16/03/13 – 29/03/13 at Wolke
The Ister presents THE LONG LEASH, an exhibition with Bank, Aline Bouvy & John Gillis, Audrey Cottin, Lucile Desamory, Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, Rachel Koolen, Chris Lecler, Nathaniel Mellors, Shelly Nadashi, James Richards, Anna Solal.
« In order to encourage openness we had to be secret. »
Tom Braden, first chief of the CIA’s International Organisations Division in an interview with Frances Stonor
Saunders, The Independent, 22 October 1995
» They took me to a place and undressed me, and I stayed there in my shirt and underwear: I don’t know if the
effect was beautiful, but it was the situation. »
Paul Vanden Boeynants in his press conference of the 15 of February 1989
« The Long Leash” envisages itself as drifting between two events: A press conference by former
Belgian Prime Minister and leader of the PSC-CVP party Paul Vanden Boeyants, in which he
describes the peculiar circumstances of his kidnapping in 1989 by a fake extremist political group (the
self-proclaimed « Socialist Revolutionary Squad »); and comments made by former head of the CIA Tom
Braden, in which he reveals the existence of a secret cultural propaganda programme dubbed « the
Long Leash », implemented during the Cold War era as a strategy to culturally usurp the Soviet Union
and expose their incapability to produce « high » art.
The absurd tone that arises from both events brings this exhibition to life. In Braden’s case, his
narrative worthy of a classic CIA conspiracy becomes esoteric and unreasonable – however grounded
in fact – while Vanden Boyenants’ televised soliloquy transforms a personal experience into an
uncanny event through which reality is derided and exposed via pomp, self-derision, and humour.
The exhibited works take on the framework of a cockamamie reality, holding both truth and gross
ambiguity. In effect, each work becomes its own myth.
The original video documentation of Vanden Boyenants’ press conference will be on view in the
exhibition along with a printed copy of the article by Frances Stonor Saunders from which the words
of Tom Braden are taken out: « Modern Art was CIA weapon », published in The Independent of
Sunday the 22nd of October, 1995.
Modern art was CIA « weapon »
—- images below —-
Rachel Koolen, The Dummy: Sphinx, 2013.
Aline Bouvy & John Gillis, Ingénierie Sociale I, 2013;
Rachel Koolen, The Dummy: Sphinx, 2013
Rachel Koolen, holy pie – angry pie – ghost pie – empty pie – conscious pie
- first pie, 2013
Shelly Nadashi, Medium, 2012
Chris Lecler, Stoly, 2011
Chris Lecler, Stoly, 2011 (detail)
Rachel Koolen, Bannière de Fanions, 2013
Anna Solal, A Letter from Michael Jackson to Joseph Merrick, 2012
James Richards, Not Blacking Out, Just Turning the Lights Off, 2011/12
Bank, Fax-Back (The Bible of Networking at Sali Gia), 1998
Lucile Desamory, La Nuit de la Saint-Jean, 2010
Rachel Koolen, Interface, 2013
Audrey Cottin, La Lettre Anonyme, 2013
Nathaniel Mellors, Seven Ages of Britain Teaser, 2010
Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, The Deserter, 1997
Rachel Koolen, Rough Neck, 2013
<a href=’http://www.theister.be/files/the-long-leash-portfolio.pdf’TARGET= »_blank »><strong>Download the long leash portfolio.pdf</strong></a>
<a href= »http://www.contemporaryartdaily.com/2013/03/the-long-leash-at-the-ister-2/ » target=_blank><strong>contemporary art daily</strong></a>
<a href= »http://moussemagazine.it/the-long-leash/ »target=_blank><strong>mousse magazine</strong></a>