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

Exhibitionary

Screening

15 July 2021, 18.30-20.00

Fragments of Repair/Gathering VI: Invisible Bridges

A public program realized in the framework of the multi-part project Fragments of Repair

Taking place on Thursday 15 July 2021, the sixth gathering of Fragments of Repair/Gatherings, consists of a screening of artist Kader Attia’s Reason’s Oxymorons (2015) and a conversation between Kader Attia (Berlin) and Stefania Pandolfo (medical anthropologist, Berkeley, CA).

Screening

24 June 2021, 17.30-20.00

Fragments of Repair/Gathering V: The Object’s Interlacing

A public program realized in the framework of the multi-part project Fragments of Repair

Taking place on Thursday 24 June 2021, the fifth gathering of Fragments of Repair/Gatherings, consists of a screening of artist Kader Attia’s The Object’s Interlacing (2020), followed by a conversation between Souleymane Bachir Diagne (philosopher New York/Dakar) and Wayne Modest (material culture curator and researcher, Amsterdam/Rotterdam).

Education Program

21 June, 19.00–7 July, 21.00 2021

Course: Art as Politics

An Online Extension of BAK Public Studies

A new edition of the online course Art as Politics, taking place on the following dates: 21, 23, 28 and 30 June & 5 and 7 July 2021. The course, taught by BAK’s Maria Hlavajova, brings those involved and/or interested in art, theory, and social action into collective conversation.