CONTOUR 7, a Moving Image Biennale

Chiara Fumai - The Book Of Evil Spirits (c) Kristof Vrancken8

Artists: Grazia Toderi, Andrea Büttner, Gilberto Zorio, An van. Dienderen, Gilad Ratman, Javier Téllez, Michael Fliri, Rabih Mroué, A Dog Republic and RAM Radioartemobile, AaBbPp, Slavs and Tatars, Albert Serra, Fabrice Hyber, Nedko Solakov, Johan Grimonprez, Jan Fabre, Ana Prvački, Michael Rakowitz, Sander Breure and Witte van Hulzen, Chiara Fumai, Angel Vergara

Exhibition title: CONTOUR 7, a Moving Image Biennale

Curated by: Nicola Setari

Venues: Mechelen Academy, Mechelen Cultural Centre, De Vlietenkelder, Hof van Busleyden, Kazerne Dossin, De Noker, Mechelen, Belgium

Date: August 29 – November 8, 2015

Photography: ©Kristof Vrancken, images copyright and courtesy of the artists and CONTOUR 7

CONTOUR 7 is dedicated to the humanist, statesman and martyr Thomas More. Fooling Utopia, the Biennale’s motto, is inspired by Utopia (1516), More’s most famous book, and by In Praise of Folly (1511), which Desiderius Erasmus dedicated to his friend, Thomas More. The motto seems to capture the original spirit with which these two friends dealt with the reality of their time, and it is a reflection of the artistic practices and strategies on display throughout CONTOUR 7.

CONTOUR 7 presents work by over twenty artists who have been invited to focus on two themes: Fooling Utopia and Monsters, Martyrs & Media. Both are inspired by the human as well as the intellectual trajectory that led Thomas More to Mechelen exactly five hundred years ago.

The campaign image of CONTOUR 7, a deep blue vortex, depicts the movements in play between the two themes of the Biennale.

Monsters, Martys & Media

On the bind between monsters and martyrs in past and present media

Why do we need monsters? Is it because they allow us to express our deepest fears and anxieties? Or do they serve as warnings against the dystopian futures of which we risk becoming victims? Martyrs, on the other hand, make the headlines of newspapers and other media on a daily basis. They remind us that some people are prepared to embrace their beliefs in such a radical way, that they are willing to sacrifice their life.

The distinction between martyrs and monsters blurs, as they get sucked into the information maelstroms and vortexes produced by contemporary mass media. Several of the artworks on display within CONTOUR 7 address the theme Monsters, Martyrs & Media both literally and figuratively, using the City of Mechelen as a backdrop.

History teaches us that Mechelen has been home to both fictive and real monsters and martyrs. According to ancient city legends, the monstrous bogeyman ‘Oude Rode Ogen’ plagued the city at the end of the seventeenth century. Known in Mechelen under the name of ‘De Nekker’, this fictive monster abducted innocent children and adults at night in the swamps surrounding the city. Three centuries later, Mechelen became the location of real, monstrous atrocities when Kazerne Dossin was used by Nazi-Germany as a transit camp for the deportation of Jewish and Roma people to Auschwitz.

Fooling Utopia

On the sense and nonsense of utopia in society

The fact that court fools, clowns and harlequins can afford the sharpest criticism, is a cliché that has been around for centuries. That this particular cliché makes sense, was also the opinion of the Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus when he wrote his most famous book In Praise of Folly. Thomas More and Erasmus exchanged numerous letters, reflecting on the follies of their age. This must have left its mark when More wrote Utopia, which served as a sharp and ironic critique of Europe.

That this five hundred-year old critique is still relevant today, is proven by the potential grexits and grim euro-crises that trouble contemporary Europe. However, this critique is instantly alleviated and nuanced by the ironic and comical tone of the book. More probably sought to undermine his own utopian ideals before anybody else could, because he knew that his utopia would never be possible to realize entirely.

The word ‘utopia’ (a word we owe to More) contains a certain impossibility. A utopia is a wish that continuously waits for fulfillment. Within the context of this Biennale, Fooling Utopia elaborates on the sense and nonsense of utopian thinking.

UTOPIA & EUROPA SALON

Within the context of CONTOUR 7, a Moving Image Biennale, and in cooperation with the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission and the Representation of the European Commission in Belgium, three Utopia & Europa Salons are organised.

The central question these salons address is the role of artists, writers and thinkers in Europe today. How do their utopian ideas form an essential contribution to the realisation of the common good? And how do they contribute to Europe’s search for a contemporary narrative?

The Utopia & Europa Salon is organised also in the framework of the European Commission’s New Narrative for Europe, an initiative that engages the cultural, scientific and artistic sectors in the ongoing discussion on the many narratives on Europe.

A Dog Republic - Let's Talk Peace! (c) Kristof Vrancken

A Dog Republic, Let’s Talk Peace!, 2015

A Dog Republic - Let's Talk Peace! _ Jannis Kounellis - Il Monumento Al Borghese Coraggioso (c) Kristof Vrancken

A Dog Republic, Let’s Talk Peace!, 2015
Jannis Kounellis, Il Monumento Al Borghese Coraggioso, 2015

A Dog Republic - Let's Talk Peace! _ Jannis Kounellis - Il Monumento Al Borghese Coraggioso (c) Kristof Vrancken2

A Dog Republic, Let’s Talk Peace!, 2015
Jannis Kounellis, Il Monumento Al Borghese Coraggioso, 2015

AaBbPp - Three Official Hats (c) Kristof Vrancken

AaBbPp, Three Official Hats, 2015

AaBbPp - Three Official Hats (c) Kristof Vrancken2

AaBbPp, Three Official Hats, 2015

Albert Serra - The Lord Worked Wonders In Me (c) Kristof Vrancken

Albert Serra, The Lord Worked Wonders In Me, 2015

An van. Dienderen - Lili (c) Kristof Vrancken

An van. Dienderen, Lili, 2015

Ana Prvacki - The Family Fig Tree (for the Utopians it's important to see their future spouse naked before marrying them) (c) Kristof Vrancken

Ana Prvacki, The Family Fig Tree (for the Utopians it’s important to see their future spouse naked before marrying them), 2015

Andrea Bu¦êttner - Piano Destructions (c) Kristof Vrancken

Andrea Büttner, Piano Destructions, 2015

Andrea Bu¦êttner - Piano Destructions (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Andrea Büttner, Piano Destructions, 2015

Andrea Bu¦êttner - Piano Destructions (c) Kristof Vrancken3

Andrea Büttner, Piano Destructions, 2015

Andrea Bu¦êttner - Piano Destructions (c) Kristof Vrancken4

Andrea Büttner, Piano Destructions, 2015

Andrea Bu¦êttner - Piano Destructions (c) Kristof Vrancken5

Andrea Büttner, Piano Destructions, 2015

Angel Vergara - De Nekker Tree (c) Kristof Vrancken

Angel Vergara, De Nekker Tree, 2015

Angel Vergara - De Nekker Tree (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Angel Vergara, De Nekker Tree, 2015

Angel Vergara - De Nekker Tree (c) Kristof Vrancken3

Angel Vergara, De Nekker Tree, 2015

Benedenruimte Hof van Busleyden (c) Kristof Vrancken

Benedenruimte Hof van Busleyden, 2015

Benedenruimte Hof van Busleyden (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Benedenruimte Hof van Busleyden, 2015

Carl Michael Von Hausswolff & Leif Elggren - Utopia The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland (c) Kristof Vrancken

Carl Michael Von Hausswolff & Leif Elggren, Utopia The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland, 2015

Chiara Fumai - The Book Of Evil Spirits (c) Kristof Vrancken

Chiara Fumai, The Book Of Evil Spirits, 2015

Chiara Fumai - The Book Of Evil Spirits (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Chiara Fumai, The Book Of Evil Spirits, 2015

Chiara Fumai - The Book Of Evil Spirits (c) Kristof Vrancken3

Chiara Fumai, The Book Of Evil Spirits, 2015

Chiara Fumai - The Book Of Evil Spirits (c) Kristof Vrancken4

Chiara Fumai, The Book Of Evil Spirits, 2015

Chiara Fumai - The Book Of Evil Spirits (c) Kristof Vrancken5

Chiara Fumai, The Book Of Evil Spirits, 2015

Chiara Fumai - The Book Of Evil Spirits (c) Kristof Vrancken6

Chiara Fumai, The Book Of Evil Spirits, 2015

Chiara Fumai - The Book Of Evil Spirits (c) Kristof Vrancken7

Chiara Fumai, The Book Of Evil Spirits, 2015

Chiara Fumai - The Book Of Evil Spirits (c) Kristof Vrancken8

Chiara Fumai, The Book Of Evil Spirits, 2015

Chiara Fumai - The Book Of Evil Spirits (c) Kristof Vrancken9

Chiara Fumai, The Book Of Evil Spirits, 2015

Fabrice Hyber - TV MORE (c) Kristof Vrancken

Fabrice Hyber, TV MORE, 2015

Fabrice Hyber - TV MORE (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Fabrice Hyber, TV MORE, 2015

Fabrice Hyber - TV MORE (c) Kristof Vrancken3

Fabrice Hyber, TV MORE, 2015

Fabrice Hyber - TV MORE (c) Kristof Vrancken4

Fabrice Hyber, TV MORE, 2015

Fabrice Hyber - TV MORE (c) Kristof Vrancken5

Fabrice Hyber, TV MORE, 2015

Fabrice Hyber - TV MORE (c) Kristof Vrancken6

Fabrice Hyber, TV MORE, 2015

Fabrice Hyber - TV MORE (c) Kristof Vrancken7

Fabrice Hyber, TV MORE, 2015

Fooling Utopia Library (c) Kristof Vrancken

Fooling Utopia Library

Fooling Utopia Library (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Fooling Utopia Library

Fooling Utopia Library (c) Kristof Vrancken3

Fooling Utopia Library

Fooling Utopia Library (c) Kristof Vrancken4

Fooling Utopia Library

Gilad Ratman - Swarm (c) Kristof Vrancken

Gilad Ratman, Swarm, 2015

Gilad Ratman - Swarm (c) Kristof Vrancken3

Gilad Ratman, Swarm, 2015

Gilberto Zorio - E¦Ç Utopia, La Realta¦Ç, E¦Ç Rivelazione (c) Kristof Vrancken

Gilberto Zorio, 2015

Gilberto Zorio - E¦Ç Utopia, La Realta¦Ç, E¦Ç Rivelazione (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Gilberto Zorio, 2015

Grazia Toderi - Moon Extinguishers (c) Kristof Vrancken

Grazia Toderi, Moon Extinguishers, 2015

Grazia Toderi - Moon Extinguishers (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Grazia Toderi, Moon Extinguishers, 2015

Hypocaustum Hof van Busleyden (c) Kristof Vrancken

Hypocaustum Hof van Busleyden, 2015

Hypocaustum Hof van Busleyden (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Hypocaustum Hof van Busleyden, 2015

Jan Fabre - Hommage aan Thomas More (c) Kristof Vrancken

Jan Fabre, Hommage aan Thomas More, 2015

Jan Fabre - Hommage aan Thomas More (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Jan Fabre, Hommage aan Thomas More, 2015

Jan Fabre - Searching for Utopia (c) Kristof Vrancken

Jan Fabre, Searching for Utopia, 2015

Jan Fabre - Searching for Utopia (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Jan Fabre, Searching for Utopia, 2015

Jan Fabre - Searching for Utopia (c) Kristof Vrancken3

Jan Fabre, Searching for Utopia, 2015

Jan Fabre - Searching for Utopia (c) Kristof Vrancken4

Jan Fabre, Searching for Utopia, 2015

Jannis Kounellis - Il Monumento Al Borghese Coraggioso (c) Kristof Vrancken

Jannis Kounellis, Il Monumento Al Borghese Coraggioso, 2015

Javier Te¦üllez - Bourbaki Panorama (c) Kristof Vrancken

Javier Tellez, Bourbaki Panorama, 2015

Javier Te¦üllez - Bourbaki Panorama (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Javier Tellez, Bourbaki Panorama, 2015

Javier Te¦üllez - Bourbaki Panorama (c) Kristof Vrancken3

Javier Tellez, Bourbaki Panorama, 2015

Johan Grimonprez - every day words disappear (c) Kristof Vrancken

Johan Grimonprez, every day words disappear, 2015

Johan Grimonprez - every day words disappear (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Johan Grimonprez, every day words disappear, 2015

Johan Grimonprez - WeTube-O-Theque (c) Kristof Vrancken

Johan Grimonprez, every day words disappear, 2015

Johan Grimonprez - WeTube-O-Theque (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Johan Grimonprez, every day words disappear, 2015

Michael Fliri - I Pray I'm A False Prophet (c) Kristof Vrancken

Michael Fliri, I Pray I’m A False Prophet, 2015

Michael Fliri - I Pray I'm A False Prophet (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Michael Fliri, I Pray I’m A False Prophet, 2015

Michael Rakowitz - I'm Good At Love, I'm Good At Hate, It's In Between I Freeze (c) Kristof Vrancken

Michael Rakowitz, I’m Good At Love, I’m Good At Hate, It’s In Between I Freeze, 2015

Michael Rakowitz - I'm Good At Love, I'm Good At Hate, It's In Between I Freeze (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Michael Rakowitz, I’m Good At Love, I’m Good At Hate, It’s In Between I Freeze, 2015

Michael Rakowitz - I'm Good At Love, I'm Good At Hate, It's In Between I Freeze (c) Kristof Vrancken3

Michael Rakowitz, I’m Good At Love, I’m Good At Hate, It’s In Between I Freeze, 2015

Michael Rakowitz - I'm Good At Love, I'm Good At Hate, It's In Between I Freeze (c) Kristof Vrancken4

Michael Rakowitz, I’m Good At Love, I’m Good At Hate, It’s In Between I Freeze, 2015

Michael Rakowitz - I'm Good At Love, I'm Good At Hate, It's In Between I Freeze (c) Kristof Vrancken5

Michael Rakowitz, I’m Good At Love, I’m Good At Hate, It’s In Between I Freeze, 2015

Michael Rakowitz - I'm Good At Love, I'm Good At Hate, It's In Between I Freeze (c) Kristof Vrancken6

Michael Rakowitz, I’m Good At Love, I’m Good At Hate, It’s In Between I Freeze, 2015

Michael Rakowitz - I'm Good At Love, I'm Good At Hate, It's In Between I Freeze (c) Kristof Vrancken7

Michael Rakowitz, I’m Good At Love, I’m Good At Hate, It’s In Between I Freeze, 2015

Nedko Solakov - Encyclopaedia Utopia (c) Kristof Vrancken

Nedko Solakov, Encyclopaedia Utopia, 2015

Nedko Solakov - Encyclopaedia Utopia (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Nedko Solakov, Encyclopaedia Utopia, 2015

Nedko Solakov - Encyclopaedia Utopia (c) Kristof Vrancken3

Nedko Solakov, Encyclopaedia Utopia, 2015

Rabih Mroue¦ü - Noiseless (c) Kristof Vrancken

Rabih Mroué, Noiseless, 2015

Rabih Mroue¦ü - Old House (c) Kristof Vrancken

Rabih Mroué, Noiseless, 2015

Rabih Mroue¦ü - The Crocodile Who Ate The Sun (c) Kristof Vrancken

Rabih Mroué, The Crocodile Who Ate The Sun, 2015

Rabih Mroue¦ü - The Crocodile Who Ate The Sun (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Rabih Mroué, The Crocodile Who Ate The Sun, 2015

Rabih Mroue¦ü - The Crocodile Who Ate The Sun (c) Kristof Vrancken3

Rabih Mroué, The Crocodile Who Ate The Sun, 2015

Rabih Mroue¦ü - The Crocodile Who Ate The Sun (c) Kristof Vrancken4

Rabih Mroué, The Crocodile Who Ate The Sun, 2015

Rabih Mroue¦ü - Two Hours Without War (c) Kristof Vrancken

Rabih Mroué, Two Hours Without War, 2015

Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen - The Shores Of An Island I Only Skirted (c) Kristof Vrancken

Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen, The Shores Of An Island I Only Skirted, 2015

Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen - The Shores Of An Island I Only Skirted (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen, The Shores Of An Island I Only Skirted, 2015

Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen - The Shores Of An Island I Only Skirted (c) Kristof Vrancken3

Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen, The Shores Of An Island I Only Skirted, 2015

Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen - The Shores Of An Island I Only Skirted (c) Kristof Vrancken4

Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen, The Shores Of An Island I Only Skirted, 2015

Slavs and Tatars - Hung and Tart (Full Acacia) (c) Kristof Vrancken

Slavs and Tatars, Hung and Tart (Full Acacia), 2015

Slavs and Tatars - Lektor (Speculum Linguarum) (c) Kristof Vrancken

Slavs and Tatars, Lektor (Speculum Linguarum), 2015

Slavs and Tatars - Lektor (Speculum Linguarum) (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Slavs and Tatars, Lektor (Speculum Linguarum), 2015

Slavs and Tatars - Qum Rabat (c) Kristof Vrancken

Slavs and Tatars, Qum Rabat, 2015

Slavs and Tatars - Qum Rabat (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Slavs and Tatars, Qum Rabat, 2015

Thomas More - Utopia (c) Kristof Vrancken

Thomas More, Utopia, 2015

Thomas More - Utopia (c) Kristof Vrancken2

Thomas More, Utopia, 2015

Tomas Pozemis - Acid Round About (c) Kristof Vrancken

Tomas Pozemis, Acid Round About, 2015

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