Vincent Meessen: Sire, je suis de l'ôtre pays

About this exhibition

Vincent Meessen’s artistic practice consists in producing narrative and discursive installations articulated round overlooked or forgotten documents. In their new spatial scenario, they raise certain paradoxes that haunt Western rationality. Each work is conceived as an experience of a given text, image, sign or sound, put to the test of the present.

In his WIELS exhibition Vincent Meessen proposes an expanded setting for One.Two.Three, the filmic, musical and performative installation created for the Belgian Pavilion at the latest Venice Biennial. Starting from an insurrectionary song written in May ‘68 this work reveals a unknown connection between the Situationist International and the Congo. One.Two.Three questions the historiography of modernity’s last international avant-garde, which upset so radically the prevailing view of the relationship between art, politics and everyday life. Through collaboration with young female musicians from Kinshasa, the rumba as a transcultural form serves as a vehicle for a meditation on emancipation, an undertaking that is fundamentally unresolved and condemned to repetition.

The title of this exhibition links One.Two.Three to a recent research project presented at WIELS for the first time. It takes as its point of departure the Situationist International’s unsuccessful plan to establish an experimental city on an uninhabited island off the coast of Italy. The sentence “Sire, I am from another country”, adapted by Meessen following the phonetic logic of Creole languages, echoes a founding text of the Situationist International, Ivan Chtcheglov’s 1953 “Formulary for a New Urbanism”. The very idea of the island offers the possibility of an adventure, proposing both a separation from the world and its possible re-creation.

Born in Baltimore (U.S.A.) in 1971, Vincent Meessen lives and works in Brussels.

Curator: Caroline Dumalin