synghel or performed by Dirk Roofthooft.

More information can be requested from Manon Billiet, press officer of BruggePlus:
or Wiels press & communication officer Angie Vandycke:

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WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
March 26, 2010

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