Dear Ami·xes!
by Monika Georgieva

In 2020, Aaron Amar Bhamra and I started running Laurenz, an exhibition space for artistic experiments and discourse. Chambre d'Ami·xes is the title of the group exhibition that Aaron and I organized as one of the Laurenz exhibitions, although the show did not take place in the exhibition space itself. Chambre d'Ami·xes was hosted in our 35 m2 apartment in Vienna's 6th district. We continued to live in the flat for the entire duration of the exhibition, from September 21 to October 21, as well as during the set-up, which began in early August 2021. In this one month, we have welcomed more than 500 visitors in our tiny home who came to see the show.

For the first issue of dis/claim, I compiled all 51 personal emails I sent to the artists who participated in Chambre d'Ami·xes, inviting them to take part in the exhibition. Some parts were shortened, but I neither corrected anything nor added anything new. It's basically the show as an email.

The reader is welcome to take a peek behind the scenes, to step out of the role of ‘the unenlightened outsider’ and scroll through the Sent folder of my e-mail account. When the reader receives this email from me through the platform of dis/claim, they are invited to see my approach, read my mistakes and even judge me on how I addressed the artists. I put everything on the table.

Dear Rosa!
Dear Fabian!
Dear Pierre-Olivier!
Dear Peter!
Dear Luka!   
Dear Amar!
Dear Anna!
Dear Luca!
Dear Jason!
Dear Živa!
Dear Melanie!
Dear Raphael!
Dear Theresa!
Dear Niki!
Dear Lukas!
Dear Laleh!
Dear Norma!
Dear Sebastian!
Dear Brigitte!
Dear Magdalena!
Dear Gašper!
Dear Sophia!
Dear Edgar!
Dear Angelika!
Dear Constantin!
Dear Lazar!
Dear Lone!
Dear Wolfgang!
Dear Christoph!
Dear Ute!
Dear Jakob!
Dear Luīze!
Dear Nick!
Dear Anna!
Dear Anna!
Dear Marlene!
Dear Marie!
Dear Sara!
Dear Felix!
Dear Camilla!
Dear Martin!
Dear Sebastian!
Dear Jakob!
Dear Sevda!
Dear Thomas!
Dear Lukas!
Dear Eirini!
Dear Johanna!
Dear Juan!
Dear Lawrence!
Dear Fridolin! 

      With this email, I would like to invite you to participate in the show I am currently working on: A re-enactment of the exhibition Chambres d’Amis from 1986. Fifty-one local and international artists will be invited to re-enact the contributions of the fifty-one artists who took part in the original exhibition in Ghent. Instead of presenting the work of the fifty-one artists in fifty-eight different houses, as in the original exhibition, all fifty-one works will be installed in one single private home in Vienna – a 35m2 studio, situated in Vienna’s city center. A room full of friends!

      The exhibition will open on the 21st of September and most probably will stay on view for one month. I highly appreciate your artistic work and therefore would be more than happy if you decide to participate!

      Thirty-five years ago, on the 21st of June, in 1986 the exhibition Chambres d’Amis opened to the public. Curated by the Belgian curator Jan Hoet and sponsored by the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Gent (today S.M.A.K.), the exhibition was hosted in fifty-eight private houses in Ghent, Belgium. The residents of Ghent had the opportunity to take part in the exhibition by opening the doors of their homes to the fifty-one local and international artists, invited by Jan Hoet to participate in the show.
      Full list of the artists who took part in Chambres d’Amis in 1986: Carla Accardi, Christian Boltanski, Raf Buedts, Daniel Buren, Michael Buthe, Jacques Charlier, Nicola de Maria, Luciano Fabro, Günther Förg, Jef Geys, Dan Graham, Milan Grygar, François Hers, Kazuo Katase, Niek Kemps, Joseph Kosuth, Jannis Kounellis, Bertrand Lavier, Sol Lewitt, Danny Matthys, Gerhard Merz, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Helmut Middendorf, Juan Muñoz, Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Bruce Nauman, Maria Nordman, Oswald Oberhuber, Heike Pallanca, Panamarenko, Giulio Paolini, Royden Rabinowitch, Norbert Radermacher, Roger Raveel, Wolfgang Robbe, Claude Rutault, Reiner Ruthenbeck, Remo Salvadori, Rob Scholte, Ettore Spalletti, Paul Thek, Niele Toroni, Charles Vandenhove, Philip Van Isacker, Jan Vercruysse, Jean-Luc Vilmouth, Martin Walde, Lawrence Weiner, Robin Winters, Gilberto Zorio.

      Each artist participating in the re-enactment will be given an artist name from the original 1986 list based on their work. All artists have the freedom to choose whether and how they want to re-enact the artwork from the original exhibition or whether they want to use the given name as a starting point for a new approach.

      ︎     The artist I thought it would be fun for you to re-enact is Milan Grygar. In his artistic practice, Grygar works a lot with music or with the idea of music and translates it into different media. His acoustic and tactile drawings allow us to experience and feel the sensations of listening to a musical composition in a new, unfamiliar way. According to the curator of Chambres d'Amis, Jan Hoet, Grygar stilled a music room, making it into a visual representation of the idea “music”, but without losing sight of the human note, the subtle humorous accents” [1].

      ︎     His radical, almost fanatic way of working somehow intuitively made me think of your work, Fabian! Thinking of Toroni, applying his brush strokes (always brush number 50) at regular intervals of 30 cm made me of course think of your lines, transmitting the meditative energy bound up with the process of their making to the viewer. When you look at Toroni's work, you can almost visualise him as he creates it. This reminds me of you! According to Jan Hoet, Toroni did not want to invade the living space of the residents in whose house he was working with huge, dominant works, as many of the other participating artists did. His work is reflective, meditative, it gives us space to think. Entering the guest room in which he was working, every visitor was offered a glass of whiskey.

      ︎     Yesterday Nick Oberthaler, who is also taking part in the show, asked me: “Who is Pierre-Oliver going to be?”. After my answer “Günther Förg.” he laughed and said “Aha...interesting!” I also find it interesting and challenging, and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it!

      ︎     Der Beitrag von Kosuth ist irgendwie sehr gemein, er reizt den Betrachter – fast so einfach zu lesen und doch unmöglich. Der Text balanciert auf der Grenze zwischen Lesbarkeit und Unlesbarkeit. Ich würde mich wirklich sehr, sehr freuen, dich als Freund in mein Gästezimmer einladen zu dürfen, Peter! Ich bin mir auch absolut sicher, dass es für mich unmöglich sein wird, einen besseren Kosuth zu finden...

      ︎     With his perfect selection of materials and shapes, Nagasawa doesn't let us pass by his sculptures without wanting to turn around and stay with them a little longer, and I personally think that your artistic work has the same hypnotic impact on the viewer!

      ︎     As part of the prestigious display of Chambres d’Amis, Jef Geys installed a simple door, opening up onto the wall, in five homes of people living on welfare in Ghent. This makes him the only one of the participating artists who did not choose a rich bourgeois house for his contribution. All of the doors had the words “Freedom, Equality and Fraternity” written on them.

      ︎     This is actually very irritating, because Marisa Merz is one of the 4 women participating in this huge macho exhibition, and most of the (male) artists have several pages dedicated to their work in the catalogue. As I could not find any information about her work, I decided to perceive it by what was in the catalogue, namely a beautiful photo of a houseplant. The image in the photo is blurred, except for a small daisy flower which seems to be collaged onto the other plant. Like I said, I don't know exactly what Marisa was trying to say with this piece, but perhaps because of the lack of information and because of the great artist she was, I find her contribution very special. Marisa's artistic work is both striking and delicate, bold yet extremely fragile and tender, and I perceive your ability to capture female beauty in a similar way. The way you capture the powerful, energetic nature of women without losing their lightness and fragility really fascinates me, and I would be more than honored if you decide to re-enact the Name of this amazing woman, Marisa Merz.

      ︎     Danny Matthys’ contribution to Chambres d’Amis is the mystery of the show – there is so little information about it. His work was less of an installation and more of a Bühnenbild, with his mannequin as a motionless performer. In one of the rooms of the private house he was working in, Matthys placed some photographs in a wild composition consisting of neon signs, inclined wooden panels, a large-format painting, and a plastic mannequin, dressed in a suit, frozen in his lifeless position. Danny Matthys’ installation is an overload of objects and moods, it’s intense, it’s overwhelming, it’s stunning, it’s kitschy, and we don’t know almost anything about it. And then there is this weird mannequin, standing still in his suit.

      ︎     Thank you for the quick response! Maria Nordman took an unused, empty house owned by the city of Ghent and created a mirror installation inside, so what was happening outside was visible inside and vice versa. Her work was playing with the understanding of public and private, which was of course one of the main topics of the whole exhibition. I will attach some information about her contribution.

      ︎     Heike Pallanca is inviting us to dinner. On the first floor of a huge private house, she is showing an illuminated photo of an empty, old, rough room. In front of the picture, there is a row of chairs, which somehow remind us of a church or a movie theater. The visitor is invited to sit down and observe the photo of the room. On the upper floor of the house, we find the exact same room from the photo, but this time not empty. In the middle of the room there is a beautifully set dining table. We can choose to either stay downstairs and settle for the idea of a dinner, to observe the representation of a room, or to go upstairs and experience the real room instead. My intuition is that this work, which is actually very close to my heart, could also be interesting for you.

      ︎     Something about the way Raveel effortlessly combines objects and painting makes me think of your artistic approach, Melanie! Raveel’s work plays with our perception of dimensionality in unexpected and exciting ways, and for me personally, your work does the same.

      ︎     From all 51 artists I was writing invitations to, you are the only two artists who got a collective invitation. Тhis is directly related to the work of Spalletti and Salvadori for Chambres d’Amis. Ettore Spalletti and Remo Salvadori created a collaborative piece and installed their work together, as one, in the same private house, which makes them the only two from the 51 artists, who have exhibited a collaborative work and no solo positions. I was thinking a lot about who could re-enact this meaningful gesture, because I think that projects of this kind are extremely personal and special. I am very excited to discuss the idea with both of you and to hear your thoughts about it!

      ︎     I perceive your work as very active, very energetic and dynamic, and thought that the experimentation and the childlike urge to play from Martin Walde’s work will suit you well. When I look at your textiles, they make me want to play with them, to touch and feel them.

      ︎     This was the first time he had entered into confrontation with the art of painting, and he was looking for a spiritual way of communicating with the paintings in the studio. Through his simple intervention, an age-old gesture, he makes a connection between photography and painting. I have attached some information about François Hers’ contribution to Chambres d’Amis from the original exhibition catalogue.

      ︎     The flat in which all 51 works of the re-enactment will be presented is located in the Schmalzhofgasse 24, so two of your beautiful Stars of David are shining just around the corner from the flat. A projection of something that one may never see oneself.

      ︎     I have attached a photo of your piece and the white chair at our place! If you decide to participate, we could use your beautiful piece that we have at home and maybe adapt it in a way? It’s of course completely your choice, we are open to all kinds of ideas!

      ︎     Luciano Fabro’s contribution to Chambres d’Amis is very symbolic and personally one of my favorite ones from the whole show. He created a textile piece, dedicated to the little child living in the house. According to the curator, Jan Hoet, the piece was supposed to be for the child to play with – sometimes a carpet, sometimes a cuddly blanket, and sometimes a flag. The child had the freedom to decide what to do with the artwork and therefore the piece and its location were constantly changing. “Luciano Fabro stellte in seiner Arbeit C’est la vie einen großen, asymmetrischen weißen Stoff her, der einem jungen Mädchen als Spielunterlage diente. Die Form des Stoffs lehnte sich an die vier gekrümmten Linien aus dem Roman Tristram Shandy von Laurence Stern als Verweis auf die Unwägbarkeiten des menschlichen Lebens an. Fabro schuf seine Arbeit als Reaktion auf die Katastrophe von Tschernobyl, die im April desselben Jahres vorangegangen war, mit Blick auf die Gefahren, aber auch die immer wieder neuen Möglichkeiten des Lebens.“ [2] The work of Luciano Fabro for this exhibition was very poetic, a metaphor of permanent change and therefore of life itself. The moment I saw his contribution to Chambres d’Amis, I thought of you.

      ︎     Because of his realistic figures, I had to think of your diploma and your head sculptures. The work of Juan Muñoz for Chambres d’Amis reveals the elitist nature of the original exhibition from 1986. Muñoz installed his work in the cellar of a bourgeois household, which was mostly inhabited by the servants of the house: “There he created a balcony piece, a balcony in a cellar room commenting on the lives of servants in a bourgeois household. All the servants have to be in the cellar, from where they cook later to serve upstairs. He put the balcony there as a source of aspiration for the poor people.” [3]

      ︎     Carla Accardi was one of the 4 female artists who took part in Chambres d’Amis. For her contribution to the show, Accardi chose to work in the house of an architect, giving one of the most symbolic spatial elements – the window, a new meaning. Carla Accardi hung her “room-paintings'' in the back premises of the house, dedicating her work to light and opening a window in Ghent. I see Accardi’s work for Chambres d’Amis as a manifestation of light, and therefore strongly associate her beautiful gesture with your artistic practise.

      ︎     The pictures on the walls are just framed sections of the wallpaper, creating a visual illusion, because of the colouring. The way Lavier’s piece communicates with the viewer and its playful character intuitively reminded me of your work. Maybe you would like to put a little wallpaper in our living room too? ;)

      ︎     Middendorf is not only a painter, he is an entertainer. “His large-scale, gestural paintings are brilliantly-colored and representational, populated by images of nightlife, sexuality, and emotion.” [4] In the other room of the private house he was working in, Middendorf installed 4 more paintings on movable displays, highlighting the alert, energetic character of his work: “When you paint, you want mainly to entertain and surprise yourself” [5] he says about his practise. This active, tireless character of Middendorf's work reminds me of your approach, or the way I personally experience it.

      ︎     We hope you are doing fine and everything is going well!

      ︎     The artist I thought it would be fun for you to re-enact is Royden Rabinowitch. In his artistic practice, Rabinowitch is mostly interested in the relationship of the human being to sculptural form, which immediately made me think of your work, Sophia! When I read this: “Rabinowitch calls the majority of his later works, often completed in cold and hot-rolled steel, “bodies” for the way they apply to the human body’s orientation in space.” [6] I just had to think of you!

      ︎     According to the curator of Chambres d’Amis, Jan Hoet, Buren was the only artist who specifically chose a collector's house to install his work in – the house of Anton Herbert. In addition to the installation in the collector's home, Buren made a modified copy of his own installation and placed it in the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Gent. So his contribution for Chambres d’Amis actually consists of two works – the installation in Anton Herbert’s house and the copy of this same installation in the museum...But at the end the only artwork, which was on view during the exhibition was the “copy of the original one”, the copy of the bedroom of the collector, installed in the museum. Buren's contribution to Chambres d'Amis is one of the most iconic and controversial of the entire exhibition. I thought that there is no other artist who could re-enact the problematic character of his work better than you, Edgar! :)

      ︎     Ruthenbeck works a lot with contrasts – in materials, in texture, in the surface of his objects and installations. Light/dark, soft/hard, black/ white. In his practise he is constantly trying to achieve a balance. I would like to invite you to re-interpret the work of Reiner Ruthenbeck for Chambres d’Amis and to adapt it to your personal artistic approach.

      ︎     When I look at your work, your sculptures and also your drawings, I think of them as active elements. I think of movement, of change, maybe even evolution. Zorio says about his works: “My works are meant to be energy itself, because they are always living works, or they are works in progress, or works for the future.”[7] This energy he speaks of, I also see in your work.

      ︎     Now I'm going to bombard you with a terribly long email, sorry! With two words, we are planning a huge group show with 51 artists, a re-enactment of the exhibition Chambres d’Amis from 1986. The show will open on the 21st of September and will stay on view for a month. All 51 works will be installed in a 35m2 flat in Vienna. We know that you are super busy in September with the upcoming exhibitions, but we hope that we can figure something out! I have one of your lamps on my mind... So here we go with the official invitation!

      ︎     For his contribution to Chambres d'Amis, Van Isacker did not work in a private house, like almost all the other 50 artists who took part in the show. He created 4 pyramids out of clay and installed them in public spaces at 4 locations in the city. I see associations between his artistic gesture for Chambres d'Amis and your approach to the (re)production and (re)presentation of (artistic) work. I know that your work is very site-specific and that when you prepare an installation you take your time, read the space and try to understand it.

      ︎     The topic of collecting art was very present during the show, because one of the reasons for it (although unspoken) was to actually promote art collecting, to show that contemporary art was as well “collectable”. This is why many of the artists who participated in Chambres d’Amis chose houses of rich collectors and worked with this controversial topic.

      ︎     According to my research, Nauman installed three works in three of the rooms of a very old bourgeois milieu in Ghent. His contribution consists of a video installation (Good Boy Bad Boy), an audiotape (One Hundred Live and Die), and a neon sculpture (Hanged Man), which was hung in the stairwell.

      ︎     When I saw his achromatic wall piece, even before I looked at the artist's name, I somehow associated it with you, and I thought: this is a sign! I then saw the sketches and thought of your “shape-catalogues” which you have collected over the years. According to Jan Hoet for his contribution to Chambres d'Amis, Sol LeWitt has created a “sacred space, where silence is required” [8].

      ︎     When I flipped through the Chambres d'Amis catalogue and saw the dripping blue paint of Buthe's painted-over photographs, I immediately thought of your NUANCE installations. Buthe painted one of the windows looking out to the street in pale blue, bringing down the curtain and blocking the outside world.

      ︎     Radermacher’s contribution to Chambres d’Amis is very special. Only he and Lawrence Weiner installed their works in not just one, but in all the 51 private homes that were part of the exhibition. His work shows something of the deepest motives from which art originates: “its spiritual homelessness, its essential nomadic existence…”[9] Radermacher wanted his work for Chambres d’Amis to be homeless as well. I find this incredibly beautiful and this homelessness, this nomadic character of art, reminds me of your work.

      ︎     Nick, when I saw this flashing blue color of the walls I just had to think of you!

      ︎     Another thing which makes me curious is this contrast between your approach and Rutault's – you, taking an active role in producing, presenting and selling your work and him, making the rules and then stepping back.

      ︎     Der Künstler, von dem ich dachte, dass er dich für ein re-enactment interessieren könnte, ist Oswald Oberhuber, wegen seines konkreten Beitrags zu Chambres d'Amis. Für seinen Beitrag hat Oberhuber etwas Familiäres, etwas Heimisches und Intimes in den Mittelpunkt seiner Arbeit gestellt – den Tisch. Ein Tisch ist definitiv das wichtigste Möbelstück im sozialen Leben. Egal, was die Leute den ganzen Tag über tun, irgendwann treffen sie sich unweigerlich um den Tisch. Rund um den Tisch ist der Ort, an dem Geschichten erzählt werden und an dem Geheimnisse verraten werden. Oswald Oberhuber hat ein Möbelstück kreiert, das so besonders war, dass es den ganzen Raum meditativ und reflektiv wirken ließ, und ich dachte, das könnte auch für dich interessant sein. Vielleicht wählst du für deinen Beitrag Stahl statt Holz?... Wer weiß :)

      ︎     Paul Thek installed his work Visual Therapyin a house of a family with two children. Together with the children he created some kind of a playground, a landscape made of the children’s toys and other found objects. He was really working together with the kids and the whole family was very engaged in the making of the installation. This led to a good friendship between Paul Thek and the inhabitants of the house, who were quoted saying that “Paul Thek will always find a room in Ghent”[10].

      ︎     On the one hand I thought that the performative, interactive character of Winter’s work suits your artistic approach well. His work is very diverse – he also works a lot with stage design, which I thought would be interesting for you. Another thing I found nice was the text Winters wrote for the exhibition catalogue – Gents in Ghent, a critique on the fact that the majority of the invited artists were men.

      ︎     The artist I thought it would be fun for you to re-enact is Henri Van Herwegen, more known by the pseudonym Panamarenko. Panamarenko was the rebel of the show. According to interviews with him, he actually did not want to take part in the exhibition, criticizing its elitist, bourgeois nature: “I always thought it was a rather annoying notion. Normally speaking, I was busy with the stars and space travel and theories of bouncing between the planets and such like.  And then all of a sudden I'm supposed to go and make something for folks from the so-called art milieu who wanted something to set on their cabinets or hang on their walls! Yes, and something 'modern' too, because they'd already once picked up a piece here and there. Well, that means that they wanted a modern variant of all that old crap, without the content being any different, and that annoyed me…”[11] During the curator’s opening speech, Panamarenko and Jef Geys, who were both participating in the show, sat on a table, ate oysters and drank champagne, while talking and laughing loudly. I thought you must also like oysters and champagne and that this re-enactment also needs a rebel!

      ︎     For this contribution to Chambres d’Amis, Jacques Charlier brought horror to the hospitable living room and ironically called his work Chambres d’Ennemi (Rooms of Enemy). In his installation, actors were performing in the living room of the house in which Charlier was working, making his participation the only performative one from the whole show.

      ︎     The roughness of Buedts’ work and its poetic dimension, remind me a lot of your artistic approach. His work for Chambres d'Amis, beautifully called Mobilier pour un oiseau (Furniture for a bird), was the accomplishment of what Raphael Buedts started in the very early 70s that is to say the creation of strange furniture made with only wood, branches, strings and even silk and seashells.

      ︎     “Art has to create something ‘else’, has to ‘be else’ for me, with archetypal images. I want to feel in a work the strong wish of ‘distancing”[12]. For his contribution to Chambres d’Amis titled Sans Titre, Vercruysse installed a framed photograph, showing the Violon d’Ingres and an empty wooden frame in a corner of the private house he worked in. His artistic language is very poetic, very well thought out and perfectly set.

      ︎     The artist I thought would be interesting for you is Gerhard Merz. Merz’ “works are experiments, arenas where he investigates perfection. To achieve this, he incorporates architecture into his work as a standard and a reference of meaning: he calls for a rigorous and exacting formal purity and a high complexity of ideas behind the forms” [13].For his contribution to Chambres d’Amis, Merz chose the “interior of a rather anonymous house” [14] to work with. He used the fireplaces as architectonic cornerstones of the interior and built his work around them, turning them into stages, into silent scenes from a deserted theatre.

      ︎     Здравей Севда! Та – ето я официяланта покана! Ще се радвам много, ако решиш да участваш! The artist I thought would be fun for you to re-enact is Rob Scholte. Rob Scholte is considered a visual fetishist because he collects every image and every photo that interests him in a kind of idea archive.

      ︎     Hier eine Beschreibung von seinen Arbeiten, die er in 1986 in einer der 51 privaten Wohnungen präsentiert hat: Niek Kemps zum Beispiel befestigt seine leicht gebogenen Mahagoni-Paneele quer an den Wänden eines schmalen Treppenhauses und Flurs. Diese Tafeln sind mit einer fotografischen Darstellung der Räume, in denen sie sich befinden, überzogen. Auf diese Weise wirken sie wie Pfeile, die aus den Wänden herausragen, und scheinen dieses bescheidene Haus durch eine dynamische, treibende Bewegung nach oben zu heben. Ich fand es sehr spannend, dass er auf seinen Objekten gezielt die Räume abgebildet hat, in denen sich die Objekte befinden. In deinen Fat Paintings sind die Räume, in denen sich die Bilder befinden, auch irgendwie abgebildet – fast wie eine Fotografie, eine Dokumentation des Raumes, die sich aber ständig verändert! Ich fand auch diesen Kontrast mit der Verwendung von Material sehr interessant – Kemps arbeitet mit Mahagoniholz und du mit Stahl.

      ︎     For Chambres d’Amis Mario Merz chose the house of a professor who, according to the curator Jan Hoet, insisted on getting the most “difficult” artist. Merz installed a huge table, going through 3 rooms of the house. This family had 4 small children. None of them was able to sit on the table, because it was either too high or too low for them. The installation was so heavy (the used materials were glass and granite) that the floors had to be supported with pillars. On the last day of the exhibition 3000 visitors came to see the work of Mario Merz. Just imagine 3000 visitors in your living room...

      ︎     Kazuo Katase installed multiple works situated at different locations – some of them inside and some of them outdoors, on the roof terrace of the house he was working in. His installations are balanced, calm. They bring peace and tranquility to the mind, or at least this is how I experience them. I perceive your work as extremely personal. Affection, empathy and compassion are words that come to my mind when I think of your practice. I look at the flag he created for Chambres d’Amis and I think of your beautiful textile pieces. And somehow I can't stop thinking about hanging, drying laundry...

      ︎     Dan Graham created a small-scale pavilion for the children of the residents in whose house he was working. This was a rather wealthy family of architects. The pavilion was so small, with such a low ceiling, so only the children could enter it and stand inside. I find the contrast between his work and yours very interesting, and I find many similarities too. He works a lot with glass and translucent, transparent materials, his work is almost annoyingly perfectionist. You work rather rough, with wood, with clay, but you both have this architectural approach, you both create structures. You both create space and you both play with it. Your poses are also somehow mini-scale pavilions... I am also more than curious how a large-scale installation as Dan Graham's could be re-enacted inside a 35m2 flat.

      ︎     The work of Boltanski for Chambres d’Amis, Ombres (Shadows) plays with our perception of private and public and sharpens the senses of the viewer. The small figure of a dancing ballerina whose enlarged shadow is only visible at night, makes us feel like voyeurs while looking at it. The silhouette of the dancing ballerina, which is (according to my research) made out of paper, is also visible from the restaurant where all artists participating in the exhibition were having their meetings. I’ve attached some information about Boltanski’s contribution to Chambres d’Amis from the original exhibition catalogue.


      ︎     Der Künstler, von dem ich dachte, dass er dich für ein re-enactment interessieren könnte, ist Jannis Kounellis. Für Chambres d'Amis arbeitete Kounellis mit den Fenstern. Er hat Bleiplatten auf die Fensterscheiben montiert und sie dadurch verschlossen. Bei einem der Fenster fehlten 4 Bleiplatten und eines musste immer offen bleiben. Laut dem Kurator Jan Hoet, wurde Kounellis Arbeit von den Fenstern in den gotischen Kathedralen inspiriert. Ich habe einige Informationen über Kounellis Beitrag für Chambres d'Amis aus dem originalen Ausstellungskatalog beigefügt. Seine Arbeit für diese Ausstellung ist leider sehr mysteriös, man kann fast nichts darüber herausfinden! Wir haben gaaaanz große Fenster in unserer Wohnung...vielleicht sollte eines davon abgedeckt von dir werden?

       I hope to have aroused your interest! If you have any further questions (and I hope you do), write me an email or just call me, my number is in the signature. We could then discuss further details about the installation. Enclosed you will find the floor plan of the private apartment where all works will be exhibited. We will of course organise slots so that each artist can visit the flat and plan their installation. In the course of the week I will send you wall plans with exact measurements, a 3D drawing of the flat and some photos.

       As we sponsor the whole project ourselves we don't have a big budget, but we can cover some material costs. We will provide photo documentation, as well as a publication, which will of course be made available to all the artists. I will personally make every effort to show our appreciation for your participation in the show!

       I would be more than happy to welcome you in our living room! Looking forward to your response!

Yours sincerely,

[1] Jan Hoet: Chambres d’amis: Gent 21 Juni-21 September 1986. Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst 1986.
[2] C’est la vie, n.d., Artforum, (accessed 11.25.21).
[3] Jan Hoet: Chambres d’amis: Gent 21 Juni-21 September 1986. Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst 1986.
[4] Helmut Middendorf: Overview [WWW Document], n.d., Galerie Boulakia. (accessed 11.25.21).
[5] Helmut Middendorf: Overview [WWW Document], n.d., Galerie Boulakia. (accessed 11.25.21).
[6] Royden Rabinowitch [WWW Document], n.d., (accessed 11.25.21).
[7] Gilberto Zorio [WWW Document], n.d., (accessed 11.25.21).
[8] Jan Hoet: Chambres d’amis: Gent 21 Juni-21 September 1986. Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst 1986.
[9] Jan Hoet: Chambres d’amis: Gent 21 Juni-21 September 1986. Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst 1986.
[10] Jan Hoet: Chambres d’amis: Gent 21 Juni-21 September 1986. Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst 1986.
[11] Chambres d’Amis | Artworks | Collections | M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp [WWW Document], n.d., (accessed 11.25.21).
[12] Jan Vercruysse | LES PAROLES [Letto] IV (1999) | Artsy [WWW Document], n.d., (accessed 1.11.22).
[13] Schellmann Art [WWW Document], n.d., (accessed 11.25.21).
[14] Jan Hoet: Chambres d’amis: Gent 21 Juni-21 September 1986. Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst 1986.