Lida Abdul / Roel Backaert / Vincen Beeckman / buren / Jana Cordenier / Marc Ghijsels / Binelde Hyrcan / Lola Lasurt / Ivo Provoost & Simona Denicolai / Grethell Rasúa / Dimitri Vangrunderbeek / Floris Vanhoof / acties Rik Moens


Impossible things don’t know they are impossible – W. Disney
Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere – A. Einstein

Surprise is an exhibition where the power of imagination stands central. The entire Netwerk building will be transformed in unusual ways with an adventurous parcour filled with much to see and do!
Thanks to its theme, Surprise is particularly attractive for young visitors of Netwerk, although the exhibition caters just as much to an adult audience as well.

The core of the exhibition is the imagination, the ability to envision something that is not physically present. The human imagination or fantasy enables “flexible” thinking. What arises from the imagination is automatically bestowed with great mental appeal. The displayed images speak directly. The content may seem simple, yet it often entails complex material.

1. Vincen Beeckman ° 1973
Bewoners van de maand (Residents of the month), 2014 – 2016

Kunst in de Wijk, an initiative of the City of Aalst, brings art to the streets to residents, passers-by and casual visitors. In 2014 Netwerk invited Vincen Beeckman for this art project near Aalst’s right bank. Beeckman has, through his socio-artistic projects, collaborated with multiple art centres, such as Recylart (Marolles, Brussels), where he gained a lot of experience in working with diverse communities.
As a photographer he wanted, Bewoners van de maand to include planned meetings with people from the local neighbourhood, where their portraits could be made as a means of expressing their unique individuality. Each month two new portraits were displayed for a period of three years. Everyone who lived in the neighbourhood could participate.

2. Netwerk Archive ° 1988

During the past 28-years a considerable number of works by artists has been acquired in the wake of exhibitions and collaborations. They can be interpreted as a steadily growing organic “constellation” of works, which are a tangible part of the memory and the identity of Netwerk.
Right from the first Netwerk exhibitions in the late 80’s it was the intention of the artistic program (when and where relevant) to conserve remnants of previous presentations and to give them a place in the framework of new exhibition cycles. The works may relate to other works, temporary interventions or to the theme of a new presentation. This practice has been a constant in the exhibition program over the years.

3. Dimitri Vangrunderbeek ° 1964
Unit(s), 2011

In his artistic research Dimitri Vangrunderbeek questions the transformation process between everyday objects and autonomous artworks and he examines how objects can relate to their environment.
In 2011, Unit(s) was part of an exhibition on the Seneffe estate. This estate consists of a neoclassical style castle from the 18th century and an English park of 22 hectares. The Seneffe Castle opens its doors for numerous events, from the most traditional to the most contemporary and even the avant-garde. Vangrunderbeek has a doctorate from RMIT University, Melbourne, with an end-presentation in Netwerk.

4. Grethell Rasúa ° 1983
De la permanencia y otras necesidades, 2015, video installation

The main artistic strategy of Rasúa is to infiltrate into different social milieus and interact with their inhabitants.
“We confront things without fear, loving at all costs could be a strategy for living with all those external antagonisms that cause us so much pain, saturation, reluctance. It is necessary to remain and try not to be defeated by that which we would not want to be. This piece is the result of decisions I’ve made as a way of life; It illustrates my attitude and I think of it as a reminder to pretend to face hurtful situations with my best intentions.”

5. Jana Cordenier ° 1989
Series Untitled, 2016

There is something incredibly original and innocent emanating from these works, which Jana Cordenier herself describes as “atmospheres”, which in their luminous thinness speak to the mind, experience, and intuition over reason.
Cordenier was looking for a way to soften the gravity of the literal touch with a brush, to coax a gentle glide to the hardness of the material, the paint, and bend the resistance she felt when entering the work into a soft immersion.
– Grete Simkuté

6. The Garden (Zahrada)
Martin Sulik, 1995, feature film, 99 ‘

The Garden is a visually stunning and absurd tale about the thirty-something, Jakub. His marriage relationship with Tereza is faltering; he is at odds with his father and he dislikes his job. He leaves for a few days in the countryside, to the deserted house of his grandfather, not suspecting that his stay in this intriguing, magical-realist garden will change his life…

7. Roel Backaert ° 1978
Pristina # 1, Poland # 1, Skopje # 1 Porto Torres # 1 Hong Kong # 3, Rome # 1, Moscow # 1 Hong Kong # 1, Low-Tech # 1 (Amsterdam), Montreal # 1 Hong Kong # 1 , Tcha-pej # 1, # 2 Rome, 2005 – 2016

In his work, Roel Backaert approaches buildings as individuals. In that sense, his photography is related more to portraiture, than with the genre of landscape. Occasionally a city or glimpse of nature is visible, but only as background. Unlike traditional portraits, in which the subject assumes a pose in the photos, Backaert’s buildings are captured during a moment of inattention: when no one else is noticing them, usually at night, and the architecture can unburden itself. Backaert’s photography shows architecture that is freed from the obligation to be of practical use, and briefly recaptures its autonomy.
– Hans Ibelings

8. Marc Ghijsels ° 1955
taketaketaketak, 2015

The artist has built a stunning collection of (adapted) objects trouvés, installations, assemblages and paintings; grubby curiosities at a first glance, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Visual jokes and frivolities alternate with serious and tragic subjects. Of the latter testifies the reference to the slaughter of World War I, which will open the exhibition. One finds a strong association with the Dada movement.
Notable is the affinity with L.P. Boon: a parallel career as a house painter, worker in the Safir brewery, student at the Academy of Aalst.
– Marc Vonck

9. Lola Lasurt ° 1983
Preparation for “Wit boven Zwart”, 2016

The Spanish Lola Lasurt engages in recent past events. She searches for productive ways to tackle the concept of “nostalgia” through critical analysis and being open when dealing with the past. Her work is based on a video of Aalst Carnival Parade in 1946, where the folklore group “Wit boven Zwart” appears. Lola is looking for people to re-enact the group’s presence in the next edition of the Aalst Carnival, and also shows her own interpretation of the phenomenon in the form of a handmade costume and oil paintings.
The folklore group “Wit boven Zwart” provided the entertainment in the procession n.a.v. Liberation Festivities. After the liberation of Bruges in 1944 such groups sprang up like mushrooms.
Thanks to Beeldbank Brugge (Bruges City Archive).
The costumes were made in cooperation with textile designer, Ana Maria Gómez.

10. Denicolai & Provoost ° 1972 ° 1974
hello, are we in the show? / constellation, 2014

Although the intentions of Denicolai & Provoost are clear – breaking open the entrenched codes of everyday life – the exact outcome of their interventions is not automatically established. With a contagious pleasure they jump back and forth between a fragile state of activist agitation and hardened scepticism with respect to the context within which their work enters.
The video installation Constellation is an intermediate stage of the film, hello, are we in the show? Upon the wall’s flat screen you can see a drawing of a swan animated in at least 200 drawings. Again and again, the swan comes to life, first swimming in nothingness, until the water is filled in. On the wall behind the screen 188 drawings or sketches of the Sonian Forest are projected. Corresponding to these drawings are soundscapes associated with this park’s everyday scenes: a bird lands on a snowy branch, a dog pants, a plane flies overhead, a fly passes by, something drips.
On the left wall is a screen with a slide show of 38 images. These are colour studies for the animated film, but also close-ups of Les Chasses de Maximilien (The Hunts of Maximilian). These twelve tapestries from the 16th century hang in the Louvre and are inspired by the Sonian Forest.

11. buren
And then what ?, 2016

“buren” is the name and the form in which Melissa Mabesoone (° 1988) and Oshin Albrecht (° 1986) work together. Their work involves the interrelated contexts of the feminine, the common, domesticity, sexuality, (artistic) work, pop music and neo-liberal fantasies. Their relationship to these contexts and positions is layered and ambiguous. Elements such as pleasure, identity, irony and criticism reinforce each other or weave fatally into each other. This is touched upon and articulated by the performative dimension of their work.
In late 2016 the collective will release the book, Confusion of tongues, published by Posture Editions.

12. Lida Abdul ° 1973
In transit, 2008 – film

Born in Afghanistan a few years before the Soviet invasion, Abdul lives and works in Los Angeles and Kabul. Abdul’s video work In transit features schoolchildren filling a military airplane’s voids with cotton, attaching ropes, and attempting to fly the airplane like a kite. In Abdul’s words: “It’s really a playful piece, a fantasy piece, with a group of kids who are playing with a very old Russian plane, that was leftover years ago. I was really struck by this piece Because it looks between a plane and a bird. It’s almost like a skeleton … “
The harsh reality of the destruction of war is counterpointed by the hope in the future represented by the children – the most innocent creatures. “I want to bring out the beauty of the tragic way in-which children face violent scenarios and show how They can be flexible in similar conditions withtheir innocence, by creating an antidote to the tragedy of Their condition.
– giorgiopersano gallery

13. Binelde Hyrcan ° 1980
Cambeck Voitures, 2013

Binelde Hyrcan grew up during the civil war in Angola. Many residents live below the poverty line and hope for a future in America or Brazil. In Cambeck Voitures we see four boys who imagine that they are touring around the world in a limousine. They transcend reality, if only for a short time. Their conversation about the imagined future is funny and touching, until you realise that it is based on total hopelessness. Also in light of the refugee crisis their dialogue is painfully relevant: the four boys are all firmly committed to exchange their deprived existence for the good life in Brazil, in America, in Italy.
– Source: Hacking Habitat, Utrecht, 2015 – 2016

14. Marc Ghijsels ° 1955
Haar Haar, 2013

See No. 8

15. Rik Moens ° 1969
Hyporhythm of primal consent no. 1, 2016

Upon the opening as well as the las Saturday (on 17.12.2016) the public is invited to bring along an object. After Moens’ minimal intervention on the object, the guests themself can “position” it within the landscape.

16. Floris Vanhoof ° 1982
Bug Sounds Vinyl Canyon, 2016, in collaboration with Werktank

Floris Vanhoof explores perceptions and ways to create new images with old media. Through connecting one medium to another (sometimes incompatible?) medium, he attempts to make his own translations of sound into image and vice versa.
He is not so much intending to impose his own vision or idea, but is curious about what reactions the installation induces upon the viewer. Which (new) perspective one gains?
The installation in Surprise originated from experimenting with pieces of transparent LP vinyl in a slide projector and using a tusk of a beetle as a needle of a record player. In search of the primitive form of sound waves a microscope zooms in on the LP. A rotating wheel is then used to animate the patterns of wavy record grooves into flickering new image-rhythms. While our visual perception is overloaded, the tusk of the beetle makes for interesting distortions of the soundtrack.
These repetitive sounds are recorded in their, turn on limited edition vinyl.
Thanks to Werktank and Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren.

17. Yves Vanpevenaege ° 1959
The Tower of Babel, 2016, in collaboration with Don Bosco, Aalst and Vrije Basisschool, Meldert

During seven workshops with children, Yves Vanpevenaege worked with the theme of Philip Metten’s work: the fascinating borderline between architecture and sculpture, space and shape, where the installation serves as a meeting place where conversations occur around the concepts of identity and diversity.
Each individual piece created by the participants in the workshops served as a module of a larger whole, The Tower of Babel. Building the tower was a long process. It was a challenge to motivate the children to participate in a process whose end result was not immediately apparent.
Because of the great cultural and social differences between the participating groups, The Tower of Babel also symbolises the problems, which may arise in any partnership. The project offers the opportunity to talk in groups about current cultural models and conflicts.

18. Le Ballon Rouge
Albert Lamorisse, 1956, 36 ‘

Paris in the 1950’s. A little boy finds a red balloon firmly attached to a lamppost and loosens it. To the surprise of local residents, the magical balloon continues to follow the little boy through the streets of Paris. The tension increases when a gang of jealous boys pursue them…

Surprise was made with special thanks to Jorge Fernández Torrez (CU), giorgiopersano gallery (IT) Wertank, Stadsarchief Brugge (Beeldbank Brugge) and the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren.