A project by Michel Van Dyck in collaboration with
Isabelle Anspach, curator of the Van Buuren Museum.
In September 2016, Michel Van Dyck gathered at the Van Buuren Museum his two passions, gardens and contemporary art. He then proposed “As if nothing had happened”, an exhibition for which he had hoped that the works of the guest artists would blend into the Museum as if they had always been there. Outputs of the white cube of the galleries, they sneaked up on this wonderful place not used to contemporary art. It was as if they were trying to accustom the place to their presence, as if they were trying to tame it, while letting these unusual spaces act on them. The visitor was invited on a sort of treasure hunt that led him from one work to another, almost at random during his walk.
The new edition of the event extends the principle but accentuates it differently. It gives him other perspectives. Michel Van Dyck called it “Present” and it is undoubtedly necessary to grasp the word in all its polysemy. Familiar, Present! is the interjection by which members of a group to be interviewed respond when their appeal is made.
The guideline is fun. And humour often says more than it seems. This time, the artists are invited to compose interventions that assume their presence, creating an open and relaxed exchange with their environment. There’s no more pretending to be there without being there. In myth, paradise is often represented as an intra muros garden, a closed place where time has stopped in the bliss of a perpetual present. We’re not dead yet. We know that it is better to cultivate one’s garden and that the present is perpetually to be built. ” Present” would be an emergency to pay attention to him in troubled times, an incentive to remain attentive, the evocation of a here and now that we must find, at every moment. Especially since the least of contemporary troubles is not this great Web of virtuality? Ubiquity? So much is happening on a screen between us and the world!
“Present” also resonates with the gift, which reminds us of the grace of true presence.