Heaven and Hell. From magic carpets to drones
6 March – 6 September 2015
“Somewhere, beyond good and evil, there is a garden. I will meet you in it.”
Djalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
“The traditional garden of the Persians was a sacred place designed to bring together within its rectangle four parts representing the four parts of the world, with an area in the middle even more sacred than the others, which was like the umbilicus, the world’s navel (this was where the basin and the fountain were); and all the garden’s vegetation had to be distributed in this area, in this kind of microcosm. As for the carpets, they were originally reproductions of gardens. The garden is a carpet where the whole world achieves its symbolic perfection, and the carpet is a sort of garden moving through space. The garden is the smallest parcel of the world, it is the totality of the world”.
The magic carpet has long been a symbolic way of travelling around the world. In Persian mythology, King Solomon had a magic carpet. The Queen of Sheba, who was said to be a magician, allegedly offered him this fabulous gift. It is even said that the king could transport his whole palace on it…
The magic carpet referred to in tales was popularized by One Thousand and One Nights, and has also been depicted in many fantasy films.
Some scientists have focused on this legendary object, seeing therein an aerial replica of the way the manta ray moves in water. Physicists have even become involved in research to make a carpet fly !…
But the magic—flying—carpet also conjures up that ancestral dream, of flying like a bird. After Icarus, the first man to soar up into the air, Leonardo da Vinci became caught up in designing highly ingenious flying objects.
Since then, flying saucers have haunted the modern imagination, well beyond all the technical performances which have really enabled people to travel through the air, and launch a very diverse selection of flying machines.
At the present time, our minds are occupied by drones: as remote-controlled flying machines, drones open a whole new realm of possibilities. From observation to control, transporting objects to weapons, nothing seems to be able to escape from the promise of their performances. For better or for worse…
The exhibition Heaven and Hell broaches the theme of flying machines and flying carpets according to a variation of artistic interpretations: the symbolism of ancient carpets and its inspiration: the geometry of gardens, the ancestral dream of being able to fly and flying objects, the world seen from above, the occupation of space by satellites, the worldwide expansion of drones and its consequences.
The exhibition is open every day except on Mondays from 10 am to 6.30 pm.
A richly illustrated Catalogue, bilingual French & English, will be published on this occasion.
General Manager of the Boghossian Foundation and curator of the exhibition
Art Advisor of the Boghossian Foundation and curator of the exhibition
BOGHOSSIAN FOUNDATION – VILLA EMPAIN
Centre for art and dialogue between the cultures of the East and the West
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67
B – 1050 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 627 52 30
Many artists are invited to take part in this exhibition, or are represented in it:
Jananne Al-Ani (Iraq), Alexandre Arrechea (Cuba), Bilal Bahir (Iraq / Belgium), Axel Brechensbauer (Sweden), Solano Cardenas (Cuba / France), Ali Cherri (Lebanon), Mahwish Chishty (Pakistan / USA), Eleven Play (Japan), Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (Iran), Alicia Framis (Spain), Mekhitar Garabedian (Belgium), Babak Golkar (Iran / Canada), Laurent Grasso (France), GREYGOUAR / Grégoire Gicquel (France), Cai Guo-Qiang (China), Adam Harvey (USA), IOCOSE (Italy), Pravdoliub Ivanov (Bulgaria), Bart Jansen (The Netherlands), Edouard Janssens (Belgium), Alain Josseau (France), Jugnet+Clairet (Belgium / France), Babak Kazemi (Iran), KennardPhillipps (United Kingdom), Krištof Kintera (Czech Republic), Julien Leresteux (Belgium), C. Love (USA), Urs Lüthi (Switzerland), Pierre Malphettes (France), Jackie Matisse (France), Farhad Moshiri (Iran), Macoto Murayama (Japan), James Muriuki & Miriam Syowia Kyambi (Kenya), Panamarenko (Belgium), Ruben Pater (The Netherlands), Frédéric Platéus (Belgium), Sébastien Reuzé (France / Belgium), Samuel Rousseau (France), Moussa Sarr (France), Björn Schülke (Germany), Jalal Sepehr (Iran), Rirkrit Tiravanija (Thailand), Addie Wagenknecht (USA / Austria), Li Wei (China)
The Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society / CEGESOMA (Brussels), Vehbi Koç Foundation (Istanbul), Museum Marta Herford (Herford, Germany), Musée national des Arts asiatiques Guimet (Paris),
Collection Michel Aubry (Paris), Foundation De 11 Lijnen (Oudenburg), X TIM – AVITRON (Marseille)
AEROPLASTICS Contemporary (Brussels), Akinci Gallery (Amsterdam), ARTER Space For Art (Istanbul), ARTLabAfrica (Nairobi), Galerie Albert Baronian (Brussels), Bitforms Gallery (New York), Galerie Martine et Thibault de La Châtre (Paris), Deweer Gallery (Otegem, Belgium), D+T PROJECT (Brussels), Galerie Imane Farès (Paris), Galerie Flore (Brussels), Frantic Gallery (Tokyo), Galerie Claire Gastaud (Clermont-Ferrand), Géry Art Gallery (Namur), Galerie Jamar (Antwerp), Helga Maria Klosterfelde Edition (Berlin & Hamburg), Galerie Paris Beijing (Brussels & Paris), Galerie Perrotin (Paris & New York), Casado Santapau Gallery (Madrid), Sariev Gallery (Plovdiv), Silk Road Gallery (Tehran), Agence Sparadraps (Brussels), The Third Line (Dubai).
Activities of the exhibition
• March 17th, 2015, 7 pm : The drones and their consequences (in English)
with Philip Boucher (B), Peter van Blyenburgh (F) and Nicholas J. Davis (UK)
• March 18th, 2015, 7 pm : L’art et les drones (in French)
with Adam Harvey, Edouard Janssens, artists, and François De Coninck, writer
Workshops (in French) at the Villa Empain
The construction of Kites (for children and adults), directed by Anne De Roy and Yves Ghislain, from the association Pass to Heaven
April 13th, 14th and 15th, 2015, 10 am – 5 pm
August 24th, 25th and 26th, 2015, 10 am – 5 pm
From left to right :
Panamarenko, Magic Carpet, 2005, mixed media. Courtesy od the artist and Deweer Gallery, Otegem
Andreas Feininger, Man in Arabic Dress, Smoking a Water Cooled Pipe, is Comfortably Sitting on a Magic Carpet, New York City, 1949, published in LIFE Magazine
Viktor Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov, The Magic Carpet, 1880, oil on canvas, Nizhny Novgorod State Art Museum, Russia
Macoto Murayama, Botech Composition 1, 2013, Ed.5. Courtesy of the artist and Frantic Gallery, Tokyo
Muryo Homma, screen stills of the Eleven Play dance performance with drones at Spiral Hall, Tokyo, may 2014, video, 4’28”. © the artists
Bilal Bahir, Hanging gardens, 2014, Courtesy of Gery Art Gallery and the artist
Kennardphilipps, Business As Usual, 2005, Collection of the artists
Urs Lüthi, Selfportrait, 1976, Private collection, Harsin
Panamarenko, Archaioptherix, 2001-2002, Private collection, Brussels
Moussa Sarr, Rising Carpet, 2013, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Martine & Thibault de La Châtre, Paris
Panamarenko, Bing of the Ferro Lusto (original), 2002, Courtesy Deweer Gallery, Otegem (Belgium)
Pravdoliub Ivanov, Fairy Tale Device Crashed, 2013, Vehbi Koç Foundation Contemporary Art Collection, Istanbul
Pravdoliub Ivanov, Wrinkles of Modernity, 2015, Courtesy of the artist and Sariev Contemporary
Edouard Janssens, 2011, Archival inkset print, Collection de l’artiste, Lasne
Babak Golkar, Backyard Wars, 2014, Courtesy of the artist and The Third Line Gallery, Dubai
Jugnet + Clairet, Flying saucers #2, 2008, Collection of the artists, deposit at MAMCO, Geneva
Julien Leresteux, 2009, Collection of the artist
Alexandre Arrechea, The Garden of Mistrust, 2003, Video projection on standing wall (1’). Courtesy of the artist and Casado Santapau Gallery, Madrid
Björn Schülke, Drone #8, 2014,Courtesy of the artist and bitforms gallery