Ann Veronica Janssens and Michel François at La Verrière
With a sly nod to recent news from space, Philaetchouri is an exhibition in situ by two leading artists on the international contemporary scene. Ann Veronica Janssens and Michel François created the work in response to an invitation from Guillaume Désanges, curator of the Foundation's art space La Verrière, in Brussels.
A tarmac floor supports a monumental form in crumpled, corrugated aluminium. Waterlogged 'pot holes' reflect the sky above: La Verrière is the setting for a new installation devised and created in situ by artists Ann Veronica Janssens and Michel François, working together for the first time since 1999 (when they represented their home country of Belgium at the 48th Venice Biennale) at the invitation of curator Guillaume Désanges. The show is the latest in the gallery's current season, Gesture, and thought.
Philaetchouri is the outcome of an unorthodox creative process, on two counts. First, the two-person exhibition is the product of a three-way conversation; the artists asked Désanges to draw up a memorandum of intent for the show, and the curator responded with a long letter tracing a number of 'desire paths' as guidelines for reflection. The letter elucidated the 'tension points' in their respective works, together with the issues they address from often complementary perspectives, confirming the value and pertinence of this new joint project. Second, the exchange resulted in an open, wide-ranging list of potential projects, drawn up by Janssens and François, leading directly to the present exhibition. Winding our way along La Verrière's tarmac-covered floor, we sense the scale and subtlety of this artistic reunion. The accompanying project notes – delicate installations, utopian dreams and conceptual statements of intent – are, perhaps, a knowing nod to the defining principle of the Box-in-a-suitcase by Marcel Duchamp, the presiding genius of La Verrière's Gesture, and thought series.