December 5, 2008 – January 31, 2009
Curated by Tilman & Jan Maarten Voskuil
Participating Artists: Justin Andrews (AU), Karina Bisch (FR), Krysten Cunningham (US), Ward Denys (BE), Terence Haggerty (UK/US), Clemens Hollerer (AT), Simon Ingram (NZ), Fabian Luyten (BE), Camila Oliveira Fairclough (BR/UK), Jeena Shin (NZ), Morgane Tschiember (FR), Lars Wolter (DE), Carrie Yamaoka (US)
On the occasion of the first Brussels Biennial, CCNOA, in cooperation with Brussels-based artist & curator Tilman and Dutch artist & curator Jan Maarten Voskuil, is pleased to present the exhibition YO, MO’ MODERNISM… as part of the Brussels Biennial Off-Program. The exhibitions will feature the work of 25 artists from Belgium, elsewhere in Europe and abroad who investigate the premises of modernism and question and/or highlight aspects and principles of modernism within contemporary art practice.
The terms ‘modernism’ and ‘modern art’ are generally used to describe the succession of art movements that critics and historians have identified since the realism of Courbet, culminating in abstract art and its developments up to the 1960s. The term modernism is used to describe the style and theory of art from the 1880s on lasting into the mid-20th century. It commonly applies to those forward-looking artists, architects and designers who self-consciously rejected the past as a model for the art of the present, advocated a return to the basic fundamentals of art and subsequently created a new and diverse vocabulary. With the invention of photography, the realistic approach to painting and sculpture became unnecessary, and artists began searching for new ways of visualizing and thinking about the nature, materials, and function of art. Freedom of expression, experimentation, and radicalism became constituent parts of their artistic practice. They believed that art should stem from colour and form and not from depiction of the natural world. But modern art has often also been driven by various social and political agendas. These were often utopian, and modernism was in general associated with ideal visions of human life and society and a belief in progress.
Due to the complexity of the subject as well as the size of our exhibition space, YO, MO’ MODERNISM… will be presented in two parts. While part 1 will focus on contemporary artists whose works explicitly expand on and refer to concepts, conceptions and ideals within the modernist movement, part 2 will present works by artists whose artistic practice is no longer driven by the social or metaphysical utopias of the pioneers of modernism, but have taken a rather extroverted stance towards modernist ideas, exploring and expanding on the subtleties of our daily environment as well as on popular culture and its constituents. Dogmatic and pragmatic statements of the heroes of past decades have been replaced by a playful approach towards art-making and its implications today, and have subsequently led to the exploration of other areas of contemporary culture, like sound, architecture, music, generic materials, video, etc. This has broadened the comprehension and perception of abstract art, its forms, functions and validity, and the perspective on the reciprocal transfer between the material realities of art and life.