Digestive Disaster, Lucky Star at Stems Gallery

Artists: Jack Brennan, Tom Hallet, Léo Luccioni, Sarah Margnetti, Omsk Social Club, Florian Reither, Nicolas Stolarczyk, Urara Tsuchiya, Amber Vanluffelen, Stef Van Looveren

Exhibition title: Digestive Disaster, Lucky Star at Stems

Curated by: Marion Denné, Maurane Colson

Venue: Stems Gallery, Brussels, Belgium

Date: January 9 – 25, 2020

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Stems Gallery, Brussels

We’re setting 2020 off with a dinner party, spiritual nourishment in a white cube. Dining is the symbol of society’s conspicuous consumption, self-indulgence or excess. For this meal, we would like to focus on the rituals that go with it, togetherness created over a meal. Dinner is a performance that spans only as long as people eat and can never be replicated in the same form. Hi to togetherness.

We have invited 10 artists to be our guests, to deal with the concept of a dinner party where the main matter is of sociality and conviviality, to join in pleasure by presenting transdisciplinary work. Ten jars of honey, oil and milk. A quintal of dates and bananas.

This dinner includes works by Jack Brennan, Tom Hallet, Leo Luccioni, Sarah Margnetti, Omsk Social Club, Florian Reither, Nicolas Stolarczyk, Urara Tsuchiya, Amber Vanluffelen and Stef Van Looveren.

It starts with Brennan’s basket of madeleines, a foundry was built on the gallery’s terrace where Brennan casts scrap aluminium into aluminium pastry, evoking gender role playing with what is supposed to be according this heteronormalized society « women’s » work and « mens » work.

“To Matthew” captures the violence that was inflicted on Matthew Wayne Shepard during a cold October evening in 1998. The only portions of his face not covered in blood were those that had been streaked clean by his tears[1]. Hallet narrates the brutality of this hate-crime into a fairy martyr by fine lines . Flowers are blooming in a surreal swamp setting.

While the Old Testament spared Daniel from being fed by the lions, Luccioni gave him a whole other fate. Daniel is depicted in the skull and bones in front of the lions and marks an underlying evidence of the ferocity of our consumerist culture. Rubens and Luccioni highlighted this dramatical event in the chiaroscuro and fierceness of the lions gazes looking at the spectator, which makes us feel part of (being) the diner.

Stolarczyks fantasies emerge from organic embroideries and deal with knitted constructions. Here the precious is plastic. Made in China scales or industrial-hybrid skins. This duality is twisted in a game of attitudes and faces a fantasy-derived nocturnal chimera with neither a head nor a tale.

Urara Tsuchya seized personal conversations from her tinder account to transcript them on a ceramic dining set. What are the boundaries between humans interacting on dating apps? Is it awkward to be offered an experience of non duality through psychedelic orgasms by an unknown straight male you just virtually met?

The fireplace connects the interior and exterior of a building and therefore symbolises Hestia, Goddess of the hearth, home, and domesticity. The depicted body leans towards the viewer and functions as the supporting structure of the fireplace. Margnetti uses her own body as study material and, through the use of a trompe-oeil technique, renders the faux marble that surfaces the skin and veins.

Omsk Social Club created an intuitive gaming board that act as aesthetic artistic objects that offers a gate-away into their conceptual practice of Real Game Play. “Love Cry” is based on the surreal and the spiritual rather than the rational or rules. Helena Dietrich will active the board game with tarot card reading through the evening, you are invitated to join her.

Playfully mimicking our social conducts along with their visual culture, “EAT ME OUT” is a surreal mirror image. Performativity, an elaborate and spectacular entertainment: the sculpture is a dystopic pageant. Stef Van Looveren questions sexuality and fluïdity through colour and form. The body wanders in a paradisiacal sea without personality.

Amber Vannuffelen performs tibetan meditation crossed-over with ballroom culture in combination with elements of basketball. A spiritual practice becomes a method to create a platform between reality and personal fantasies, through these, the search for realness is present. Kaede, Suzume,Carpré, Sendoh, Ina Iagu and Rita are cosplayers that will spin tonight.

“You look me like” is the wild card and can be an extremely beneficial, or an extremely harmful, element.

[1] Beth, Loffreda, Losing Matt Shepard. Life and Politics in the Aftermath of Anti-Gay Murder, New York: Columbia University Press, 2002, p.13.