< mountaincutters
mais, la présence aux mondes
Apr 29, 2022 - Jul 30, 2022
Horst Arts & Music Festival (Belgium)
"The Act of Breathing" marks Horst's ambitions to further nurture exchange and inspiration between the worlds of music and art. Curator Sorana Munsya was invited alongside Horst's Evelyn Simons, and forces were joined with KANAL-Centre Pompidou Brussels to bring a group of ambitious artists to Belgium. The result was 11 site-specific artworks that dialogued with the architectural and symbolic character of the Asiat site, a former military base.

Based on the poem "The Act of Breathing" by Congolese writer and poet Sony Labou Tansi, "The Act of Breathing" explores breath: a repetitive and instinctive force, a necessity. But, as Labou Tansi reminds us, breath can also be approached as a potential tool of political resistance, for it is necessary to persist to defend the right to breathe. This stubbornness manifests itself
when the breathing circuit is disrupted and suffocated by structural systems of oppression. When voices are silenced. When the land is exhausted. When community is broken. When music loses its soul.

It is in these moments that the continuous recovery of the air becomes a space for struggle, for gathering and for healing. The exhibition considers the Congo, and the power it continues to wield, as a way of seeing where this struggle can lead: the breath as an element that sculpts, through its repetition, the environment we inhabit. Physical in its materiality, and symbolic in its political manifestation. The participating artists therefore invest the site with installations that are essentially in situ and connect to each other like a long breath, transmitting energy and bodies together to form a strong alliance.

Text by Evelyn Simons and Sorana Munsya

In one of Asiat's old workplaces, mountaincutters presents a long glass blast that escapes from a valve. As it snakes through the space, copper wires hanging from the ceiling help to sustain its presence. The elements were made by blowing the glass directly into holes in the earth. Each segment materializes the breath of a person; sequenced and connected, they form a whole like an excavated treasure.

In the adjacent space, we see a video of a battle between a wasp and a bee, which provokes a reflection on the hierarchy of power and the strained relationships it creates. Blown glass Venus, dense masses of kapok (used to fill mattresses), metal
mattresses), metal containers and glass wheels permeate the space, reinforcing the corporeal awareness of the entities that surround us.