Saâdane Afif: Paroles


Listen to all recorded jam sessions on!

About this exhibition

Saâdane Afif creates artworks that enable him to involve other people in his artistic practice. He explores the processes of translation and interpretation that are inherent in any encounter with a work of art, as – according to Marcel Duchamp – “it is the beholder who makes the work of art.”

Afif employs popular forms of culture, such as music, as a tool to bring people together in a moment of shared creativity. His work takes many forms (performance, objects, sculptures, text, posters…), often using the moment of exhibition as an occasion for production. The exhibition Paroles presents an overview of his work of the past 15 years. Since 2004, he has been commissioning writers and artists to create lyrics inspired by his artworks, which are then exhibited alongside them. These lyrics have become key material for Afif, central to the evolution of his practice.

On the occasion of this exhibition, a book, also titled Paroles, is published by WIELS featuring more than 150 lyrics written to date. The exhibition itself presents an overview of his process and a selection of projects from which lyrics have been generated. These range from a coffin in the form of the Centre Pompidou (Anthologie de l’humour noir, 2010) to an installation of electric guitars automatically playing a series of chords (Black Chords, 2006).

At the heart of the exhibition, a music studio is installed, complete with instruments. You are invited to come and play music here, to take part in jam sessions under the guidance of a studio master. The only rule is that you must use the lyrics contained in Afif’s songbook Paroles as the inspiration for your musical interpretations.

Free, reservation obligatory* (Children from 12 years). The calendar of jam sessions is currently fully booked. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please don’t hesitate to email us at

*NB: Access to the exhibition is only free for those taking part in jam sessions.

Saâdane Afif was born in 1970 in Vendôme (France). He lives and works in Berlin.

Curator: Zoë Gray

With the support of:
Xavier Hufkens, Brussels
Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin
mor charpentier, Paris
Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen
Institut français and the French Embassy in Belgium in the framework of  EXTRA 
smARTplaces, co-funded by Creative Europe, Programme of the European Union