SUPER DEMOCRACY - The Senate of Things

Three cultural institutions enter into a dialogue with the Belgian Senate during the exhibition SUPERDEMOCRACY, which is on display throughout October. BPS22 in Charleroi, BOZAR in Brussels and M HKA in Antwerp provide a cultural dimension to the Senate’s current issues.

1.10.2017 - 31.10.2017

Thierry Verbeke

Born in Lille, FR

Born in Lille in 1970, French artist Thierry Verbeke is a ‘militant’ artist rather than a visual artist. As Julien Crenn writes: "He produces an art of peaceful protest, advocating uprising (to a collective awareness) rather than evolution" (1). The artist does not have a favourite technique for achieving this, he produces videos, photographs, installations, etc. His website also mentions ‘augmented objects’, i.e. objects, shapes or signs that the artist has diverted by sometimes minimal interventions. Without neglecting the formal questions, he prefers to address issues related to the world around him: labour conditions, fundamental rights and freedoms, local or global economy, adolescent subcultures, media models, and so on. From the observed situation and the bad practice that follows, the artist distils his form.

How to manifest, to testify of one’s refusal to submit to a world order which claims to be ‘natural’ or even ‘a-historical’; which after all is the same? While being aware of the limits and the real scope of one’s actions! It is within this narrow and uncomfortable context that his plastic propositions spread or rather slalom. This is what Thierry Verbeke's work is all about; even if the artist formulated it differently, notably with the ironic series Ré-injecter du politique dans le quotidien, a set of images of Babybel cheeses unwrapped and marked with a hammer and sickle...

The artist once installed a container on the former customs zone between Belgium and France, outdated as a consequence of European unification. He had settled there temporarily, with posters and palm trees, to open the ‘PEZ’, the name of a delicious child’s sweet and, for the occasion, acronym used to designate his ‘Paradise Economic Zone’: a tax haven, on an abandoned area, left bare. The artist suddenly made tangible a financial and media reality often evoked, without much explanation, in these times of virtualisation of the economy and the stability of financial flows; evoking the following questions: How is a tax haven possible? How can a territory offer a totally different tax system than the rest of Europe? And why are these borders as porous to financial flows as they are hermetic to tax harmonisation?

(1) Mentioned on