< Exhibitions
The Smuggler’s Outfit
Kelly Schacht
Feb 28, 2013 - May 4, 2013

For her first exhibition at the gallery, Belgian artist Kelly Schacht, the latest winner of the Young Belgian Painters award, occupies the ground floor and the rear space with new works that question both the exhibition space itself and the act of narration.

For the opening, the artist invited a dozen performers/characters who all contribute to the exhibition as presented. In the left-hand room, traces of their performance or attributes that they wear intermittently during the evening are visible.

Kelly Schacht is interested in language as a system of symbols and asked the characters, The Storyteller, the Magician, the Ghostwriter to name but a few, to communicate or perform acts in a subtle or very discreet manner. Not a word is uttered. At best, some articulate phrases as seen in the 16mm film Bonjour Madame. Je vous aime, which is a direct reference to silent films and secret love speeches. The artist's interest in how language is broken down is also reflected in the sentence written by a character using a carbon prism I wanted to draw the light out of the picture or in Silent Keys, a work consisting of plaques, shown at irregular intervals, on which are printed key phrases for the artist.

As they see the works and wander through the other two rooms, visitors will perceive certain key features of the exhibition. Kelly Schacht puts the visitor in the situation of a witness observing the real world, for example, through engraved distorting glasses (The Eyewitness' glasses) or who perceives an environment which is coded but fun (noughts and crosses, zigzag, playing cards, elastics). There is a silence underlying many works while being offset by interrogative works like these 26 metal blocks engraved with question marks. What to say about all the questions that could potentially be asked?

The artist is interested by the elliptical process of constructing a narrative, by the sequential side of a story (which is what we find in her book Backstory which can be consulted here and there in the spaces) as well as by the idea that everything is connected to everything else (the concept of elasticity is certainly not trivial either), she deploys her imaginary world in a space as if she were opening a box: by leaving erasable traces on the floor and the wall. Her exhibition at the gallery has its roots in her installation at the Gwangju Biennale in 2012, but here the artist deepens her examination of the subject, to leave the visitor with many questions. Ultimately, who is the smuggler?