1957 - 1963
Born in Gent (BE), born in Avilés (ES), lives in Brussel (BE).
Dialogist-Kantor: nous sommes sur terre c’est sans remède
Artists Toni Geirlandt and Carlos Montalvo were just getting to know each other when Geirlandt left on a trip to Indonesia with a friend, inspiring a correspondence and the first part of the artist duo's name. The second part, Kantor, refers to office. Dutch loanwords are still very much a fixture on Indonesian streets, mainly on street signs. The poste restante service allows travellers who don't have a permanent address in a location but still wish to receive mail to collect it from post office branches across Indonesia.
In Dialogist-Kantor, Geirlandt is "la femme d'aujourd'hui" and Montalvo the "homme de main" (ed: a play on words, aujourd'hui/demain, today/tomorrow with femme d’aujourd'hui meaning contemporary woman and homme de main meaning main man, henchman); the brain and the hands working together, as they did during Mano A Mano (1994), one of their first performances at E.V.A. Malibran, a reference to the title of a poem as well a Spanish expression that refers to a head-to-head confrontation or brawl. The 'handshake' was cast in plaster for an arte povera-style sculpture.
The installation L'art du lendemain (2009, the art of tomorrow) is both a bowling alley which spectators can use as such and a non-chronological timeline on which each 'box' refers to a performance with an accompanying poster that the artists instigated, creating a playground for themselves and others. But it also serves as a journal in which everything refers to everything, in which any elementary particle can end up anywhere regardless of any causality. The work's title is a reference to George Ribemont-Dessaignes' novel Le bar du lendemain, in which the protagonists become embroiled in all sorts of Baroque adventures beyond their control, founding a bar, witnessing the birth of a new religion with resignation and coming to the conclusion that they can play out their dreams and desires the day after. In the book, however, tomorrow is today, and there is no real future. L'art du lendemain by D-K symbolises the headache or hangover the next day.
Initially, D-K had the intention to produce a book. However, when they met with Laurent Busine (the former director of the MACs, Le Grand Hornu, Mons), he asked them whether they would consider creating something bigger than a book that could be exhibited. And that is how they ended up creating a bowling alley.
Toni and Carlos often met at Laboureur, the old Brussels bistro near Bruxelles-Midi railway station, playing billiards and word games. D-K frequently defines the concept after the performance, with connotations and meanings added afterwards. "It is only after you have done something that you understand it", says Geirlandt, who learned this from Laurie Anderson when she assisted the artist during her performances in Italy.
Typography and posters are important in their practice, establishing a link with anarchism in which typography was often the cheapest way to create propaganda posters for a gathering. The anarchists did everything themselves. For D-K, everything started with the Marcador printing company, which printed posters for the Spanish community in Brussels. In time, the print shop went digital, and the printer donated his typefaces and typesetting machine to D-K. From then on, in addition to being curators, performers, and visual artists, the duo also became poster artists, experimenting with typesetting, copiers and coloured paper. D-K created walls of posters for many of their first shows. Tais-toi et travaille! (Galerie Vincenz Sala, Brussel, 1995) is the slogan of a poster from that era, featuring a photo of a dressing gown on which the slogan has also been embroidered.
"A poster mentions the event's date, venue and title, meaning something exists even if nobody turns up. The poster is the 'proof' that I was in that place at that time on that specific day. It's my alibi."
D-K ran out of Os while typesetting during a project in Halle near Brussels. The typographer travelled around the region, searching for Os, mainly wooden Os. This recurring motif in their work could reference the childlike wonderment and amazement that D-K seeks to inspire and evoke with their associative way of working and organising.
From 1992 until 1999, D-K organised shows, roaming between Brussels and Berlin, Ostend and Luxembourg with their Laboratoires Patacyclistes, in collaboration with Patrice Verhofstadt, Marc Rossignol, Jef Lambrecht, Andrew Webb and Chris Straetling, among others. The human race is made up of patacyclists. Laboratories distinguish between those who do not know they are patacyclists and those who do know they are, without the latter claiming to be superior to the former. The Laboratoires later morphed into Bureau du port (2000-2007), hosting solo shows and more collective happenings during Poor Sundays, including Another poor Sunday and a Poor Sunday on Saturday.
"The bureau or office was located next to our studio, which was full of junk, and after a while, everything spilt over into the other space, and we also started hosting shows in our studio, where people also smoked. This led to the renaming into FUMOIR / ROOKZAAL from 2008 to 2012."
In 1994, D-K suggested an idea for a show to their friend Hioco at his bakery in Ostend. This idea led to something bigger, in the form of an annual series of Easter Mondays titled Pistologie (1994-2017), in which various artists and non-artists took part in gatherings where 'well made/executed' was equal to 'badly made/executed'. After 23 events, Pistology called it quits in 2017. Since then, they have self-published three books on the Pistologies photo archive as part of their Inconcevable Cataloog series,
D-K created two giant black Zorro hats with the same diameter as their son's height at the time, i.e., one metre. D-K often uses this process, which they call niveau de l'art, using people's height to determine the artwork's size. The bowling alley in L'art du lendemain is thus "high" when measured by these standards, as it is 15 metres long. In 2018, they staged a performance with the two giant Zorro hats, decorating a Christmas tree at the Le Jardin du Paradoxe Musée de la Vie in Liège. Ten years earlier, Geirlandt had painted a bird on the wall of La Bellone in Brussels with a Christmas tree after felling it and pickling its needles in a wine bottle.
Following the birth of their son, D-K felt they needed to get a Christmas tree because it is fun for children. But they realised they couldn't just dispose of it unceremoniously after Christmas. The tree and the taking down of the decorations became one of many recurring motifs called Elle enterre des sapins (She buries Christmas trees, from 1994 onwards). In the twelfth issue of En Fanfare - sporting xprmtl contre toulbazaar (January, 1994), a magazine published by D-K, the Christmas tree pops up in various guises in both installations and printed materials, including some works from a bird's perspective.
The world of birds is frequently referenced in their oeuvre, which is unrivalled in terms of its chronology and associative nature, e.g., with the character of the ornithologist in La grande Rétification (2017, an imaginary play on the occasion of an annual campfire weekend in Retie at the invitation of the artist Guy Rombouts, which Lieve Lambrecht also attended, sitting on an oversized chair and inspiring the character Zondervoetekes in the play. They later created another character, Professeur Franconetti, the inventor of Flamenco and a proponent of 'l'écriture automatique', who performs the character of the ornithologist, among others. The real James Bond was an ornithologist and friend of Ian Fleming.
The common hill myna, a songbird in the starling family, was an ally of D-K for many years. It can mimic human speech and has two yellow spots on its neck, as if wearing a golden collar. This inspired D-K to make a mould that you can use to easily draw a collar on a sheet of paper, cut it out, and fold it. D-K made white, green, gold, black and blue collars. "The Col d' or is for the poor artists."
Since 2013, D-K is part of the Buktapktop collective, in which the eight members do not produce collective work but freely instigate shows, concerts and cabaret in their shared space.
In a sense, Dialogist-Kantor's role in this collective is very similar to that of Herr Doppelmoppel in Kurt Schwitters's poem Doppelmoppel. When Harry Heirmans and Chris Straetling (aka Heinrich Obst) performed their version of Doppelmoppel during the Laboratoire Patacycliste 12 at E.V.A. Malibran (LP12 La Générale Songfestival - E.V.A. Malibran, Brussels) in the mid-1990s, D-K decided to use the term as a title for their ongoing series of double self-portraits, in which they photographed each other in precisely the same position.
Der Herr von Doppelmoppel / Mr Double
hat alle Dinge doppel. / has everything double.
Er hat ein Doppelkinn / He has a double chin
mit Doppelgrübchen drin. / with two dimples.
Er führt ein Doppelleben, / He leads a double life.
das zweite stets daneben. / The second life stands alongside it.
Er hat ein Doppelweib / He has two wives
zum Doppelzeitvertreib. / for double the amount of fun.
Der Herr von Doppelmoppel / Mr Double
hat eben alles doppel. / really has everything twice.
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L'Art du lendemain
Dialogist-Kantor , L'Art du lendemain, 2009. Installation, bowlingbaan uit 38 houten panelen, 10 houten kegels en 2 houten bollen (grotendeels uit recuperatiemateriaal), 25 x 120 x 1500 cm.
Dialogist-Kantor , Col d'or, 2021. Multiple, lasersnede uit ijzer, verguld., 8.5 x 43.5 x 0.4 cm.