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Saâdane Afif invites the public to compose their own interpretation of his work in exhibition at WIELS
Power Chords at Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco (Monaco, Principauté de Monaco, 2006). Photo: Jérôme Schlomoff.

BRUSSELS.- From the 1st February until the 22nd April 2018, the audience will have the opportunity to discover Saâdane Afif’s work and compose its own interpretation inside Studio Paroles, a music studio freely accessible to all.

During the first semester of 2018, WIELS presents an overview of Saâdane Afif’s work of the past 15 years. A retrospective with a twist, it explores the process of interpretation and translation that underpins the relationship between art and its audience, a process fundamental to Afif’s practice. Since 2004, he has been commissioning writers and artists to create lyrics inspired by his artworks, which are then exhibited alongside them. These texts have become key material for Afif, verbalizing and embodying what happens in the mind of the beholder. Afif embraces the opportunity of the WIELS exhibition as a moment for production: the public is invited to give its own musical interpretation of his work in Studio Paroles , a sound studio inside the show.

An inclusive work
Often defined as post-conceptual, Saâdane Afif’s work borrows from our common pop culture. It takes many forms (performances, sculptures, posters) and includes poems or lyrics received from the writers and artists he has commissioned. The exhibition Paroles at WIELS presents a selection of 10 projects from which lyrics have been generated. These range from a coffin in the form of the Centre Pompidou ( Anthologie de l’humour noir , 2010) to an installation of electric guitars playing chords based on the structure of André Cadere’s Barres de bois rond ( Black Chords , 2006). A book, also titled Paroles, is published as part of the exhibition, featuring all 190 lyrics written to date.

Free access to Studio Paroles
At the heart of the exhibition, a music studio is installed, complete with instruments. The public is invited to come and play music, to take part in jam sessions under the guidance of studio master Valentin Noiret. The only rule is to use the texts commissioned by Afif as the inspiration for their musical interpretations. There are over 70 jam sessions available.

Born in 1970 in Vendôme (France), Saâdane Afif lives and works in Berlin. His numerous international solo exhibitions include The Fountain Archives 2008–2017, Centre Pompidou, Paris and Nouveau Musée National of Monaco, Monaco (2017); Blue Time, Blue Time, Blue Time... , Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne/Rhône-Alpes (2013); Anthologie de l’Humour Noir , Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010) and Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main (2012); Technical Specifications, Witte de With, Rotterdam (2008); Power Chords , Cité de la Musique, Paris (2006) ; Lyrics, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2005); Melancholic Beat , Museum Folkwang, Essen (2004). He has taken part in significant group exhibitions such as Oh les beaux jours , Louvain-la-Neuve’s Biennale (2017); the 56th edition of the international exhibition of the Venice Biennale (2015); Made in Germany Zwei, Sprengel Museum, Kestnergesellschaft and Kunstverein of Hannover (2012), documenta 12 , Kassel (2007) and the Biennale de Lyon (2005). He won the Prix Marcel Duchamp, Paris (2009), and his work is part of major collections across Europe. Afif took part in the opening exhibition at WIELS Expats & Clandestines (2007) and in Atopolis , an exhibition in the framework of Mons, European Capital of Culture (2015), curated by WIELS.

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