As a consequence of the pandemic, only one edition of Brief Encounters could be scheduled for 2021. The edition in May had to be postponed till 2022 , the September edition presented three event sculptures, that indirectly addressed aspects related to Covid-19, although not all three of them were conceived as such.
Curators: Chris Driessen & Steven Vandervelden (director STUK and Playground, Louvain (BE))
Malin Bülow - En Caul (2021)
Malin Bülow (b. Sweden, 1979, lives and works in Oslo) mixes performance art and installation. In her elastic, contemporary works, she uses dancers clad head to toe in Lycra body stockings to create tension and movement throughout the designated space.
Specially for Brief Encounters, she conceived the work En Caul (birth inside an intact amniotic sac). “The installation I am planning for Brief Encounters is a textile wall, consisting of two sides made up of semi-transparent elastic Lycra attached to a stainless-steel skeleton that runs along one of the long avenues of beech trees. In cooperation with a number of dancers, I want to create a borderless zone where inside and outside merge and where the mutual porous membrane structure seems to dissolve as the performers press their bodies – skin, limbs, extremities and facial features – against the membrane in acts meant to create an overall meditative elongated landscape."
En Caul was made possible with extra financial support of the Norwegian Embassy in The Hague.
DAY Collective - Tête-a-Tête Triptych (2021)
DAY Collective is an artistic duo consisting of Dorota Radzimirska (PL, 1985) and Yulia Ratman (RU, 1988), both based in Amsterdam. Their works are conceptual and span multiple media, including performance, sculpture, drawing, video and photo pieces. DAY’s work deals with relations between people as well as between people and their environment in modern societies, characterised by lack of trust, categorisation, alienation, disconnection from nature and from ourselves.
Tête-a-Tête Triptych is a participatory performance, during which 5 participants and 2 artists (DAY Collective) converse through drawing on themselves, using their own skin as a medium for a dialogue. Means of communication: eco-cosmetic pencils. There is only one rule: no talking. Within Tête-à-Tête Triptych new modes of language, based on intuition, silence, imagination, and inclusion, unfold.
The performance is set up for three different contexts: online, art space and public space. At Brief Encounters ‘21 DAY finished their triptych with a performance in public space. Silence will prevail.
Tête-a-Tête Triptych was made possible with financial support of the Mondriaan Fund.
David Rickard - Exhaust (2011-2021)
Providing insight into invisible processes, such as the rotation of the Earth and gravity, is a recurring theme in the practice of David Rickard (b. NZ, 1975, lives in London). He has previously done this with air. Air is generally seen and experienced as weightless, but it is not. Depending on altitude, humidity and heat, the weight of air fluctuates a little, but at sea level it is generally around 1.255 kg per cubic metre. In his work A Roomful of Air (2019), Rickard used a pile of lead blocks to indicate the weight of air in a gallery. On the basis of the space’s dimensions and the average temperature of the room, he stacked blocks up to a weight of 788 kg of air. Rickard’s work often operates on the line between sculpture and performance and examines the spatial relationships between people, objects and our environment.
For Brief Encounters '21 Rickard performed the poetic and exhausting 24-hour work Exhaust (2011–2021) in a natural setting for the first time.
On Saturday 4 September at 4pm, the artist sat on a chair among the trees and ferns of De Oude Warande and, for a period of 24 hours, used an oxygen mask to collect all the air he exhaled in an ever-expanding installation of aluminium foil balloons. Depending on the moment when visitors entered the park, they found a differently sized silver tower piling up above and behind the artist and gently swaying in the wind. The balloons contain the air that is needed for our daily survival. According to scientists, adult males inhale and exhale roughly 11,000 litres of air a day. At the same time, the balloons literally show the space that we consume every day simply by living.