ELEPHY AT HARLAN LEVEY PROJECTS
Scenography by BUREAUY (Yuichiro Onuma)
© Adriaan Hauwaert
"Laying Bricks" is a four-person exhibition presenting new moving image and photographic works by artists and filmmakers Rebecca Jane Arthur, Chloë Delanghe, Eva Giolo and Christina Stuhlberger, the founding members of elephy, a Brussels-based production and distribution platform for film and media art. Working together in a flexible structure that responds to the needs and sustainability of each creative project, elephy supports its productions by providing them with an artist-run, professional framework which ensures that they can be made with the greatest artistic freedom.
A significant cornerstone within the activities of elephy is the commitment to creating a space for individual and collective agency within a framework of convivial solidarity. So, too, does the exhibition mirror this intention. elephy artists often apply documentary strategies and personal narration to paint filmic portraits of people and places that create windows into the unseen; usually private, interior worlds. Each of the works presented in the show constellates around notions of building and belonging, being part of a sense of 'Home', and how living spaces can be created, occupied, deserted or destroyed. An orthodox definition of home implies a physically demarcated structure or territory, such as a house; but home can also be imagined as having no specifically defined material shape, where its very demarcations are points of connectedness, mutual learning, and new ways of creating and experiencing a community that are capable of generating collective systems while supporting individual autonomy.
While the four artists have each collaborated together in some capacity or other since elephy's formation in 2018, this is the first time that they are all showing as individual artists in a joint exhibition. The exhibition, then, is also adding a new layer to their synergetic foundations, and formulating hypotheses about how a circumscribed exhibition format can open up to a multi-dimensional space for art, friendship and community.
As such, "Laying Bricks" is also a proposal: to shape an exhibition into a common space for working and thinking together, a site of accessibility to things that can be learned and shared, a hospitable meeting place for talking, connecting and building foundations with others. To this end, the duration of the show will be punctuated by an expanded events programme related to elephy's multifaceted activities and methodology, including Talking Collectively, an open, round-table conversation with other artist-run production platforms; the book launch of BE GOOD, IF YOU CAN'T BE GOOD, BE GOOD AT IT Boom Boom Boom Boom (2021) by Rebecca Jane Arthur and Eva Giolo; and an audiovisual workshop with the all-girl basketball team, the Molenbeek Rebels, organised by Christina Stuhlberger. Through the latter workshop, elephy will explore how to film spontaneous, short-form videos, honouring the local context by the revisiting and display of Johan Grimonprez' 1994 short film, Comment filmer Molenbeek? (How to Film Molenbeek?), in which filmmaker Franciska Lambrechts gave a Super-8 workshop with young people from Molenbeek twenty-five years ago.
With the events programme (also part of the ethos of Harlan Levey Projects), the gallery not only hosts an exhibition, but again reasserts itself as a location for reflection, creation, and social relations. It both welcomes and works with the local community, precisely contextualising its activities within the neighbourhood of Molenbeek. elephy, meanwhile, constructs an exhibition that generates a sense of attention and collaboration. Laying bricks, those impervious building blocks, one step at a time, to create a sense of 'Home'.
Text by Adrienne Drake, director and curator of the Fondazione Giuliani for contemporary art in Rome.