Voici des fleurs
with works by Akarova, Lili Dujourie, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Anne Hardy, Hanne Lippard, Caroline Mesquita, Ana Torfs & Jurgen Persijn and Leen Voet
Voici des fleurs, 17 April to 30 June 2018, La Loge, Brussels, courtesy of the artists and La Loge , image: Lola Pertsowsky

Tuesday 17 April 2018
18:00 to 21:00
19/04/18 – 30/06/18
12:00 to 18:00

Voici des fleurs is a group exhibition imbued with the artistic legacy of Akarova (born Marguerite Acarin, 1904-1999), a celebrated Bruxelloise of the interwar years who devoted her life entirely to music, dance, choreography, painting and sculpture. La Loge invites contemporary artists Lili Dujourie, Anne Hardy, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Hanne Lippard, Caroline Mesquita, Jurgen Persijn & Ana Torfs, and Leen Voet to exhibit alongside Akarova’s work and to freely relate to her ideas and production dynamics. 
There are, of course, innumerable ways to engage with the art and legacy of the artist, but La Loge’s ambition or mission is not to adopt a historicist, documentary, or archival response. Instead, Voici des fleurs has been developed with and by contemporary artists as an attempt to reassess the potential of Akarova’s archive, not only as a subject of research but above all as an invitation to indulge in its repository of living materials; the vestiges of an animated artistic practice. 
Voici des fleurs is not concerned with ‘re-evaluating’ or lending legitimacy to Akarova’s work. Its motivation is rather to expose and explore the free gestures and spontaneous attitude that underpinned and drove her art-making, while affirming core positions and dynamics within (contemporary) art practices. Akarova was an active personality who stepped up and made things happen. Through her charismatic presence, unrelenting drive and sheer energy, she managed to play a central role in the cultural life of the local arts community (she was, for instance, close to some of the key figures making the scene of the interwar years in Brussels such as Marcel-Louis Baugniet (first husband), Anto Carte, Raymond Duncan (who regularly visited Brussels), Jean-Jules Eggericx, Henry Van de Velde, and Herman Teirlinck among many others), while still safeguarding her independent position and artistic integrity. 
Throughout her life, Akarova developed a unique and personal manner of connecting her different interests, artistic and otherwise, by applying the spirit of the all-encompassing total artwork (although she often said music comes first) – a singular “one-woman band” comprising music, dance, costumes, set design, sculpture, drawing, etc. In 1986, at the age of 82, Akarova donated a considerable part of her set design and costumes to the AAC/Archives d’Architecture Moderne – a decision that evidenced of the artist’s self-awareness of her own legacy, and perhaps even a desire to defy traditional disciplinary categories in favour of absorption within the larger context of the visual and applied arts. 
Thirty years after Akarova’s intuition to preserve her records – which adopted a non-traditional format and content in an archive fund dedicated to modern architecture, mainly representing male figures, her legacy continues to tickle the imagination. However, suffering from the absence of documentation, her live art and performances remain open to interpretation. Even if testimonies and archival collections attest to a vivid and evocative practice rooted in the artistic networks of Ixelles, the artist’s open and elusive stage practice leaves us to speculate, imagine or project our own fantasies. Meanwhile, Akarova’s spectre lingers in and around La Loge. The institution that is housed within a modernist architecture and embedded within interpersonal networks and a local cultural inheritance that intersects contextually and geographically with Akarova’s own. 
As such, Voici des fleurs is less an homage or historical portrait, than it is a testimony to the development of an artistic vocabulary and attitude at a particular moment in time and space. Instead of inviting artists to directly respond to the conundrum of the Belgian avant-garde, the exhibition brings together concerns and sensibilities shared among all invited artists: Voici des fleurs looks at art and life as a set of relations, exploring the production dynamics at play in contemporary practices, the principle of gesamtkunst rather than that of artistic purity or medium specificity, and the networks of relationships that produce and are produced by an oeuvre. 
Through a diverse constellation of interdisciplinary works comprising film, voice, painting and performance, the exhibition considers ideas of self-affirmation, feminism, autonomy, and artistic integrity, at times taking recourse to the traditional crafts and the synthesis of the arts. Through understanding kinships between artworks made by artists of different generations, might we be able to reconsider and retrace the artistic steps of an artist whose notoriety has become dispersed over time, but whose work – thanks to archival materials, printed matter, and oral histories – continues to inspire today?

Curated by Anne-Claire Schmitz

Practical information

opening hours

12:00 to 18:00
La Loge is always closed on national holidays (closed on Thursday 10 May 2018)

free entrance

Supported by Vedett. In the framework of EXTRA, with the support of the Institut Français and the Cultural department of the French embassy in Belgium.