Monday, 22 December 2014


Ballard Garden by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster at De Singel in Antwerp


empty swimming pool, six concrete pedestals and lighting
2058 m² (swimming bath 213 m²), 
six pedestals: 366 x 240 x 75 cm / 580 x 55 x 140 cm / 215 x 113 x 113 cm / 100 x 230 x 230 cm / 210 x 113 x 113 cm / 180 x 113 x 113 cm, 
lighting: Bega-RVS LED

Commissioned by deSingel on the occasion of the extension of the campus by the architect Stéphane Beel

In 2004, the then curator at deSingel, Moritz Küng, initiated the Curating the Campus project. The intention was to give visual art a permanent place on the campus alongside architecture, dance, music and theatre. Each year, Küng invited an artist to conceive a new work, or else he retained a site-specific work after the end of an exhibition. The project gradually expanded into a collection of permanent works created by eleven artists from Belgium, France, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster had already contributed a work ‘Tropicalisation', to Curating the Campus in 2004. Ten years later, deSingel once again inaugurated a work by the French artist, in this new piece she refers to the British science-fiction author J.G. Ballard. Her inspiration for ‘Ballard Garden’ was his doom-laden literary oeuvre, including ‘The Drowned World’, ‘Drought’ and ‘Crash’. By means of a limited number of gestures – an empty swimming bath in a pool, a replica of a group of monumental pedestals, distinctive lighting – she was able to turn the fragmented surroundings to her own ends. In the desolate and weathered concrete landscape the most important actor in this ‘psycho-topographic’ drama about a future sunken city is the visitor.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (1963, Strasbourg, FR. Lives in Paris and Rio de Janeiro). Her work has been shown at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid (2014, solo exhibition), Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (2012, solo exhibition), and Tate Modern in London (2010, solo exhibition).

"A few days after Ballard died, I was reminded of the way in which he disturbed my sense of beauty forever. I then tried to imagine what a “Ballard Park” might look like. It would, of course have a drained pool, a deserted higheway, and sand dunes - but also concrete fragments, mutating plants, rotten cars, a mixture of precious objects and trash. If our past has been partly Kafkaesque, our present and future are Ballardian." Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

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