Kunsthal Extra City

For 'Periphery', Kunsthal Extra City is commissioning six artistic projects for its new location in the former Dominican Monastery. Artists Geert Goiris, Imge Özbilge, Maëlle Dufour, Mekhitar Garabedian, Meryem Bayram and artist duo CMMC will enter into dialogue with the symbolically charged architectural space and each install a semi-permanent work in the periphery of the church and chapel. They will hide themselves away in aisles, forgotten back rooms and hidden interstitial spaces where their work can blossom in complete seclusion. The selected artists have diverse practices, from performance to photography, installation art to animation.

‘Radically Naive / Naively Radical’ captures the state of mind foisted on us by the present era. An era in which we seem to be drifting from tipping point to tipping point: 9/11 and the so-called War on Terror, the Arab Spring, the alt-right, #MeToo, the migration crisis, Trump, #BLM, the constant threat of climate change … Is COVID-19 the final nail in the coffin? Do we now submit to the sea of polarisation? Or do we stand strong against the tide of cynicism?

In an open exhibition without any imposed thesis, ‘Radically Naive / Naively Radical’ seeks to positively re-evaluate to the notion of naivety: doing over analysing; making over designing. The search for institutional meaning, for the (im)material character of art, for cultural uniqueness and artistic autonomy.

‘Radically Naive / Naively Radical’ marks the start of Kunsthal Extra City’s tenure at its new location, the former Dominican Church and Chapel. A place whose context is all-encompassing, where meaning already hangs in the air before a single artwork is added. The Kunsthal is inviting artists to give themselves over to the space. And therefore to consciously situate themselves in a post(?)-religious, post(?)-colonial, post(?)-feminist and post(?)-materialistic world.

For her first solo exhibition in Belgium, multidisciplinary artist Michèle Magema will present new work in Kunsthal Extra City’s chapel space. With ‘Watermarks, silent traces’, the artist utilises various different media, including drawing, photography, video and installation. For this project Magema takes inspiration from personal stories of the Congolese diaspora in the 1980s and 90s, examining the notion of collective intimacy. How do you put something into words that is not often spoken of? How do you capture the essence of a collective intimacy without completely exposing it? Through intimate experiences, Magema explores the silent traces left by a Congolese generation marked by its destabilised political context.

With the chapel space of its new location, Kunsthal Extra City seeks to offer a platform for refreshing voices and new ideas. The solo project ‘Watermarks, silent traces’ by Michèle Magema was proposed and organised by guest curator Sorana Munsya.