Europalia Romania: Displacement and Togetherness

Vincent Meessen is part of the group exhibition Displacement and Togetherness in Cc Strombeek

18/10 – 12/12/2019

Cc Strombeek
Gemeenteplein 1
1853 Strombeek-Bever

This exhibition aims to bring together different historical and cultural perspectives on migration. Although this topic is widely present in contemporary art and mass media, the aim is to accommodate a viewpoint more strongly linked to past and current developments in Eastern Europe. In the framework of EUROPALIA and in the context of Belgium, where so many migratory flows converge, it is important to graft lesser-known local or national phenomena onto the global consciousness of migration.

On the occasion, Meessen will present his work Sons of Caïn made of two parts Images from the Sons of Caïn (After Henri Storck) and Words from the Sons of Caïn (After Alice Becker-Ho).

Plexi boxes reveal rare, unpublished and loose photographs of Romani people. All we know is that they were made in Eastern Europe in 1961 by the famous Belgian filmmaker Henri Storck, who traveled the Balkans along with the anthropologist Luc de Heusch and the artist and photographer Jan Yoors. At the time, the three of them were preparing the shooting of A la découverte des tsiganes, a very ambitious film project on Romani communities spread all over Europe. The aborted research project of the triumvirat becomes the artist’s ongoing research in various archives in Brussels and New York, in order to bring back those up-to-now secret and migrant images to the public.

Words from the Sons of Caïn, which is shown alongside these boxes, reveals the reframed pages of a book by Alice Becker-Ho that traces the Romani origin of many slang words, some of which have become part of everyday language (in French : vioc, tune, bistro, drogue, …). The chosen words point to an Indo-European « creolisation » in the sixteenth century and were spread throughout Europe by tramps and beggars.

The etymological reconstruction of the words is doubled by a constructive display of the elementary shapes (bar, curve, line, …) that make up the letters of the font Belgika, a collective, open source and shared typeface. It is developed by the artist in collaboration with the typographer Pierre Huyghebaert and with all future users of this nomadic and unfixed font.

Participating artists : Silvia Amancei & Bogdan Armanu, Filip Berte, Tudor Bratu, Andre Cadere, Jacques Charlier,Mekhitar Garabedian, Vincent Meessen, Christine Meisner, Jimmy Robert, Iulia Toma.

Displacement and Togetherness is curated by Magda Radu and Alexandra Croitoru (Salonul de proiecte, Bucharest), in collaboration with Luk Lambrecht and Lieze Eneman

More information on the website of Europalia Romania

and via Cultuurcentrum Strombeek