image: © M HKA
Civilisations don’t appear out of nowhere and never reach a point of completion. They are created, grow and are renewed through cultural exchange. The coexistence of different cultures offers unprecedented opportunities. Through openness to what is foreign to us, along with understanding different traditions, it is possible to integrate them into our own mental processes and to innovate. This process, however, is demanding, slow, and requires trans-generational understanding.
The Senate, the assembly of federated entities, brings together and conciliates the communities and regions of Belgium. It thus embodies federal legitimacy.
Michaël Van den Abeele (°1974, living in Brussels) titled this Belgian tricoloured flag, of which only shades of grey remain, like in the black and white photos of yesteryear, Birth of a Nation. Is this the origin of the flag itself, the change it entails, or the similarities that emerge from it? Only in Belgium can a flag become grey and still remain Belgian, can't it?
An architect by training, Emilio López-Menchero (°1960, living in Brussels) develops an oeuvre marked by his dual Belgian-Spanish culture and focuses on the figure of the artist and the place he can occupy in society. His flag, printed with his fingerprint, expressing only himself, loses all political and collective sense.
In his work Voorstel voor een nieuwe Europese vlag (Proposal for a New European Flag), Christophe Terlinden (°1969, living in Brussels) merges the original twelve stars into one single continuous golden ring. Through this very simple, poetic but also political image, he expresses the interconnection of the countries of the European Union.
The figure of Medusa is the symbol of the woman who resonates as the primal force in male anguish. In her photographic self-portraits, Lilianne Vertessen (°1952, living in Heusden-Zolder) constantly takes the stage by provocatively using all sorts of feminine clichés, emancipating herself from societal pressures. Under these multiple apparitions, Vertessen’s self-portraits acquire some depth and are stripped of any anecdote: personality becomes diversity, identity is multiple.
Thierry Verbeke (°1970, living in Lille) blurs two references by associating them in this work: that of patchwork, long associated with an exclusively feminine form of expression, to which the western tradition refused the status of art; and that of piracy, which according to some authors must be regarded as one of the foundations of democracy.
For an exhibition in 2007, Pascale Marthine Tayou (°1967, living in Ghent) produced flags that represent the European Union on one side and the African Union on the other. Confronting African culture and experience with European culture and Western society, he questions the concepts of nationality and identity.
>Christophe Terlinden, EU Vlag, 1999.Object, 92 x 150 cm.
>Michael Van den Abeele, Birth of a Nation, 2003.Multiple, textile, 140 x 210 cm.
>Pascale Marthine Tayou, Zonder titel [Untitled], 2007.Object, textile, 92.5 x 146 cm.
>Thierry Verbeke, United Colors, 2014.Other, textile, 225 x 150 cm.
>Emilio López-Menchero, Drapeau, 2015.Mixed Media.
>Liliane Vertessen, There Are Snakes Everywhere…, 2017.Mixed Media, textile.