James Lee Byars
Joris Van de Moortel
Welcome to The Agprognostic Temple, a nomadic art space/ curatorial Gesamtkunstwerk founded by Dome Wood and Sam Steverlynck that aims to probe the spiritual and the unknown in current artistic practice. Chapter 3: Mirrored Infinities, is conceived as a ‘mirror exhibition’ with works that make reference to those in Chapter 1: Scripted Truths, be it through subject matter or medium, or by simply mirroring each other. Before we start this Journey into the Unknown, we invite you to have a look in the mirror by Eric Croes (°1978, Belgium) and ask yourself: Who am I?
After this brief moment of introspection, you can proceed to the fountain by McCloud Zicmuse (°1973, US). It is a place for a symbolical ritual cleansing, before you enter the sacred ground of the Temple. Two snakes by Sanam Khatibi (°1979, Iran) function as guardian angles or Jungian archetypes, and they will guide your steps.
The drawings of Oraura (°1983, Belgium) infer to the connection between the body and the cosmos. While making these works, the artist manages to translate her inner energy and auric fields – and sometimes those of others – into a grid of geometric forms in various colours on paper.
The incensory is another contribution by McCloud Zicmuse, an offering to the unknown God.
Though part of a larger series, both paintings on view by Antoine Waterkeyn (°1991, Belgium) also evoke the idea of pairing. The artist rendered a series of tarot cards with their archetypical iconography in his own idiosyncratic way, one that veers towards an almost psychedelic form of abstraction. Waterkeyn’s quest is pictorial, rather than spiritual, as he considers tarot to be a form of manipulation of truth, leading to self-fulfilling prophecies.
Julien Saudubray (°1985, France) makes mainly abstract work that seems to aim for a point zero in drawing and painting. His drawings, which at times seem to evoke mineral or floral elements, vibrate with energy and invite the spectator for a moment of meditation.
Combining painting, sculpture, multi-media installations and performance, Joris Van de Moortel (°1983, Belgium) draws inspiration from art historical motives which he re-energises with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude. Props from his performances are ofte re-integrated in his sculptures or installations. Made specially for the exhibition, the artist presents a new work with different panels, which functions almost like a pagan altar piece. Whilst the central panel evokes the Ship of Fools allegory, the left and right one refer to earlier performances around the seven elements and sacraments. On June 13, at 3:33 pm, Van de Moortel will carry out a performance called The Destruction of the Temple.
In the middle of the Temple, you can observe The Cube of The Unknown, a mysterious black box that contains an artwork that will only be revealed on the last day of the exhibition, on May 15 at 3:33 pm, during a special performance. The cube contains two works by James Lee Byars (°1932, US), an artist who developed his own highly distinctive visual language and private mythology. The works in question resonate strongly with some of the symbols that also recur in The Agprognostic Temple’s universe. On May 15, the works will be released from the cube and be showcased for a couple of hours only, in what now is an empty vitrine.
Laurie Charles (°1987, Belgium) eleborates on the idea of mirroring in her new paintings on textile. Often working around the body and healing, Charles presents two drawings of the shape of her body. For these, she combined two completely different forms of body mapping: from the medieval idea of the body as a map, tracing a territory to healing body therapies. In one work, thus she puts healing symbols in the place of the organs that are linked with trauma, as a way to exorcise illness and pain. In the other, which functions as a psychedelic double, the organs and healing elements are no longer situated inside the body but float outside, creating a connection with the outside world, the wider cosmos.
Eric Croes’ sculptures express a personal visual language with glimpses into ancient civilisations, both western and non-western, where high art and low culture coincide. Some of his sculptures almost look like totems from ancient or forgotten tribes. The bronze sculpture Le Témoin (2020) was initialy realised for an exhibition in which he evoked the seven deadly sins. This work was his eighth contribution, one that can be seen as a kind of self-portrait or guardian angle of the seven sins. The exit to the Temple, which evokes a Japanese-style Temple with delicate woordwork, is also by Croes.
In her video The Medical Babylon Complex (2017), Serene Blumenthal (°1989, US) reimagines the demonic Biblical figure Lilith and the ancient goddess Ishtar as ghosts of trauma, to evoke the pharmaceutical and beauty industry. This video is a response to the abhorrent practices that have been performed on women’s bodies throughout history.
Our Journey ends with This Incomplete Work (2018) by Joris Van de Moortel. The Journey might be completed, the world is not. It is upon each of us to cut the rough gem into a shining diamond.