Music Palace, the power of music seen by visual artists
25 September 2014 – 08 February 2015

Music Palace, as a call for freedom that awakens all the promises of the music in the sumptuous setting of the Villa Empain !

In this exhibition, a selection of contemporary work examines the relationship between music and cultures through artistic creation. With boldness, humor and enthusiasm, these works will rock the Villa Empain becoming a Music Palace for the occasion.

Music has this power to transport us, to have a complete hold over us, to rid us of our inhibitions, and play with our bodies, our minds, and their rhythms.
Music also has this strange ability to galvanize crowds, and bring people together in an odd communion, something which has not escaped the notice of the political world of different cultures and periods.

The history, phenomenology and sociology of modern and contemporary music run parallel with the development of technologies and their distribution. Radio and television, with their music stations and channels, have undoubtedly contributed to the commercialization of music and its standards. But the growth of its diffusion, production and consumption, greatly helped nowadays by digitization, permits the discovery of artists, singers and musicians who elude the usual distribution channels.

Like a shock wave, music can thus be imposed on the collective imagination in unexpected ways. The Mahraganat phenomenon, also called Electro Chaâbi, offers recent proof of this. Starting from the working-class suburbs of Cairo, transmitted by cell phone, Mahraganat concerts have electrified a whole generation of young people who identify with them, re-invent themselves in them, and find in them an energy which transgresses prohibitions.

Music is the supreme mystery of the human sciences, the one against which they stumble, and which holds the key to their progress, said Claude Lévi-Strauss in The Raw and the Cooked in 1964. We might extend this observation to artistic creation as a whole, and note the links and cross-links constructed between these different manners of creation and expression.

In this show, a selection of visual works questions the relations between music and the culture which convey it, as well as between music and the social phenomena which it introduces and incarnates. With daring, wit, and keen verve, these works will make the Villa Empain throb !


Diana Wiegersma
Curator of the exhibition

Diane Hennebert and Christophe Dosogne

Centre for art and dialogue between the cultures of East and West
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67
1050 Brussels

Phone: +32 (0)2 627 52 30

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Exhibited Artists

Adel Abidin (Iraq), Fikret Atay (Turkey), Chant Avedissian (Egypt), Taysir Batniji (Palestine), Pauline Beugnies (Belgium), Zoulikha Bouabdellah (Algeria), Youssef Chahine (Egypt), Natalie Czech (Germany), Folkert de Jong (Pays-Bas), Ende Wieder (France), Ninar Esber (Lebanon), Nicolas Fenouillat (France), Babak Golkar (Iran / Canada), Dan Graham (USA), Khosrow Hassanzadeh (Iran), Gregor Hildebrandt (Germany), Rashid Johnson (USA), Joachim Koester (Denmark), Jim Lambie (UK), Claude Lévêque (France), Robert Longo (USA), Arnaud Maguet (France), Maha Malluh (Saudi Arabia), Christian Marclay (USA), Ahmed Mater (Saudi Arabia), Youssef Nabil (Egypt / USA), Joe Namy (Lebanon), Ivan Navarro (Chile), Shirin Neshat (Iran / USA), Melik Ohanian (Armenia / France), Yazid Oulab (Algeria), Nam June Paik (South Korea / USA), Charlemagne Palestine (USA / Belgium), Cyprien Parvex de Collombey (Switzerland/France), Hannu Prinz (Germany), Anahita Razmi (Germany), Pipilotti Rist (Switzerland), Allen Ruppersberg (USA), Samir Sayegh (Lebanon), Slavs & Tatars (Iran / Poland), Newsha Tavakolian (Iran), Issa Touma (Syria), Joris van de Moortel (Belgium), Massimo Vitali (Italy), Haegue Yang (South Korea)

List of lenders

Agial Art Gallery (Beïrut) Brand New Gallery (Milan) Collection Agnès B (Paris) Carbon 12 (Dubaï) Galerie Chantal Crousel (Paris) D+T Project (Brussels) François de Coninck (Antwerp) Dependance (Brussels) Edge of Arabia (London) Electronic Arts Intermix (New York) Selma Feriani Gallery (London / Tunis) FotoMuseum Provincie Antwerpen (Antwerp) Hauser & Wirth (New York / London / Zurich) Galerie Ernst Hilger (Vienna) Gemeentemuseum (The Hague) Institut du Monde Arabe (Paris) Keitelman Gallery (Brussels) Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler (Berlin) Wien Lukatsch (Berlin) MAC/VAL Musée d’Art contemporain du Val-de-Marne (Vitry-sur-Seine) MFC – Michèle Didier (Paris) Musée départemental d’art contemporain (Rochechouart) Galerie Jan Mot (Brussels) Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Brussels / Paris) Andre Simoens Gallery (Knokke-Heist) Galerie Sultana (Paris) Galerie Micheline Szwajcer (Brussels) Galerie Daniel Templon (Brussels / Paris) Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde (Dubaï) Vanmoerkerke Collection (Ostend) Video Art / Büro für Videokunstangelegenheiten (Zofingen)

A richly illustrated catalogue, with contributions of Joseph Ghosn, Pacôme Thiellement and Hind Meddeb, will be published and several activities will be organized to mark the exhibition.