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Basis voor Actuele Kunst - BAK

Public Institution
Once is Nothing, part of Brussels Biennial 1–Opening 19.10.2008, Brussels
  Once is Nothing
Brussels Biennial 1

Opening 19.10.2008, 10.00 hrs, Brussels

A joint contribution by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven to the Brussels Biennial 1.

From 19 October 2008 until 4 January 2009, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven present the collaborative project Once is Nothing at the inaugural Brussels Biennial, founded in 2007 by artistic director Barbara Vanderlinden. The opening of the Brussels Biennial 1 takes place on Sunday 19 October at 10.00 hrs at the Post Sorting Center, Avenue Fonsnylaan 48, 1060 Brussels.

In an attempt to reorient the tired model of biennial exhibitions, artistic director Vanderlinden invited a selection of experimental art institutions from the region of "Eurocore" (Rem Koolhaas), spanning through the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany, to develop exhibitions rethinking the notion of modernity in the globalized world.

The joint project by BAK and Van Abbemuseum titled Once is Nothing responds to this framework by revisiting an exhibition on the subject of "global modernity" from another biennial: Individual Systems, curated by Igor Zabel at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. This precise curatorial statement, articulated from the perspective of the beginning of the twenty-first century, is partially reconstructed in Once is Nothing through an interpretation of the exhibition's architecture by artist Josef Dabernig, who designed the original plan for Venice. As such, it allows the void in its midst to speak for the works of art absent in a physical sense. This absence serves as both recognition that repetition is impossible and undermines the demand for endless innovation found in most art biennials. The project is an attempt to create a pause in the flow of art production and its consumption. In place of works, Once is Nothing presents a tangible experience of the building, the view out of the windows at the city's modernist past, a reference book with pictures and texts about both shows available for visitors to take away, and a new work by Belgian artist Patrick Corillon. The visitors are invited to engage with questions of exhibition making, institutional responsibility versus biennial culture, continuity, and memory and above all, with the key element of empowerment that art has on offer, imagination.

Artists: Victor Alimpiev & Marian Zhunin, Pawe? Althamer, Art & Language, Josef Dabernig, IRWIN (Dusan Mandic', Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek, Borut Vogelnik), Luisa Lambri, Yuri Leiderman, Andrei Monastyrski, Pavel Mrkus, Roman Opalka, Marko Peljhan, Florian Pumhösl, Simon Starling, Mladen Stilinovic', and Nahum Tevet, with architecture by Josef Dabernig and a new work by Patrick Corillon.

The project is realized in memory of Igor Zabel.

On the opening day of the Brussels Biennial 1, a panel discussion entitled The Biennial as Global Phenomenon: Strategies in Neo-Political Times with among others, BAK artistic director Maria Hlavajova and Van Abbemuseum director Charles Esche, takes place from 12.00-19.00 hrs at deBuren, Leopoldstraat 6, 1000 Brussels. Please register before 10 October at

Opening hours Brussels Biennial 1:
Tuesday-Sunday from 10.00-18.00 hrs, Thursday from 10.00-21.00 hrs.

Entrance fee (valid for all venues):
Regular / Reduced
One-day Ticket € 10,00 / € 7,00
Two-day Ticket € 12,00 / € 8,00
Pass, valid throughout the
duration of the Biennial € 16,00 / € 12,00
Groups > 10 p. € 8,00 / € 7,00
Groups > 20 p., reservations compulsory.
Children > 12 years free entry

For further information on the Brussels Biennial 1, including venues, the (off) program, and reservations please contact Anne-Sophie Van Neste: e:, t: +32 (0)2 5078345,

For further information about BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, please contact: e:, t: +31 (0)30 2316125,

For further information about Van Abbemuseum, please contact: e:, t: +31 (0)40 2381000,
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