Several Persons

What would we do if we would be americans? (Classes from November 14 to November 19, 2016)

Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Brussels

Workshop during the SHARE week, dedicated to the French Theory

(The following text, intentionnally mixing French and English in an irreverent way, was distributed to the students, as an introduction to this workshop)

Je me souviens I remember du film français of the French Movie Les visiteurs avec Jean Reno and with Christian Clavier who was really hilarious sans parler de la délicieuse Valérie Lemercier just astonishing it was en 1993 il y a bien longtemps déjà we can call it a cult movie c’était vraiment fantastique avec Godefroy de Montmirail et sa cotte de maille and Clavier who is known for some great quotes like jour/nuit jour/nuit playing with the interrupteur et alors ce qui est extraordinaire avec ce film a surprising move is that ils ont décidé de faire un remake destiné au public américain but I think that Valérie refused to play in it du coup ils ont dû lui dénicher un remplaçant and it was the same for other actors anyway le film se passait cette fois en Angletterre et aux Etats-Unis et it was titled Just Visiting a kind of joke in itself I guess sorti en 2001 ce remake a été un flop monumental because Gaumont invested a huge amount of cash in it beaucoup de thunes my god.

Je vous propose like an invitation I mean really kind de prendre part à un workshop de deux jours thus very intense au cours duquel vous serez invité à réaliser your own remake de votre propre meilleure œuvre the best one it doesn’t matter if you work with textile or with photography ou que vous êtes un sculpteur just bring your best work with you physically très important de ne pas l’oublier and also take the tools you used to make it amenez aussi les instruments dont vous vous êtes servi pour faire et même pour finaliser cette œuvre matériellement and bring also some other tools that may be usefull for you comme de la colle, une perceuse, de la peinture rouge, du bois, some pieces of metal, some sheets of glossy photo paper, a huge canvas et tout ce qui vous excite lors de la première journée you will copy yourself en vous mettant dans la peau et dans la tête d’un artiste américain what is the american aesthetic of the time ? et quelle est la tienne ? ami français ou belge si il y en a un qui traîne là par hasard because I mean it’s interesting to consider what are les paramètres de l’imaginaire américain d’une part et les données de votre imaginaire on the other side pendant la seconde journée on termine les œuvres et immediately we build an exhibition with all your double works l’œuvre originale et la copie américaine and we’ll just look to what it gives and we’ll have some fun and everything is gonna be alright enfin j’espère je compte sur votre enthousiasme délirant.

En résumé / abstract

> You come with ta meilleure œuvre d’art personnelle of your life achievement

> Tu viens avec les outils que tu as utilisés to make this work in the past

> You listen to me because je vais vous montrer un peu d’images d’artistes américains du moment, you’ll see that they are quite motivated

> Tu fais une nouvelle oeuvre in a very short time qui sera un remake à l’américaine de ton oeuvre

> Tu participes à la construction d’un very nice group show express where both of your works will be exhibited

Mute (Class of November, 9, 2015)

National School of Visual Arts, La Cambre, Brussels

Drawing section : Module 5

In collaboration with Catherine Warmoes

> prior request by e-mail: bring as many drawing utensils and sheets of paper as possible, as well as the initial object

Students bring an object they found on their way to the school and create a first drawing/work from it. Then they each randomly draw a phrase from Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies and modify their drawing accordingly. They pass their work to another student who continues the work based on new phrases drawn from the hat.

A conversation about the work in progress between the teachers and the students is established only through texts and drawings made on the board with chalk. For the rest, the teachers remain silent all day. 

To conclude, a screening of the film: Le rayon vert by Eric Rohmer

The hanging of photography (Classes from February to May 2015)

Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Brussels

Photography section (under the direction of Chantal Maes)

The objective of this course is to reflect on the way you present your images, in order to determine what form of scenography best serves your purpose. Which scenography of your photographic work, for which space? The focus of the reflection that we will develop together will of course be your final jury. We will see to what extent I will be able to support you until the end of this final exhibition, or if I will leave you at the doors of it. In the latter case, my goal will have been to give you the necessary tools to adapt to a given place and to deploy your work with the most strength possible. What you will do afterwards, from exhibition space to exhibition space.

Here is a brief presentation of the four sessions I propose (this can still be adjusted as we go along, but the gist is there).

* Class 1: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 (starting at 9:45 am)

In this first class, I will review each of your respective portfolios to discover your work that I am not yet familiar with. You will present the gist of it to me, and I will give you feedback on what appears to me at first glance, just as it happens in jury, except that it will be less solemn and there will be no grades at stake of course. I will spend about 30 to 45 minutes with each student. For ease of reference, we will go in alphabetical order to determine the order in which each student will appear. Feel free to be there early, so we can adapt.

* Class 2: Tuesday, February 24 (starting at 9:45am)

For this second meeting, I will ask you to do some preliminary work consisting of research and visits. During our meeting, we will analyze the fruit of this preliminary work, so it is essential that you have done it beforehand (you can start as soon as you read this letter, no need to wait until the end of the first class to do it, as it may take some time).

So I ask you to bring me, so that we can discuss it:

- Archival images of your past hangings, whatever they may be (even if there was only one image in one place, or in a group show).

 - A collection of at least 50 photos of exhibitions found on the Internet identifying at least five ways of hanging photographs (to be taken in the broadest sense, the presentation of photographs today including a multimedia dimension, a sculptural dimension etc.). I hope that through this research, you will question what exists as a diversity of hanging practices, even if they are a priori far from those that you usually implement.

- Finally, I would like you to take a tour of the galleries/museums in Brussels and to take pictures of at least three exhibitions in which three different hanging policies are implemented. It is not absolutely necessary that they are photography exhibitions. If other types of works are exhibited and you manage to highlight, through your photographic report, the scenographic logic that presides over the exhibition, the goal will be reached.

Here again, we will meet individually, for about thirty minutes, this time in reverse alphabetical order, for a change.

* Course 3 (date to be determined).

This third class will be more practical: we will test a concrete presentation of your work in the studio space (and/or in a specific space of the school, such as the second floor gallery where some juries have previously been held). The idea would be to have two students always busy: while one is presenting me with his test hanging, the other is preparing his in the other space, and then the first one picks up and makes way for the next, while I see the other. We'll confirm this process later, but this will probably be it.

For this test exhibition, I am asking you to bring prints of your work that are a priori of low quality. These prints should be at least three different sizes, so that we can gauge the impact of your images, depending on their size. There is absolutely no need to spend a lot of money on these prints. Low quality black and white prints will do just fine. It's really the size issue we're probing here (from smallest to largest); which is why you might want to give yourself the freedom to test your images in a size you're not used to. Of course, if you have any color test prints that you're circling around this year, bring them along too, so we can test them similarly.

In addition to the B/W prints, you may want to bring a projector, electric spotlights, or other hanging devices that you may be thinking of.

Also, a very important practical note: bring all the hanging materials you will need (water level, tape measure, clamps, lath, tacks, and so on). Don't rely on others or on the school, get used to being independent. You are never better served than by yourself.

* Course 4 (date to be announced)

For this last class, I will probably be with you in the exhibition space you will have found for your final jury. I will then be there to guide you, on a case by case basis, in the space in question. If the venue is not yet available, we will look at your jury preparation together at the workshop, and make final adjustments.

So the wind won't blow it all away (Class of March, 24, 2014)

National School of Visual Arts of La Cambre, Brussels

Drawing Section (Under the direction of Denis De Rudder)

Dear Ida, Sarah-Louise, Simon, Jim, Marie, Juliette, Nicolas, Laurent, Inès, Colin, Alexis, Martin, Olivier, Joao, Louis and Léa,

As I sit here on August 1st, 1979, my ear is pressed up against the past as if to the wall of a house that no longer exists

The next class will be held on Monday, March 24, 2014. Between now and then, I would like you to make a new work in the city, or on the edge of it.

I can hear the sound of redwing blackbirds and the wind blowing hard against the cattails.

It can be a t-shirt that you make and wear for a day, a sticker of two square centimeters that you place clandestinely on street lamps, a drawing on the ground with chalk, an installation made in a waterproof box immersed in the depths of the ponds of Ixelles, a watercolor delivered to the mercy of the rain, a text whose subject will have come to your mind when you get out of the pool. In short, the project of your choice, as long as it fits in with the path you're on and makes sense to you.

They rustle in the wind like ghost swords in battle and there is the steady lapping of the pond at the shore's edge, which I belong to with my imagination.

When the day comes, I invite you to bring the documented traces of this project as well as your latest studio drawing. We will talk about both at these meeting times:

Lea (12:00), Louis (12:20), Joao (12:40), Nicolas (1:00), Jim (1:20), Laurent (1:40), Martin (2:00), Olivier (2:20), Sarah-Louise (3:00), Simon (3:20), Marie (3:40), Juliette (4:00), Alexis (4:20), Colin (4:40), Ines (5:00), Ida (5:20).

So the Wind Won't Blow it All Away, Richard Brautigan