Meessen De Clercq, Brussels

For ART-O-RAMA 2017, Meessen De Clercq proposes a project that addresses the challenging power of intellectuals through an exploration of their medium par excellence, their writings. The written word has been of importance for the transmission of knowledge since centuries, and has only gained in importance with the passage of time. Even today, in a world where visual culture affirms its place, written messages still maintain their revolutionary potential. 

Jorge Méndez Blake (°1974) brings works referring to Marx, Beckett and Camus’ last – unfinished – novel with a neon work reproducing the two last words of the book: “SANS REVOLTE”. By installing a large dark velvet curtain separated into two sections, Méndez Blake pays attention to a theatrical device that opens and closes the spoken word, while referring by the title of the work to Samuel Beckett, who presented his readers with a constant reflexion on the human condition. In Das Kapital, the closure is made by a large brick wall, underneath which an edition of Das Kapital is placed. Made unreadable by a hand-made brick construction it offers a reflexion on the emancipatory possibilities of mankind.

French writer Marguerite Duras is central in two works by Thu Van Tran (°1979), which refers to the appearance and disappearance of texts, amongst others through censorship, with elements such as methylene blue and photogrammes. The inability to access writings and humanity’s resilience to it, is touched upon in a third work, where Thu Van Tran refers to literature lectured from memory by prisoners in German prison camps during World War II. 

In Fracturas, Nicolás Lamas (°1980) starts from a poem by Charles Baudelaire, translated time and again through Google translator, to end with three symbolic words. This disappearance of information is also present in different treatments of National Geographic magazines, where the artist sanded out the contents of an entire year of magazines or put next to each other two images by removing those pages that were viewed as layers of unnecessary information.

Establishing a relationship between ethics and aesthetics, these three artists explore questions asked by intellectuals and use their own visual language to shed a light on the issue of knowledge destruction in the context of contestation and social resistance.