CENTRALE for contemporary art presents BXL UNIVERSEL II : multipli.city

25.03 — 12.09.2021


In 2021, on the occasion of its 15th anniversary, CENTRALE celebrates its city, its artists and its inhabitants with the project BXL UNIVERSEL II: multipli.city.

More than an exhibition, this project is a forum/exhibition which takes the form of a patchwork of singularities and paths, through the proposals of artists who chose to live and work in Brussels–and the collaboration with non-profit organisations that are longtime active within the city. Questioning both the strata of cosmopolitan Brussels, and the co-inhabiting woven into it, the art centre extends to the public space and partner venues, opening its space to all for exchange and sharing around artistic and participative processes.

In 2016, CENTRALE presented BXL UNIVERSEL I: a subjective portrait on the occasion of its 10th anniversary. Whereas the first part of the exhibition started a few weeks after the terrorist attacks of March 2016, this second part of the trilogy will be marked by the pandemic, the lockdowns and the impact of the sanitary crisis on (cultural) life. These events both shed new light on our vision of the city and of the world.

For this second subjective portrayal of Brussels, the city as it is today is the starting point of this project. This city is multiple in multiple respects: cosmopolitan, multilingual, complex, diverse, multifarious. Not unlike other world capitals, it was hit hard by the pandemic at the moment when this ambitious project, eager to lift the veil on its polyphonic, polymorphic identity, was being conceived and constructed.

Whereas the earlier exhibition had questioned the division into high culture and popular culture, this second chapter underlines how art and culture reflect and make possible the multiple ways of being in the city and of being in the world. That is why BXL UNIVERSEL II: multipli.city questions the ways in which culture deals with today’s societal issues, through an articulation between the individual and the collective, between the local and the global.

Questions that are being posed are: how can we reflect the vibrant cultural life in Brussels in just one exhibition? How can we underline that BXL UNIVERSEL has become ‘BXL Pluriversel’? How can the work of art be considered when it is participatory? How can it echo diversities and intersections? How can we open up our art centre to all audiences? How can we arouse debate and dialogue in the long run?

These questions were being approached through the creation of a forum/exhibition: a mental and physical space which links the art centre with the city, the artists with the visitors, the Brussels organisations with their audiences. They are considered through the creation of an experience that underlines the fact that art creates bonds, acts as a link and that culture can extend to a social ethic. One can say that the process has been quite a challenge.

The idea of setting up a project on connection through communities seemed to be an almost impossible task while people were locked up at home. And yet, it produced a particularly rich debate: some of the tracks of thought were questioned, nuances were introduced to concepts such as diversity, multi- and interculturalism, identity, exoticism, …

With BXL UNIVERSEL II: multipli.city CENTRALE wishes more than ever to embody its role as the city’s art centre and to bring artists, partners and visitors together to celebrate its plurality.

This project also makes it possible to lay down the foundation for the third chapter of BXL UNIVERSEL which will offer a subjective gaze towards the (utopian) future of our worldcity in 2026, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of CENTRALE.

With: Younes Baba-Ali, Vincen Beeckman, Aleksandra Chaushova, Effi & Amir, Hadassah Emmerich, Pélagie Gbaguidi, Stephan Goldrajch, Sabrina Montiel-Soto, Anna Raimondo, Lázara Rosell Albear, Oussama Tabti ; BNA-BBOT, Zinneke, Globe Aroma, Kunstenpunt, Moussem, Maison des cultures et de la cohésion sociale de Molenbeek, etc.

BXL UNIVERSEL II : multipli.city
Curators: Carine Fol & Tania Nasielski

Opening weekend: 27 & 28.03.2021
Exhibition: 25.03 > 12.09.2021
Press conference: 24.03.2021, 11:00

CENTRALE for contemporary art
Place Sainte-Catherine 44, 1000 Brussels

Press kit

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