ANTWERP. Recetas Urbanas (Santiago Cirugeda) “Experience Traps” 1 june – 23 september 2018. Middelheim Museum

Internationally renowned artists have been invited to present new or existing work at the interface between architecture, sculpture, installation and performance, based on the body of ideas that underpins baroque landscape architecture. This includes motifs such as the grotto, the maze, the tableau vivant, the folly, the fountain, the trompe l’oeil and so on.

These structures were central to landscape design in the heyday of baroque and rococo. Their purpose was to give a previously ‘classical’ landscape a surprisingly different look, and hence to elicit new experiences in visitors. Each of these motifs can be used to take a playful yet critical look at ‘commissioned art’ that makes creative use of its location. That art attempts – in true baroque tradition – to trick, surprise, impress or seduce the public.

The centuries-old park of the Middelheim Museum, its architecture and the development of the collection reflect this baroque theme of architectural and sculptural interventions that make the landscape and the encounters that take place in it more attractive. This is a significant bonus, as the Middelheim with its museum park today also functions as a social space.

EXPERIENCE TRAPS wants to unlock a physical and mental ‘self-experience’ in the visitor, according to the precise specifications defined by the artists. Surprise elements, but also restrained, lucid sculptural interventions can be used both to put the viewer at his or her ease and as a disruptive factor. The exhibition is a critical reflection on our contemporary experience-centred society,  in which we want to be entertained with unique experiences – preferably ones which we can share with as many people as possible.

Artist: William Forsythe (USA) Mike Bouchet (US), Monster Chetwynd (UK), Jeremy Deller (UK), Spencer Finch (US), Gelitin (A), Ryoji Ikeda (JP), Bertrand Lavier (FRA), Louise Lawler (US), Bruce Nauman (US), Recetas Urbanas (ESP), Monika Sosnowska (PL), Adrien Tirtiaux(BE), Dennis Tyfus (BE), Andra Ursuta (RO) and Ulla von Brandenburg (D).

Middelheim Museum. Middelheimlaan 61. 2020 Antwerp. Belgium

Image: Recetas Urbanas. La misteriosa ‘montaña verde’ de De Coninckplein