Chapter 1: “Scripted Truths”

with:
Ricardo Brey  
Fia Cielen  
Benjamin Husson  
Felix Kindermann  
Philippe Koeune  
Shana Moulton
Isabel Tesfazghi
Lou Touchard
Filip Vervaet

installation view “Scripted Truths” 2020:  Filip Vervaet Philippe KoeuneFia Cielen,(back wall) Filip VervaetRicardo Brey, Cube of the Unknowm (centre). photo Fabrice Schneider
installation view “Scripted Truths” 2020Benjamin HussonFilip VervaetPhilippe Koeune. photo Fabrice Schneider
installation view “Scripted Truths” 2020Filip Vervaet , Ricardo Brey, Isabel TesfazghiBenjamin Husson. photo Fabrice Schneider
installation view “Scripted Truths” 2020: Isabel Tesfazghi, Shana Moulton, Benjamin Husson. Felix Kindermann. photo Fabrice Schneider
installation view “Scripted Truths” 2020Felix KindermannBenjamin Husson. photo Fabrice Schneider
installation view “Scripted Truths” 2020: Benjamin HussonIsabel Tesfazghi. photo Fabrice Schneider
installation view “Scripted Truths” 2020: The Temple bar, Benjamin HussonPhilippe Koeune. photo Fabrice Schneider
Welcome to The Agprognostic Temple, a nomadic art space that aims to show- case art in new and unexpected ways and to probe the spiritual, the unknown and the ungraspable in current artistic practice. For more detailed information about the philosophy behind this Temple, you can read our manifesto on our website www.agprognostictemple.com 
The inaugural exhibition, called Scripted Truths, unites artists working around the theme of spirituality, esotericism, and personal mythology. 
Before we start this tour, we would like to ask you to read our 10 commandments carefully. 
Once you finished reading, you can proceed to the entrance of the Temple, where a sculpture of several ears by Felix Kindermann (°1978, Germany) awaits the visitor. Communication is an important theme in Kindermann’s practice and recurs in differ- ent variations. The work he presents at the Temple still shows traces of its creation process, as if the moment of the bronze casting is frozen in time, revealing the pour- ing channels. That leads to several possible interpretations, from the uncanny to the sacred. 
The sound piece you are hearing is a specially commissioned composition by the (audio) artist Lou Touchard (°1993, France). With this abstract, ethereal sound piece, Touchard creates on the one hand a dark, menacing mood, on the other moments of introspection and contemplation. 
At both sides of the entrance, you can see snake sculptures by Benjamin Husson (°1986, France) almost like guardian angels of the Temple. These are hybrids, a mix of different animals parts. Hybridisation is a recurring element in Husson’s practice, in which he combines various art historical and cultural influences, materials, techniques and crafts, almost like an alchemist, into idiosyncratic sculptures. Alternating between the delicate touch of a jeweller and the brutal force of a blacksmith, Husson combines bronze and copper with more organic and precious materials like fish skin or dead wasps that – as a process of petrifaction – take on a new life. That is also the case with the incensory he specially made for the Temple, for which he fuses differ- ent – animalistic – elements from western and non-western civilizations. 
The psychedelic, almost hallucinating sculptures of Filip Vervaet (°1977, Belgium) seem to come from another world, though it is not clear whether that is from the past or the future. Vervaet combines visual elements of extinct civilizations with allusions to science fiction to provide a glimpse of another reality, the subconscious and the supernatural. This is also the case with Waiting for the Sun (2019), the sculpted exotic scenery he presents behind a dichroic coated filter, creating a changing visual perception and shadow play. That motive also recurs in the artist’s other works on view, both from The Dubai Series (2016), bronzes in which he renders a palm tree in different phases of its creation process, the traces of his hands evoking, in an almost primal way, the origins of sculpture. 
Philippe Koeune (°1975, Luxemburg) is not only a designer and visual artist, but also a Tarot de Marseille (TdM) card reader. On the wall of the Temple, he renders 132 cards – which include the 78 TdM cards – as a symbolic cartography of human existence. The drawings he shows outside the Temple, next to the bar, can be regarded as the after- maths of the cards inside the Temple, the latter acting as a matrix. In these drawings, he rubbed a reproduction of a major arcana card on the paper, leaving an imprint or palimpsest, as a symbolic lead from another world. On September 19, Koeune will perform a card reading in the Temple 
Fia Cielen (°1978, Belgium), whose practice is impregnated by the occult, also works around a game. The triptych Three Kings Ritual (2017) refers to a 19th century game in which people would sit in a dark room with mirrors and candles, trying to reach a form of self-hypnoses. It was a way of trying to enter another reality, a world between being asleep and being awake, leading the way to hallucinations, visions and mes- sages from the unconscious. For Cielen, these works are drawings without the use of a pencil. In doing so, they evoke a spiritualist session. 
In the middle of the Temple you can see a black cube, the so-called Cube of the Unknown. The cube contains a sculpture by Ricardo Brey (°1955, Cuba) that will only be revealed on the last day of the exhibition (September 27). The photo-based collage at your right side is also by Brey. It is a picture of an old tree in Havana that has been charred. More than an act of ecological vandalism, it refers to the economic hard- ship during the so-called periodico especial, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, during which people were ransacking the streets for anything they could use to warm themselves. By adding various elements to the photograph, in an almost sha- manic way, Brey gives the burned tree trunk – the tree of life – new energy through an act of repairing and healing. Brey’s work is impregnated by Afro-Cuban traditions, rooted in animism and a holistic vision of the world. 
The German-Eritrean artist Isabel Tesfazghi (°1985, Germany) makes sculptural, three-dimensional works using textile, sometimes combined with video, sound, light and performance. She is currently living in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), where she is studying centuries-old local traditions of art making. In her colourful, abstract woven and embroidered fabrics, Tesfazghi appropriates tribal patterns and symbols, mixing ancient rituals with elements of (Afro) futurism. 
In the videos by Shana Moulton (°1976, US), a character – played by the artist her- self – is on a quest for self-improvement, looking for meaning in a consumer-driven culture, trying to fill in the existential emptiness that the wellness and mindfulness industry are all too eager to provide. In the video The Undiscovered Drawer (2013), the protagonist is looking for a key to leave her room. Is it a – metaphorical – key to the understanding of life? Or rather the key to the Cube of the Unknown? 

Sam Steverlynck