Exhibition

04 January 2009–19 October 2008

Brussels  

Once is Nothing

Once is Nothing, 2008, Brussels Biennial 1, installation view. Photo: Josef Dabernig

From 19 October 2008 until 4 January 2009, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven present the collaborative project Once is Nothing at the inaugural Brussels Biennial, founded in 2007 by artistic director Barbara Vanderlinden. The opening of the Brussels Biennial 1 takes place on Sunday 19 October at 11.00 hrs at the Post Sorting Center, Avenue Fonsnylaan 48, 1060 Brussels.

In an attempt to reorient the tired model of biennial exhibitions, artistic director Vanderlinden invited a selection of experimental art institutions from the region of “Eurocore” (Rem Koolhaas), spanning through the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany, to develop exhibitions rethinking the notion of modernity in the globalized world.

The joint project by BAK and Van Abbemuseum titled Once is Nothing responds to this framework by revisiting an exhibition on the subject of “global modernity” from another biennial: Individual Systems, curated by Igor Zabel at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. This precise curatorial statement, articulated from the perspective of the beginning of the twenty-first century, is partially reconstructed in Once is Nothing through an interpretation of the exhibition’s architecture by artist Josef Dabernig, who designed the original plan for Venice. As such, it allows the void in its midst to speak for the works of art absent in a physical sense. This absence serves as both recognition that repetition is impossible and undermines the demand for endless innovation found in most art biennials. The project is an attempt to create a pause in the flow of art production and its consumption. In place of works, Once is Nothing presents a tangible experience of the building, the view out of the windows at the city’s modernist past, a reference book with pictures and texts about both shows available for visitors to take away, and a new work by Belgian artist Patrick Corillon. The visitors are invited to engage with questions of exhibition making, institutional responsibility versus biennial culture, continuity, and memory and above all, with the key element of empowerment that art has on offer, imagination.

Artists: Victor Alimpiev & Marian Zhunin, Paweł Althamer, Art & Language, Josef Dabernig, IRWIN (Dusan Mandic, Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek, Borut Vogelnik), Luisa Lambri, Yuri Leiderman, Andrei Monastyrski, Pavel Mrkus, Roman Opalka, Marko Peljhan, Florian Pumhösl, Simon Starling, Mladen Stilinovic, and Nahum Tevet, with architecture by Josef Dabernig and a new work by Patrick Corillon.

The project is realized in memory of Igor Zabel.

Publications

Book
Once is Nothing. Individual Systems

In collaboration with

Suggestions from the archive

Education Program

23 September–28 October 2019

Course: Art and Politics (BAK Public Studies)

From 23 September until 28 October 2019, BAK organizes the course “Art and Politics.” In six weekly sessions, the participants learn about how contemporary art relates to the political in an accessible way. The course is taught by Maria Hlavajova, BAK’s general and artistic director. Deadline for registrations: 17 September 2019.

Education Program

8-29 October 2019

Course: Instituting Otherwise (BAK Public Studies)

Part of BAK Public Studies, the course Instituting Otherwise, which takes place at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht from 8–29 October 2019, focuses on the possibilities of the (art) institution within and in spite of the current political predicament. The course is taught by Maria Hlavajova, BAK general and artistic director. Deadline for registrations: 2 October 2019.

Education Program

14 December 2018

Mapping Histories: Conversing on Visuality and Subalternity

workshop by Lisa Ito

On 14 December 2018 art historian and activist Lisa Ito gives a workshop “Mapping Histories: Conversing on Visuality and Subalternity” as part of the Royal Academy of Art Non Linear Narrative master’s program. The workshop is held at BAK in the framework of Propositions #7: Evidentiary Methods—the public program in the context of the exhibition Forensic Justice.