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Contemporary art takes over public spaces in Ottignies

23:39 02/09/2017
Live performances, videos, installations and participatory events take over Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve for eight weeks this autumn

The title of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve's ninth contemporary art biennial Oh les beau jours! (Happy days are here!) is intensely ironic.

In fact, the 69 participating international and Belgian artists "are sharing with the public their unique visions of the contemporary world, the issues of which are filled with uncertainty, where questions abound about the world that is ending and about a future which calls into question our practices, our lifestyles, and our way of being together; the future of our commonality".

The event is taking place entirely in the city's public space in four broad categories: installations, large scale images, videos, and live performances or actions.

The exhibition opens on 6 October and certain works will be visible then, but over the eight weeks of the event more works will appear to make this an evolving show that works with time. All the works were either created or recontextualised for the biennial. The event's catalogue will be a documentary film realised during the biennial.

Among the participatory events is Happy manif (Walk on the love side). Open to everyone eight years old and up, this "jubilant choreographic excursion" will put headphones on all the participants who (in unison) will discover the city and the installations as they follow instructions on actions to take as they dance through the streets to a joyful electro-pop soundtrack.

Another participatory event is GRRWWW! En avant le vivant which will be "a call to support the multitude of living forms and their right to coexist". People will first attend workshops in the days leading up to the march in which they will fashion costumes for themselves based on scientific reality and the transgressive and monstrous figures of a carny sideshow. Moles, algae, jackals, sparrows, nettles, buffaloes, oaks, snakes, mangroves, earthworms, wolves, frogs, bees, lichen, anemones - take your pick or come up with your own favourite living thing. Or just come and watch the parade from the town center to the Bois des Rêves.

Biennale 9, Ottignies-Louvain-La-Neuve, 6 October-10 December

Written by Richard Harris