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Argos, Centre for Art and Media temporarily closed due to safety concerns
Jef Cornelis, "James Lee Byars", Antwerpen, April 18-May 7, 1969.Courtesy Argos & VRT.

BRUSSELS.- Over the past weeks cracks have been discovered in the building that houses Argos, Centre for Art and Media, more in particular in the walls, ceiling and beams of the building. These have been caused by subsidence of the bottom underneath the adjacent building, which may be caused by a lowering of the groundwater level due to a variety of construction and street works in the immediate surroundings.

Because of safety concerns the management of Argos has decided to have the situation examined by experts and to close the doors of the exhibition spaces temporarily to the public. For that reason the exhibitions of Ursula Biemann and Els Dietvorst, that were to open in autumn, as well as a series of screenings of works from the collection have been postponed. The offices will remain open and the Media Library will be open by appointment.

Together with the owner of the building and a team of specialists, Argos is working on a solution that in the short term should make the exhibition spaces accessible and safe to the public.

The centre expect that by mid-October the situation will be stable, so that on 18 and 19 October World of Matter can take place: an international art and media project that explores primary materials (fossil, mineral, agrarian, maritime) and the complex ecological systems they are part of. During the two-day conference World of Matter will present the projects by Mabe Bethonico, Ursula Biemann, Uwe H. Martin, Helge Mooshammer & Peter Mörtenböck, Emily E. Scott and Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan. Focussing on specific situations in the world, these projects try to shed a light on the mutual interdependence of human and non-human actors in fragile systems. What material and political conditions must be fulfilled in order that a material reality can come into being? What aesthetic language and conceptual rethinking will be necessary to cope with the range of new problems that result from the current shift from epistemological to ontological concerns? What is at stake in this new political ecology and who determines what the stakes will be?

Argos will communicate the further exhibition programme as soon as possible. On 10 November (inauguration Saturday 9 November) the exhibition Journal with work by Sirah Foighel Brutmann & Eitan Efrat will start as scheduled. The Ursula Biemann and Els Dietvorst exhibitions are postponed to 2014. The precise programme for 2014 will be announced as soon as possible.

Since 2000 Argos has been housed in a former banana ripening warehouse in the Werfstraat in Brussels. The organization started with an exhibition space on the first floor, but in 2006 also the complete ground floor was rented and was turned into a fully-fledged exhibition space by the famous architects of MVRDV. Artists as well as the public have praised the building because of its industrial character.

Apart from the art centre, Argos also manages a collection of over 4,500 artists’ films and videos that are accessible to the public. A large part of this collection is also available for distribution.

Despite the current problems, Argos will maximally assure the continuity of its functioning and of the public programme in the months to come.

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