Photography is known as the medium of indexicality: photos are inherently bound up with
the things or scenes they show. The medium documents traces of time; a snapshot of a moment to be clung to, doggedly. We often associate looking at photographs with nostalgia: we turn our gaze on what-once-was (what philosopher Roland Barthes referred to as ‘ça-a-été’). In contemporary art, forms of photography are being developed that attempt to capture the experience of time and space differently, and which aim to bring about other sensory interactions with their audiences. Many young photographers are turning to textiles and fabrics for this, bringing softness and intimacy into the relationship between the viewer and the work. The photographic images come to life in the sensuality of textiles. The present, memory and the imagination play out among the folds of the fabric. Enveloped In You brings together five artists, each of whom wraps us up in unique images in their own inimitable way.
In his work Tribute (2022), Ugo Woatzi probes metaphors of clothing and textiles as markers of identity. The photographic self-portraits he prints on textile and presents as a piece of sculpture become a representation of the transformation and performance that are inextricably linked to the expression of gender identities. Identity is fluid, and we express this through our appearance and public persona. Self-expression has a big role to play in a society that is geared to the avoidance or even oppression of the gender spectrum, often at the level of the individual. In the same way, Aurélie Bayad & Günbike Erdemir embrace the eroticism of taboos and the ‘dirty’. In their search for a way of reconciling time and
physicality, they created Seasons of Desire (2023), a seasonal calendar in the form of a four-part series of scarves, printed with staged BDSM, ASMR and New Age fetish practices. The work can be purchased as an edition at reception.
Anthony Ngoya’s flag flies proudly outside de Brakke Grond building. Taking pictures from his personal family archive as his starting point, as well as found images from other media and collections, Ngoya investigates how memory and identity can be understood as experience. How can different material be layered to form painterly and photographic works of sculpture, in such a way that they become bearers of meaning for intergenerational emotions and the collective memory? The search for the collective memory is also contained in the work of Erien Withouck, but then on the basis of the nature that surrounds us. She started out as a photographer by conducting research into the potential of natural colourings as a way of creating images. In the same way the imprint of light creates a photographic portrait, she uses what naturally connects us to make an imprint of local ground, traditions and flora. In so doing, she goes beyond the boundaries of photographic processes, transforming their indexicality into different kinds of traces of meaning. For de Brakke Grond, she has created the new work Katteklauwen, Floederbomen en Gouden Knoopjes (2023): three woollen cloths, coloured with natural dyes from plants and herbs typical of the Low Countries, such as the leaves of black elder (Sambuus nigra), tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) flowers and the roots of catchweed (Galium alparine). She then embroidered a selection of the old Dutch and Flemish names for these plants (before they were standardised in 1905) onto this. She coloured the wool used for the embroidery with oak galls – the same recipe used to make ink for manuscripts in the Middle Ages.
Ugo Woatzi lives and works in Brussels. He is a queer visual artist with a background in sociology and contemporary photography who is engaged in exploring LGBTQI+ stories. His artistic research is geared to queer bodies and spatial utopias.Woatzi's practice encompasses image, audio, text, installations and is presented in dreamlike, collective spaces. His work has been exhibited in Bozar (BE), FOMU (BE), Cité des Arts La Réunion (FR), Antwerp Art Weekend (BE), Brussels Gallery Weekend (BE), Contretype (BE), Hazard Gallery (SA), FRAC La Réunion (FR), Breda Photo (NL), Camera Turin (IT).
Anthony Ngoya is a French artist who lives and works in Belgium and the Netherlands. He is currently a resident in De Ateliers in Amsterdam. Ngoya’s works centres around collective memory and emotional archives. He weaves strips of dyed textile and fragments of found images to form sculptural, draped assemblages and reverberating, colourful installations that question the boundaries of the painterly medium. Found everyday items underpin the sculptures he compiles as remnants of memory and recollection. The notion of an unconscious, intimate, universal memory is put through a stress-test.
Erien Withouck is a Belgian artist who lives and works in Brussels. In 2021, she was selected for the .tiff programme at FOMU Antwerp for the promotion of up-and-coming Belgian photography talent. In 2022, she received a development grant from the Flemish government for her research project ‘onkruid vergaat niet’ in which she explores stories, rituals and applications associated with plants on the basis of their old folk names. In 2023 she was invited by Shetland Arts in Scotland to develop a participatory process with local schools based around plant-based textile dyes. She was also given a piece of land by Leefmilieu Brussel and the Municipality of Vorst (Brussels) where she is allowing a 'playground' to grow up, populated by local plants used in children’s games. Withouck is also developing photographic, socio-artistic projects with Renée Lorie. In recent years they have collaborated with Brussels-based organisations such as Park Poétik, the Municipality of Sint-Gillis, Citizenne, GC de Maalbeek, as well as outside of Brussels for the Centre Culturel de Namur and Platform Kunst in Opdracht & Atelier Vlaams Bouwmeester.
Aurélie Bayad & Günbike Erdemir:
From the starting point of their existing friendship and shared interest in intimacy, eroticism and voyeurism, photographer Aurélie Bayad and artist Günbike Erdemir combined forces to make Seasons of Desire (2023), their first
Günbike Erdemir is a visual artist who lives and works between Brussels and Antwerp. Her drawing practice transcends the boundaries of paper and travels through various forms, materials and media. Eroticism, touch, relationships and company, power dynamics and intimacy are all concepts essential to her work. Erdemir investigates the ways in which
stories can be depicted: how is a story told, interpreted and memorised?
Aurélie Bayad lives and works in Antwerp. In her multifaceted artistic practice, she uses video, photography and performance to confront us with our chaotic, dirty thoughts. Bayad probes the desires of our hyperreal identities, painstakingly constructed to fulfil perfectly the new rules and expectations imposed by a digital world full of fake likes and darkweb erotica. She uses her camera and her own body, but also the bodies of others, in combination with subjective writings, to compose an aesthetic language of images appropriate to the new desires of today’s culture.
Please join us for the festive opening of Enveloped In You. In the presence of curator Zeynep Kubat and the artists we will toast to the exhibition.
8 September, 5 - 7 p.m.
From 9 September till 8 October, Enveloped In You can be visited for free, Tuesday till Sunday, from 12 - 5 p.m.. The exhibition is also open before and after our evening activities