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Project Palace, a centenary

Sandra Heremans & Maxime Jean-Baptiste

4 April 1922, Brussels Town Hall: The date when the Centre for Fine Arts (‘Palais des Beaux-Arts’) was officially launched. The judicial basis for the construction and the associated ambition of creating an arts centre had become a reality. The statutes that establish this historic moment are the starting point for centenary celebrations that begin with the Project Palace exhibition. Bozar, together with curator Wouter Davidts, has invited 9 artists and Auguste Orts to participate in the celebrations by producing new work that reflects on what an arts centre such as Bozar can and should be now and into the future.

Since the artists of Auguste Orts do not make up an artist’s collective but do act as a curatorial collective (Contour Biennale, Mechelen, 2023), they decided to take on the same role for Project Palace. They started out from a shared memory of the presentation of the video installation D’Est (1993) by Chantal Akerman, shown at the Centre for Fine Arts in 1995. As a tribute to Akerman, an artist they all admire, they chose her work In the Mirror (2007) for Project Palace. The video projection, an extract from Akerman’s 1971 film L’enfant aimé ou Je joue à être une femme mariée, shows a half-naked woman from the back while she inspects her body in the mirror.

In addition, Auguste Orts invited two artists to engage in a dialogue with Akerman’s work. Through correspondence, Sandra Heremans and Maxime Jean-Baptiste reflect on intimacy and protection today. Sandra Heremans made a short piece with Maxime Jean-Baptiste as a performer.

Image: Horta Hall, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels. Opening Exhibition, 4 May 1928 © Bozar Archives