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Lambert Crickxstraat 30
1070 Brussels, Belgium

L'Histoire Belge

Sven Augustijnen

10 offset prints on paper, framed, 2007

An elegant and authoritative grid, Sven Augustijnen’s L’Histoire Belge is a shift of the artist’s filmic vocabulary towards simpler means of photography and text, as he attempts simultaneously to assert and to spoil the grand narrative of the history of Belgian rule in ten concise chapters. We confront two rows of five walnut framed paper panels, each juxtaposing two documentary photographs of artefacts with a droll caption. Their titles are less than revealing: A FINE ENSEMBLE, EMPRESS CHARLOTTE, CALUMNIOUS RUMOURS, INTERNECENE STRUGGLE, A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE, THE ABDICATION, THE KINGS OF JERUZALEM, THE WHITE ROSES, THE UNITED STATES OF BELGIUM, and finally THE ROYAL CRYPTS – a name and a nod to the cryptic nature of historical information Augustijnen always deploys. However straightforward the photographs and the accounts – each detailing the machinations of Belgian royalty from the crusades to the just past – an air of unfinished business, unresolved rumors, innuendo, intrigue and other open questions contaminates the benign tone of orderly museumified truth. Executed in a year when the modern country of Belgium was, for the most part, without a government, this Belgian History offers the long view of what could be called the softest state of anarchy in Europe.
(Monika Szewczyk)

L'Histoire Belge has been on display at the following locations:

MuZEE Oostende, (BE) Jul 4 2015–Jan 3 2016 CAPC musée d'art contemporain Bordeaux, (FR) Jan 22–Apr 12 2015 MuZEE Oostende, (BE) Dec 14 2013–Jul 13 2014 Jiao Tong University Shanghai, (CN) Oct 28–Nov 3 2013 Kunsthalle, Basel Basel, (CH) Jun 27–Aug 30 2009 PMMK Oostende, (BE) Sep 27–Dec 15 2008 Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart Stuttgart, (DE) May 30–Aug 3 2008 Jan Mot Brussels, (BE) Nov 8–Dec 23 2007