Ceci n'est pas une exposition

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Words, words, words in Bozar’s backyard

Meet the artists behind ‘Ceci n’est pas une exposition’

Bozar invited five artists to create artworks visible in Augmented Reality (AR) on your smartphone, floating around the Mont des Arts neighbourhood. You can discover eight artworks inspired by the Surrealists’ practices, on the façades of buildings in and around Bozar’s building. Here’s an encounter with the 5 artists behind the artworks.
All artworks are text-based, like animated poems, reminding us of the importance of words and manifesto-writing for the historical surrealist artists in Belgium and across Europe.

Annabelle Binnerts and the double life of words

The textual work by Annabelle Binnerts hints at what might be going on in the places that remain hidden from sight: behind closed doors and windows. The works invite you to come closer, study the text that’s written on the facades, and imagine what could be happening behind them. 

Words are like shape-shifters, living a double life: one on the page, and one in our heads, evoking ideas, objects, or experiences that are elsewhere. They call upon the imagination of the viewer, inviting you to imagine something that goes beyond the work you see in front of you.

“Words, like no other medium, carry the potential to evoke an ‘extra’ reality.”
- Annabelle Binnerts

Ghita Skali, Salim Bayri and the weaponization of words

Ghita Skali and Salim Bayri’s interventions in the Central Station’s main square are a comment on the trickery, demagogy and manipulation of words in political contexts. Speaking up about ongoing horrors, and placed in this particular gathering site where protests happen denouncing it, this work is in support of protesters. The focus is on word play; when it is a good time and when it is not for it. Surrealists played with words just like oppressors and politicians, although with different power and harm.

In this work, they wanted to point at the weaponization of words by destructive regimes and political manipulations.

Laure Prouvost and the triggering of imagination

As in many of her works, Laure Prouvost takes you with her in a mind-trick by using words as steps to enter an imaginative alternative world. Scales are shaken, the real world takes another turn, and off your mind goes to another dimension. The two works of Laure Prouvost interact eminently with the architecture of Victor Horta’s building. Inside the main hall, you are tossed into the exhibitions by an imaginary enlarged mouth, and when standing in front of the entrance, you suddenly find yourself floating above the ground. Her works blinks to the Surrealists in the use of humour but especially in the creation of a subtle distance between reality and something that could be put on top of it – by the one and only power of words.

Valérie Mréjen and flaky words

You can discover Valérie Mréjen’s artwork on the ceiling of the Ravenstein gallery, just across the street to Bozar. Diffused words fall in pieces or flakes, as if the glass pavers were holes and someone was using the roof as a parmesan grater. The phrase that forms laments a form of tepidity, the absence of real political decisions, using terms like half-measures, cosmetic, and sprinkling.

A little up the street, between the two buildings leading to the Mont des Arts garden, you will find a virtual ladder and a fake slogan, like an improbable banner. The hallucinatory vision or daydream one might have while letting their imagination drift and their gaze slide over the facade of a building becomes a claim for useless work.

“I drew inspiration from assertive formulas, phrases that condemn, demand, and claim, associating them with absurd intentions.”
- Valérie Mréjen

Eager to discover the artworks? Start your AR journey in the main hall of Bozar, or download the app on App Store  (« BozAR Surrealism ») or Android Play Store (“BozAR Surrealism”).

BNP Paribas Fortis, extraordinary support

“As a loyal partner of Bozar for more than 20 years, BNP Paribas Fortis is proud to support the exhibition Histoire de ne pas rire. Surrealism in Belgium. It offers a unique opportunity to celebrate the audacity and openness that are hallmarks of our country.” Michael Anseeuw, CEO BNP Paribas Fortis. 

BNP Paribas Fortis also supports the augmented reality project Ceci n’est pas une exposition, an exhibition that breaks new ground. This collaboration demonstrates BNP Paribas Fortis's long-term commitment to the arts and culture, and its desire to support innovative projects that enrich the Belgian art scene. By joining forces, Bozar and BNP Paribas Fortis have enabled young artists to explore new artistic formats through technology.