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22 Apr 2010

Argos Centre for Art and Media presents Andrea Geyer, Angel Vergara & Alexander Kluge

Andrea Geyer, Spiral Lands/Chapter 2, 2008. Courtesy of the Artist.
Angel Vergara, Monday: Firework; Tuesday: Illuminations; Wednesday: Revolution, 2010. Photography LB. Courtesy of the Artist.

Argos Centre for Art and Media


Sat 24 April 2010 - 18.00 - 21.00 Exhibition runs from:
27.04.2010 – 19.06.2010 Closing Party:
Sat 19 June - 18.00 - 21.00


+32 / 2 / 229 00 03
+32 / 2 / 223 73 31

Argos Centre for Art and Media
Werfstraat 13 rue du Chantier
1000 Brussels

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Spiral Lands writes an extensive photographic and textual historiography, drawing out the implications of land and identity in personal experience, traditions, history and ideology to examine critically how these implications frame and determine our (mis)understanding of identity and the contemporary U.S.A today. Taking the context of the Navajo Nation and the surrounding Pueblos (the American Southwest) as an example, the project works itself non-linearly through different aspects of the historic encounters of first European settlers, then Euro-Americans, with this land and its people. Not stopping in the past but engaging the present moment, Andrea Geyer (1971) looks critically at records, documents, stories, drawings, and photography that construct the complex history of North America and the identity of its people.
Spiral Lands/Chapter 1 consists of a series of 17 photographic diptychs and 2 triptychs each framed with a text written by Geyer. The text interweaves quotes and historic documents with the voice of a traveller and photographer exploring the Southwest. Chapter 1 investigates the role of photography in the ongoing appropriation of indigenous lands by revealing the scopic regimes that this medium brought and brings with it.
Spiral Lands/Chapter 2 takes the form of a slide projection piece with a voiceover. This chapter focuses on the role of ?the scholar’ or ?the researcher’ who for 150 years has fostered an ongoing fascination with the American Southwest. Addressing the western concept of ?landscape’ Geyer is pointing to the fact that visualization is and has been always a sophisticated ideological device, revealing as much of what stands behind the camera as what is found in front.
Spiral Lands/Chapter 3 is a collaboration with Simon J. Ortiz, a writer and a professor of Indigenous literature. An ongoing project, Chapter 3 is a document of a dialogue between two people, between text and image, photography and poetry, in which each element independently reaches out to the other.


In Angel Vergara’s work, objects often make way for current political affairs, the economic situation and events in society. His work is based on everyday life, into which he then injects his art. It is precisely in this intermediate space that Vergara (1958) puts incisive and often playful questions about both ?the world’ and ?the art world’.
The exhibition Monday: Firework; Tuesday: Illuminations; Wednesday: Revolution concentrates on history, and more especially on the early days of the Belgian monarchy and its cultural, social-political and economic context. The title of the exhibition derives from an anonymous poster that circulated in Brussels in the days preceding the Belgian Revolution in 1830 – a slogan-like message that appeared to be announcing a show of some sort. Vergara makes use of this historical ?reality’ for a reflection in which historical facts intersect with fictional elements and personal thoughts. The exhibition circuit is conceived as a whole, and the artist called it ?an anti-painting of history’. This is precisely why we see such historical figures as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Leopold I and the painters Gustaaf Wappers and Antoine Wiertz, in addition to contemporary figures. While questioning Belgian cultural identity, Vergara employs the accepted national ?history’ as a launch pad for an exposition in the form of a dialogue with today’s Europe.
That means this exhibition is not by any means an instructive circuit, rather a subjective topography. Vergara’s mental exercise on autonomy, the sense of community and personal freedom – on the genesis and existence of an identity and a nation – is related to the artist’s position in society.


The German film director, philosopher and writer Alexander Kluge (1932) has made dozens of films, produced a great many television programmes and received the Büchner-Preis for his literary work. He is one of the most innovative and intellectual heavyweights of contemporary German cinema, and his work builds on the ?history’ of the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries, with a particular focus on his own country. His inter-media works interweave a wide range of eclectic references – from opera through cinema to strip cartoons and extracts from advertisements. All this together marks out lines of critical and often ironic thought that balance between representation, ?history’ and fantasy.
This programme comprises five works from the last 15 years that illustrate a handful of Kluge’s views. The programme ranges from highly condensed found footage (excerpts from television programmes in Minutenfilme), through a questioning of the representative value of historical documents (Ich war Hitlers bodyguard) to a bittersweet portrait of doing business in a global market (Der flexible Unternehmer). While tacking between fact and fiction, analysis and pastiche, Kluge constantly raises critical but never unambiguous questions about the topics he examines.