While Brussels has always served as François Curlet’s anchorage point, he has never stopped traveling throughout France and the rest of the world in search of experiences to help inspire his multiform creations, including the two new pieces presented at the Plateau.
An heir to the artists John Knight and Jef Geys, François Curlet creates a unique fusion between conceptual art, Dada actions, pop imagery and Situationist daydreams. Utilizing a large variety of tools and materials, his work takes its inspiration from fairy tales, television, economic exchanges, and communication systems (contemporary media networks that he willingly manipulates). These different elements (objects, signs, and messages) are subjected to various transformations that either diversify or invalidate their regular functioning. François Curlet works as if with a magnifying glass, deforming the ordinary until the unlikely emerges. Master of distortion of cultural codes, he manages to extract the playful, poetic, narrative, and caustically humorous nature out of all things he touches.
François Curlet produces visual worlds where fiction and reality collide, “remixing” objects and images with his very own brand of humor, and creating a parallel universe of his own.
At the Plateau, François Curlet has decided to invite the Belgian duo of Jos De Gruyter & Harald Thys to join in on his exhibition, during which he will be presenting two new works:
– Recently acquired by our collection, Rocking Chair, “with its plaid cover suspended over the back right hand side, like a small gravitational anomaly that reveals a ghostly presence”, resembles an everyday object that is slightly disengaged from its primary function.
– Shot in the spring of 2007, the film French Farce transports the viewer inside a café at the turn of the 19th century located at the Château-Gontier, during which a group of retired persons play cards while being watched by a young British woman. Commentary on the scene: a very “Duchamp-esque” world.
Jos De Gruyter & Harald Thys
Over the last twenty years, Jos De Gruyter & Harald Thus have been creating video/performances featuring characters in ordinary situations that suddenly become extraordinary. Influenced as much by avant-garde as by Hollywood cinema, their video works refuse to bow to any accepted narrative conventions. At the beginning of their movies, the characters and their surroundings seem completely normal, until progressively the scenes become more and more absurd, until finally everything turns topsy-turvy. Manipulated by the two artists as if they were marionettes, the actors are often reduced to masked or costumes figures: people wearing bird masks or cloaked in bear costumes who inhabit a completely surreal universe.
In their photographic work, one can recognize the same familiar universe: uniform grey spaces serve as backdrops to characters with “props that seem to come from a traveling circus.”
Their entire body of work is based upon marginal, often pitiful characters whose actions and gestures reveal our very own, very real anxieties: “the suffocating side effects of normalcy on these characters pushes them to the limit, and it’s precisely here, at the borderline between two worlds, that one can grasp onto something vital.”
At le plateau, Harald Thys & Jos de Gruyter will be showcasing their most recent works, including a science fiction film entitled Ten Weyngaert. The film takes its title and location from a Brussels-based utopist architectural development occupied by social outcasts. Its story is set in a quasi-surreal world ruled by a mechanical spider, where two robots serve as middlemen between a miniature monarchy and a heterogeneous society on the brink of abandon. As in their other films, the characters are portrayed by the artists’ friends, family members, or by amateur actors.
An ensemble of other works will be presented, revealing the artists’ unique universe in which burlesque, sometimes tragic characters are featured in a series of extraordinary situations straight out of the absurd.