OCA hosts Belgian artist Sven Augustijnen within the International Studio Programme and OCA’s residency at the Munch Estate at Ekely, Oslo throughout September 2011. Augustijnen (b.1970 in Mechelen, Belgium, lives and works in Brussels, Belgium) is an artist and film-maker who, according to writer T.J. Demos, has elaborated a 'longstanding deconstruction of documentarism wherein the object is not to record speech as a transparent medium of reality, but instead to investigate how his subjects construct one version of reality, rather than revealing some faithful transcription of a social and political truth'. Augustijnen seeks to enact a paradigm shift in terms of the history of cultural representations of power by exploring the specificity of familiar places usually located in or associated to the history of Brussels. Renowned as a subtle chronicler of the city, Augustijnen recently premiered Spectres (2010), his first feature film, which establishes a link between the city of Brussels, its current role as administrative capital of Europe and its country’s colonial past.
About the artist
Sven Augustijnen studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium; the Hoger Sint-Lukas Instituut in Brussels, and at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht, the Netherlands. His films have been included in exhibitions and festivals in Athens, Greece; Basel and Fribourg, Switzerland; San Sebastián, Spain; Siegen, Germany; Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Tunis, Tunisia; Tel Aviv, Israel; Tokyo, Japan and Vilnius, Lithuania, among others. In 2007 he participated in the documenta 12 magazines project, in collaboration with A Prior, and in 2011 he was awarded the Evens Prize for Visual Arts.
Wednesday 21 September, 19:00
Spectres (2010), 120 min
On 21 September at 19:00, OCA screens Augustijnen’s first feature film, Spectres (2010), introduced by the artist. Spectres takes as its subject the haunting of Belgium by the traumatic memory of the country’s colonial past in the Congo. The film focuses on 1960–61, during the process of Congolese independence, when Belgium, under King Baudouin I, granted a nominal sovereignty to its former colonial possession but refused to surrender political and economic control of it, leading to disastrous results. In the film, Augustijnen also explores the wider history of Belgium’s colonisation of the Congo, beginning with King Leopold II forcibly taking possession of the African country and creating the Congo Free State in 1884, before international pressure obliged him to make it Belgian property in 1908. The film also recalls the events that lead to the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Congo's first democratically elected Prime Minister, on 17 January 1961. Spectres won the Public Libraries Prize and GNCR Prize and received a special mention from the jury of the International Competition at FID Marseille (FR) in July 2011.
For more information on the screening at OCA, please contact Asle Olsen.
More on Augustijnen's films at UKS
Thursday 22 September, 19:00
On 22 September at 19:00, UKS, in an institutional cooperation with OCA, screens the following films by Augustijnen:
L’École des Pickpockets (2000, 48 min) which unfolds as kind of documentary around two professional pick-pockets who give a master-class in their craft.
Le Guide du Parc (2001, 44 min), a film centred on one individual, a middle-aged businessman who incessantly speaks into the camera in a guided tour through a park located in the centre of Brussels. He brings the viewers' attention to the instruction inscribed on the palace wall that informs in detail of how it is possible to sexually solicit another individual in the park, and the film proceeds according to this narrative.
Une Femme Entreprenante (2005, 72 min), a film that documents how a museum for contemporary art is literally talked into existence. The film follows the accounts of several people as they meet to speak about plans for the development of a contemporary art centre on the site of a disused and more or less derelict brewery in Brussels. The central figure in the story is a real estate developer who has decided to support the plans for the redevelopment of the brewery into a place for art. A story evolves around the evolving inclusion of other characters: advisers, wealthy patrons and art professionals who convene at the site, standing upon its ruins and projecting its future.
For more information on the screening at UKS, please contact Lars Cuzner.
OCA’s International Studio Programme
The International Studio Programme Oslo is available for international artists and curators by invitation for a stay from two weeks up to six months, independently or in connection with research in Norway.
OCA would like to thank Kunstnernes Hus for the lending of technical equipment.