Monique Thomaes

INBOX: Monique Thomaes - PAVILION

THURSDAY 30.06, 19:00-21:00

Since the early 1990s, Monique Thomaes has been investigating how the perception and experience of architectural spaces can be intensified, slowed down or questioned. For this she uses video, photography, light projection and reflective materials such as glass or mirrors. By uniting the parameters of building, visitors and artistic intervention, she heightens the sensations of and interactions between time and space. Her aesthetic strategy can be called purified and minimalist. The technological, sculptural or architectural interventions do not essentially transform the given space, but offer an alternative perspective. In the process, the functional dimension of the space is temporarily removed, making way for an aesthetic experience. In her questioning and fertilisation of space, Thomaes regularly uses linguistic concepts. These provide her with the conceptual tools she needs to interact carefully with the environment and the scenography of the space. Because her working method is essentially site-specific, it is also limited in time and space. The visual documentation of her interventions guarantees their continued existence. Therefore, the publication of this documentation in book form guarantees that her interventions come to life in another physical space - that of the book and the page.

For her intervention in INBOX of the M HKA, Thomaes took an existing building as a starting point, namely the Belgian pavilion in the Venetian Giardini, designed by Léon Sneyers and renovated in the 90s by Georges Baines. Thomaes has long been fascinated by the modernist building, particularly by its symmetry, minimalist design and magisterial zenithal light. A cardboard scale model has been in her studio for some time now and serves as a zone of exploration. The images projected onto the walls of INBOX are digitally and analogously realised in the model. By projecting these black-and-white images in careful timing into this white cube space, the artist brings a stylised interpretation of the pavilion and its specific light conditions. The result is not an architectural experience but its sublimation into an aesthetic and poetic choreography. Architecture is here literally and figuratively abstracted into its visual essence, a geometric play of planes, horizontals and verticals, light and shadow. Like a melancholy ode to a lost modernism. The visitor inevitably casts shadows on the projections, so that the purified images are temporarily distorted and inhabited by the silhouettes of the viewers. A little further on, the artist installs a surveillance camera that records the sky for four weeks. The images can be seen on a fixed screen near the INBOX space. In this way, inside and outside, real and fictitious time, art and non-art world are permanently involved and played off against each other.

Johan Pas

In addition to this presentation, a compilation of Monique Thomaes’ video works (1995-2021)
is shown in the auditorium (3rd floor) on the following days:
Thursday 30 June 2022, 19:00-21:00
Sundays 10, 17, 24, 31 July and 7 August 2022
Saturdays 9, 16, 23, 30 July and 6 August 2022

Artists: Monique Thomaes

Also happening at INBOX: Monique Thomaes - PAVILION