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- Until 01.10.2022

In Manon van den Eedenʼs ‘Hot Spellʼ, the top floor of FRED&FERRY finds a gush of fresh air, inhabited by precise sculptural installations. While the half of the attic is left in its original rough, dirty and crooked state— the other half is rendered neat and bright with new lights, white paint and lifted platforms for display.

Her sculptural installations recalibrate personal elements of attraction. Thinking of bodies pouring sweat, their eyesight blurred, minds confused, ‘Hot Spell’ references features from heating and cooling elements. Their surfaces, shapes and finishes are scaled and tailored to the exhibition space. Itʼs a matter of fit— of bodily relation.

The first thing you see upon entering are two sculptures circular and free standing— in what could best be described as— a stab of completeness. The figure of mirror and circle, relate through the installations of ‘Hot Spell’, which transverse space, visitor, and material conditions alike.

Resting on high thin legs of beech wood, a room-filling platform displays a sculpture of two connected curved mirrors. Two door openings, direct the angles from which to see the sculpture, which reflects and contains the room in its bloated mirrors. The notion of ‘turning outward’.

On a wall, a ventilator is mounted horizontally, its proportions made to measure. The skeletons of radiators and air-conditioners are designed with ribbed finishes, to touch as much air as feasible. In the 18th century, home radiators were neatly designed into the interiorʼs architecture. Fighting heat and cold depending on the season, regulating a liveable temperature in our living spaces has been one of humankindʼs key challenges. And to produce heat, we produce the cold, and the other way around.

In another space of the attic, is a niche, a space with two windows, a bizarre in-between space in which Manon built a plateau; a new floor for her oval sculpture, made of what looks like round mirrors pierced by the holder that binds them together. The room is freshly lit, beaming white floating floorboards. The movement of images and the movement of people mutually illuminate each other.*

Temperature binds us all under the same condition. The title of the exhibition ‘Hot Spellʼ references a movie from 1958 in which a family drama unfolds during a heatwave. A cheating husband— his wife tries to keep the family together while everybody knows, people pretend and play along. As goes with drama, it escalates: the man dies and life continues as if nothing ever happened.

Growing up, Manon watched movies with her father who, as a cameraman, watched them leaving the sound off. Like in ‘Hot Spellʼ, — only shape, geometry and ambivalence left of props that live with us.

Text by Céline Mathieu

* Phrase by Mieke Bal, ʼThe Contemporary Condition, Exhibition-ism: Temporal Togethernessʼ, Sternberg Press, 2020

Pictures by © Silvia Cappellari




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Contemporary Art Belgium is a platform dedicated to provide a selection of current contemporary art exhibitions in Belgium. It was created to turn a spotlight on the large and very dynamic Belgian contemporary art scene as well as to connect people and start dialogues.

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