The project Orangerie takes as its starting point the architecture of Het Paviljoen, a freestanding transparent structure in the green court of KASK, and its specific historical context. Once a hospital building that sheltered pregnant women and most recently an exhibition space, Het Paviljoen has always been more than simply a display case.
Throughout the centuries, the function of orangeries evolved and expanded socially and practically. Originating from the Renaissance and the gardens of the Medici family, orangeries were designed as enclosed structures with tall vertical windows to grow and protect citrus trees during the wintertime. Later they would become a space for social gatherings. Far from being simply greenhouses for practical use, orangeries represent a unique work of artifice, a venue for hosting plants and the arts, pleasure and enlightenment. It is no coincidence that the renowned Crystal Palace in London was constructed for both horticulture and for exhibitions, and some of the biggest orangeries in Paris and Vienna have also been transformed into art galleries.
The idea of any conservatory, however, has had a historical relation to an outgrowth of global trade, innovation, and later, imperialism, and refers not only to the notion of care and preservation, but also to control (the extension of the growing season, and the hunt for the exotic plants for example). Addressing the concept of the ‘orangerie’ as a metaphor, the exhibition seeks to offer perspectives on such significant notions as preservation, care, control and coexistence from the artistic perspective. This Orangerie provides a space to grow and flourish – for diverse aesthetics, ideas and values.
The exhibition commences with contributions by Marius Ritiu, Tom Hallet and Sophia Attigui. The theme and the format of the exhibition is thus set by the dialogue between the artworks of these first residents of Orangerie. Marius Ritiu’s Hoia Baciu 1 (2020), a monumental sculpture in copper, resembles a tree-trunk that petrified in an ambiguous shape. In contrast, Tom Hallet’s Atargatis (A New Kind of Tenderness) (2021) evokes the process of germination, both metaphorically and literally. This fleshy sculpture, which at first glance resembles a decaying corpse, regenerates itself with seeds growing and flowers popping up through the cracks in its skin throughout the course of the exhibition. Experimenting at the verge of the graphic and the textual, the poetic and the political, Sophia Attigui contributes to the visual identity of Orangerie and will develop a work reflecting on, and reacting to, the aesthetics and ideas nurtured in the space. Orangerie will grow gradually during the period between July and September 2021 through an OPEN CALL. The finissage of the exhibition will present the outgrowth of contributions, ideas and values developed by the participants within the three-month period of the Orangerie residency at Het Paviljoen.
Thanks to Sophia Attigui, Arne Bastien, Tom Hallet, Nav Haq, Laura Herman, Marius Ritiu, Anastasia Tupikova, Georges Uittenhout.