Ciel Grommen, Maximiliaan Royakkers & Accattone Domesticity and Hospitality 03.07.2021
an afternoon of talks and encounters in and about the disturbed landscape
special guests: Sophie Dars & Carlo Menon from Accattone magazine
Join us on the 3rd of July for an afternoon dedicated to the artistic and architectural practices dealing with landscape as a site of domesticity and hospitality.
This special day marks a turning point for the long-term research project Le Paysage Ménagé, initiated in 2019 by Ciel Grommen and Maximiliaan Royakkers on commission by CIAP and FLACC.
Departing from the question of how to inhabit the ‘disturbed landscape’of Winterslag, the project envisioned a series of spatial interventions, ‘furniture’ for the landscape that invite us to make new connections with and within it. Starting this summer, the heated daybed which the artist are currently constructing on the C-mine site, will become a public furniture, used by the art organisations, guests, neighbours, but also providing shelter for small animals and breeding ground for plants.
The talk is the first episode in the series of events planned on and around the heated daybed, and bringing together its different users.
3.00-3.30 PM Artist talk with Ciel Grommen and Maximiliaan Royakkers
3.45-4.15 PM Talk with Sophie Dars & Carlo Menon from Accattone
4.30-5.00 PM Q&A on and around the heated daybed
3.00-6.00 PM Launch of the edition Verwarmde aarde, verstoorde grond by Grommen & Royakkers
The afternoon starts with a talk by the two artists behind Le Paysage Ménagé — Ciel Grommen and Maximiliaan Royakkers, who will take us on a visual journey through their research, going back to the concepts underpinning the project. Making their way through their archive, the artists will talk about their experience of working with ‘disturbed landscapes’, about ‘furnishing’ instead of ‘developing’, and they will share amazing stories they ‘unearthed’ in the course of the project. It is a moment of reflection on the values and ambitions from which Le Paysage Ménagé originated, and at the same time, an opportunity to open the project up and re-embed it in a broader context.
This is where the presentation by Sophie Dars & Carlo Menon, the editors of Accattone magazine, comes in. Sophie and Carlo will share some insight into the making of the magazine — or, as they call it, ‘an exhibition on paper’— and they will zoom in on a few specific practices featured in the latest, 7th issue, deal with open-air domesticity and the diplomatic hospitality of land.
Following the two presentations, all guests are invited to join the artists and the editors for an informal Q&A moment on and around the platform. This moment will also mark the official launch of the edition Verwarmde aarde, verstoorde grond developed by Ciel and Max in collaboration with CIAP.
Both presentations will take place at C-mine (specific location TBC) and the Q&A will take place at the heated daybed, on the C-mine site (see the map).
Throughout the entire afternoon, the edition, the 7th issue of Accattone magazine and other related publications will be displayed and distributed at the CIAP stand at the daybed.
Ciel Grommen (°1989, Sint-Truiden) and Maximiliaan Royakkers (°1988, Hasselt) are a duo of artists/architects, whose work on the threshold of artistic research, education and spatial design questions present social, political and ecological dynamics. Often taking complex social contexts anddisturbed landscapes as a starting point, Grommen and Royakkers develop their projects through extensive fieldwork, spatial interventions, and other interactive, participatory formats. Their role as spatial practitioners involves weaving of new narratives into spaces and testing out alternative ways of living-together, inhabiting, and relating to our environments.
Accattone explores minor practices in art and architecture through the specific means of the printed magazine. As an exhibition on paper, each issue is a montage of contributions whose shared positions towards reality, history and representation resonate with one another. A-periodical, self-published and non-subsidized, Accattone was launched in 2014 by two architects (Sophie Dars & Carlo Menon) and two graphic designers (Ismaël Bennani & Orfée Grandhomme), joined in 2019 by architect Galaad Van Daele.
Contributors to Accattone #7 (May 2021): Costantino Nivola, SNCDA et al. at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Aglaia Konrad, Alice Paris on De Smet Vermeulen, Osamu Ishiyama and Kenji Kawai, TEN, Wim Cuyvers, moilesautresart, DSCTHK, Piovenefabi, Emmanuelle Chiappone Piriou on Superstudio, Carlo Goncalves on Smiljan Radic, The Museum of Mistakes on Arakawa & Gins, and Zuber panoramic wallpapers.
This is the first in the series of events planned on and around the heated daybed, a public sculpture created by Ciel Grommen and Maximiliaan Royakkers within the scope of the project Le Paysage Ménagé.
The project has been realised in co-production with FLACC — workplace for visual artists, and with the support of the Flemish Community, the City of Genk, and CIAP members. Le Paysage Ménagé is part of ELEMENTS — a collaboration between art and cultural institutions in Dutch Limburg, Belgian Limburg and Liège and North Rhine-Westphalia.
Marina Sula’s practice spans photography, sculpture, and installation. She appropriates elements from the realms of industry, design, and advertising to construct highly controlled yet ambiguous environments.
Her interest gravitates towards objects and sites that problematise the distinction between original/generic, individual/collective, private/public, such as waiting rooms, offices, and airports. In blending the persuasive, utilitarian language of forms specific to industry and advertising with more intimate registers, her work transmits a similar sense of ambiguity.
In the months leading to the exhibition, the artist amassed a vast archive of ‘poor images’, either snapped with her phone or pulled off of the internet. All of them exhibit the kind of hyperreal, enhanced genericness characteristic of stock footage or ads. These images have been manipulated and transformed using both digital reproduction techniques and manual work and given a physical presence, encased in acrylic boxes or embedded in stainless-steel benches. In the nearly 10-meters-tall former industrial hall, the works are positioned directly on the floor, softly guiding the viewers through the layers of mirroring surfaces and deconstructed images.
The exhibition can be visited every Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm.
Marina Sula (1991°, Lezhe, Albania) lives and works in Vienna. She studied Art History at the University of Vienna and photography at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Currently, Sula is an artist-in-residence at Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. Her solo exhibitions include: I’m Sorry, I can’t, don’t hate me at Gabriele Senn Gallery, Vienna (2019); Warten at Viennacontemporary (2019); After Solitude at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna (2018); What is it like.. at Kunstverein Kevin Space, Vienna (2016). Her work has been shown in group exhibitions at: Galerie der Stadt Schwaz (2021); National Gallery, Prishtina (2021); GAM Fondazione Musei, Turin (2020); PCP Gallery, Paris (2020); Kunstverein Kevin Space, Vienna (2020); Nir Altmann, Munich (2020); Kunstforum, Vienna (2020), Belvedere 21 – Museum for Contemporary Art, Vienna (2019); Croy Nielsen, Vienna (2018).
With kind support of Flemish Community, the City of Genk, CIAP’s members and Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlichen Dienst und Sport in Austria.
FLACC vzw and CIAP vzw are looking for a driven artistic director who, together with the team, will give shape to the new organsation.
Still this year, CIAP, platform for contemporary art, and FLACC, workplace for visual artists, will merge into one organisation, which will move to a new location at the C-mine site in 2022. The new organisation will combine the strengths and functions of both partners: FLACC, with their long-standing expertise as a workplace, supporting artistic development, and CIAP, with their model of Kunstverein and the 45 years’ experience in mediating and exhibiting contemporary visual arts.
Working in synergy with C-mine and other like-minded partners, this new organisation will offer artists space, time, and resources to experiment and develop new projects, but also share them with others. With a broad array of activities — workshops, exhibitions, talks, social gatherings, and many more — it will become a new meeting space for artists, art lovers, neighbours, and broader public. The innovative, creative environment of C-mine and Genk — the city in constant transformation — provides a fertile ground for this new development. In line with Genk’s past as station d’artistes, a beloved refuge for artists, researchers, and thinkers, this unique context offers an opportunity to become an artist colony of the future.
You take the lead in drawing up and executing the artistic strategy, in close and open collaboration with the team and the artistic committee;
You work closely with artists from Belgium and abroad, and you are able to translate ideas into an ambitious but realistic framework;
Together with the team, you develop an ambitious policy and action plan for the new organisation, which must be submitted to the Flemish government at the end of 2021;
You function as the representative and the public face of the organisation; and you give space, within their respective areas, to your colleagues, the artistic leader of the workplaces and the curator;
You report, in consultation with the team, to the board and the artistic committee on the artistic level;
You coordinate the business-financial side of your plans with the business leader;
You prepare annual reports, policy plans, subsidy files and other forms of reporting.
You have a university degree (MA) or other relevant experience;
You have at least 5 years of relevant experience in a leading position;
You have a great interest in and affinity for contemporary visual arts;
You have experience as a manager and someone who connects and can bring out the best in others (in the external network, the internal organisation and among artists).
You respect deadlines, and you are able to handle different tasks simultaneously and set your priorities.
You have excellent organisational skills, combining decisiveness and accuracy with flexibility.
You are looking for creative solutions, and you are motivated to maintain and increase financial flows.
You are proactive, and you bring in new ideas without playing solo. You act in cooperation with others.
You are flexible with regard to work and time arrangements and read to work in flexible hours, including evening and weekend work;
You have sufficient knowledge of Dutch and English (other languages are a plus).
You are a real team player, and you find good atmosphere in the workplace really important.
What we offer
Full-time contract (100%) with flexible working hours;
Salary according to cao PC 329.01 (socio-cultural work), barema L1;
Indefinite term contract;
Job with a lot of room for your own initiative;
An inspiring workplace, where collaboration is central;
A great team;
Seniority up to 10 years will be covered.
To apply, send your motivation letter and CV via email atten. Rita Ceuppens at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We expect your application at latest by June, 22 2021.
The job interviews will take place physically in Genk, in the week of 21 June. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a second, in-depth interview and presentation of their vision for the new organisation in the week of June 28.
CIAP and FLACC do not discriminate between candidates based on age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability or nationality.
Laila Melchior & Koi Persyn winners of the 2021 Lichen prize
Laila Melchior & Koi Persyn
Curatorial Studies at KASK & Conservatorium and CIAP are delighted to announce CS alumni Laila Melchior and Koi Persyn as the winners of the 2021 Lichen Prize for Curators. The jury appreciated the duo’s curatorial concerns with questions of place and landscape, interests that align with those of CIAP, and which will be the ground for a fertile collaboration and exchange. The exhibition will take place in 2022.
About the curators
Laila Melchior is an independent curator and researcher investigating the fields of contemporary art and audiovisual aesthetics. She holds a master’s degree in Communication and Culture from UFRJ (BR) and a postgraduate degree in Curatorial Studies from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK). Laila Melchior works on projects related to arts, film and theory, looking to incorporate perspectives from the Global South into her projects. As a curator, she collaborates with art institutions. Some of her recent projects are the exhibitions Trojan Horse Behind Glass; Time, Times. Half a Time; and The Ghost Library. She is one of the founders and part of the curatorial board of Aventuras do Pensamento, a series of encounters between a children-composed audience and some of the greatest contemporary Brazilian thinkers, scientists and artists that since 2016 discusses pressing issues in the political, innovative and creative horizon of the country. Laila Melchior has also designed the Young Curators Programme, a project which she coordinates to promote a greater engagement of emerging curators in the frame of Belgian participation in the Venice Biennale. Formerly a lecturer at the undergraduate course in Cinema and Digital Media at IESB (Brasilia – BR), she has also published and presented academic works.
Koi Persyn is a Brussels-based independent curator and visual artist. He obtained a master’s in Fine Arts at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) after which he completed a postgraduate in Curatorial Studies, also at KASK. During his studies, Koi Persyn founded and co-curated STOCK, a three-year-running residency programme in Het Paviljoen, Ghent. His artistic and curatorial trajectory encompasses notions of authorship and collectivity, employing experimentation with exhibition formats in unconventional locations. His curatorial projects focus on process-based, experimental, and interdisciplinary practices through open-air, collaborative, site-specific exhibitions and residency programmes. Koi Persyn participated in the exchange programme with BIDAI college of arts in Kanazawa (JP) and worked in the framework of the Young Curators Program as a mediator for the Belgian Pavilion at the 58th edition of the Venice Biennale. Koi Persyn is currently co-curating Publiek Park, an open-air group exhibition in the Citadelpark of Ghent, as part of his activities in the frame of the Young Friends of S.M.A.K.
About Lichen prize
As a testing ground for visual thinking in diverse forms, CIAP and Curatorial Studies — KASK & Conservatorium have initiated and endowed the Lichen Prize to foster and support curatorial innovation in Belgium. The call is open to all alumnae and alumni of the Curatorial Studies programme — as well as of its earlier forms: TEBEAC and ‘Beheer, conservatie en restauratie van museale collecties hedendaagse kunst’ — regardless of age, current professional status or geographic location. In fall 2020, CIAP and Curatorial Studies proudly presentedPetrichor, a group exhibition curated by the laureate of the 2019 edition, Lucie Ménard.
Exhibition view: Petrichor, an exhibition curated by the winner of Lichen 2019, Lucie Ménard.
Promising developments on the art scene in Limburg as two organisations join forces. Still this year, CIAP, platform for contemporary art, and FLACC, workplace for visual artists, will merge into one organisation, which will move to a new location at
the C-mine site in 2022.
In 2018, the news of the future house for FLACC and CIAP at the C-mine site was announced. The architectural project, designed by 51n4e (Brussels) and Point Supreme (Athens), combines ateliers, living facilities, indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces, café, and a public garden. The project is supported by the city of Genk and the Flemish Community. In the last two years, CIAP and FLACC have been working behind-the-scenes on this new infrastructure, but also on the model for the new organisation that will inhabit it.
The two organisations jointly decided that merging is in the best interest of their shared future. The new organisation will combine the strengths and functions of both partners: FLACC, with their long-standing expertise as a workplace, supporting artistic development, and CIAP, with 45 years’ experience in mediating and exhibiting contemporary visual arts.
Working in synergy with C-mine and other like-minded partners, this new organisation will offer artists space, time, and resources to experiment and develop new projects, but also share them with others. With a broad array of activities — workshops, exhibitions, talks, social gatherings, and many more — it will become a new meeting space for artists, art lovers, neighbours, and broader public. The innovative, creative environment of C-mine and Genk — the city in constant transformation — provides a fertile ground for this new development. In line with Genk’s past as “station d’artistes”, a beloved refuge for artists, researchers, and thinkers, this unique context offers an opportunity to become an artist colony of the future.
CIAP and FLACC are currently developing and sharpening the profile, programme, and identity of this new organisation. Meanwhile, you can follow their current programmes via their individual websites.
Sasha Litvintseva & Beny Wagner Book launch & talk 31.03.2021
The publication All Thoughts Fly: Monster, Taxonomy, Film bySasha Litvintseva & Beny Wagner is a continuation of a multimedia project that began with the film A Demonstration.
The book launch coincides with the closing of Litvintseva’s & Wagner’s exhibition A Demonstrationat CIAP. During the event, the artists will speak with curator and writer Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk about the book and their research.
The talk will be live-streamed on our website, on Wednesday the 31st of March. We start at 7pm. This event is held in English.
All Thoughts Fly: Monster, Taxonomy, Film is a narrative assemblage of prose and image. At once historical, theoretical and personal, the book continues the authors’ inquiry into the curious presence of taxonomies of monsters at the heart of Early Modern European science. The word ‘monster’ comes from the Latin ‘monstrare’, meaning ‘to show’, ‘to demonstrate’, ‘to reveal’. Picking up on this etymology, the authors explore monsters as prisms for modes of seeing and deciphering the natural world. When treated as perceptual apparatus, the monster also becomes a means of probing the medium of film and its relationship to indexicality, chance, corporeality, and metamorphosis.
This book extends a multimedia project the authors began with their film A Demonstration (2020). The film’s underlying modular formal structure is here reconfigured and brought into new relations specific to the book as a medium.
The book is designed by Christophe Clarijs, co-produced by CIAP, and published by Sonic Acts– an interdisciplinary art organisation based in Amsterdam.
Ciel Grommen & Maximiliaan Royakkers Le Paysage Ménagé #2 28.03–11.05.2021
Le Paysage Ménagé is a long-term research project of Ciel Grommen and Maximiliaan Royakkers, developed in collaboration with CIAP and FLACC – workplace for visual artists, inviting us to imagine new ways of being in the landscape and making connections with and within it. Taking the complex, post-industrial landscape of Winterslag as a starting point, the project envisages a series of spatial interventions, or ‘furniture’, which can function as both physical and figurative platforms for dialogue.
To ‘furnish’ a landscape means to create something provisional and flexible, to take a stance without planting a flag or claiming the territory. The first piece to furnish the C-mine site is a temporary brick platform – a unique meeting place where during the day meals and stories are shared and at nights animals and plants take over. Inspired by the Chinese ‘kang’ bed and the Russian ‘pechka’ stove, the platform can be heated up from the inside, emanating warmth and aura of hospitality.
The material used to construct this platform takes its roots in the local history; as the only mining site in Genk, Winterslag operated a brickyard, where the residue of the mining process was transformed into building material for the rapidly expanding residential districts. Still today, the characteristic black-charred bricks, known as Winterslagse Duivels (‘the devils of Winterslag’), clad the facades all over the neighbourhood.
With the support of passionate experts and amateurs, Grommen and Royakkers have developed a parallel brick-making technique, using the so-called ‘minestone’ – a mixture of sand, clay, and water, present in the ground and officially considered ‘waste material’. Those bricks are hand-formed, air-dried, and fired on-site, in a temporary field oven. With every baking cycle, this low-tech oven is assembled and disassembled again.
Every step in this slow production process takes place in the public space. The baking cycles become an opportunity to experiment, to exchange knowledge, and to engage in conversations about the local landscape with the visitors, neighbours, fellow artists, and
Where to see the work-in-progress?
We invite you to follow the project online, on our social media and our website, or come by C-mine to see the work-in-progress. In late February, Grommen and Royakkers will set up a temporary open-air brickyard at the foot of the terril (slag heap) adjacent to C-mine.
The artists will be working on the site during the baking cycles on the following dates:
28/03 – 31/03
18/04 – 22/04
07/05 – 11/05
In May, the bricks will be used to construct the daybed, in which forms, techniques, and materials inspired by both distant and local traditions come together; a concept which resonates with the multicultural character of Genk. In June, we plan a special inauguration of the platform, with an exciting public programme. More info will follow soon.
The project is realised in co-production with FLACC — workplace for visual artists. With the support of the Flemish Community, the City of Genk, and CIAP members. Le paysage Ménagé is part of the ELEMENTS partnership in which contemporary art and cultural institutions in Dutch Limburg, Belgian Limburg and Liège program around an ‘element’ associated with the region.
Sasha Litvintseva & Beny Wagner A Demonstration 17.01–14.03.2021
in collaboration with Chevalier-Masson, Point Supreme & 51N4E
A Demonstration is a monster film with no monsters. Inspired by the existence of taxonomies of monsters at the heart of early modern European science, the film explores and reinterprets a way of seeing the natural world that is almost impossible to imagine from today’s vantage point. Early Modern naturalists were guided by a logic in which truths were discovered through visual analogy. The word ‘monster’ comes from the latin ‘monstrare’, meaning to show, to reveal, to demonstrate. A Demonstration picks up on these themes in a poetic exploration of the boundaries of sight and the metamorphosis of form.
Presented for the first time in the exhibition setting, the film comes into a dialogue with scenography designed by textile designers Chevalier-Masson (Brussels) in collaboration with architectural offices 51N4E (Brussels) and Point Supreme (Athens). Set in the vast, emptied-out machinery hall at C-mine, a former mining site, this temporary, three-dimensional structure generates a sense of spatial and architectural destabilisation. Much like the grottos and follies of Mannerist gardens, it explores the architecture’s ability to affect the body, to show and conceal, to guide and mislead.
Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner are artists, filmmakers, researchers and writers. They’ve been working collaboratively in moving image, text, and lectures since 2017. Focussing on moving image as a tool for the active production of new worlds, their practice has been driven by questions about the thresholds between the body and its surroundings, knowledge regimes and power, modes of organizing and perceiving the natural world.
Their combined and individual work has been presented globally: Berlinale, Rotterdam, Courtisane, Cinema Du Reel, RIDM, Ann Arbor, Alchemy and Guanajuato film festivals, Eye Film Museum, HKW Berlin, ICA London, CAC Vilnius, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Berlinische Galerie, MUMOK Vienna, Sonic Acts, Impakt Festival, Berlin Atonal and the Videobrasil, Moscow Young Art, Wroclaw Media Art, Venice Art and Venice Architecture biennales.
Wagner is a lecturer of fine arts at Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam and Litvintseva is a lecturer in film at Queen Mary University of London.
With the support of the Flemish Community, the City of Genk, C-mine Cultuurcentrum, and CIAP members.
Luca Vanello & Sina Hensel Temporalities of the studio 08.11.2020
Through their practices, Sina Hensel and Luca Vanello explore the artwork as a process, an ongoing event rather than a finished object. During the talk, they will discuss how the mutability and various temporalities of the materials they use affect their artworks.
Both Sina Hensel and Luca Vanello participate in the exhibition ‘Petrichor’ at CIAP Kunstverein, curated by Lucie Ménard.
Named after the earthy scent emanating from dry soil during summer rain, Petrichor echoes the fleeting nature of the artistic practices presented in the exhibition. What if artworks were envisioned as continuously changing processes, appearing and disappearing in the exhibition space like meteorological phenomena?
Crystallising or distorting memories, accelerating or slowing down the materials’ lifecycle, the invited artists explore different strategies of dealing with time that both surrounds and composes us.
Sina Hensel (°1986, Mainz) shares her studio with various species of plants, algae and other organisms that partake in her creative process. The acts of researching, nurturing, and harvesting are all embedded in the layers of her paintings which, just like the natural pigments she uses, alter with time and changing atmospheric conditions. Hensel received her MA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg (2013) and in 2019-2020 she was a resident at the Higher Institute for Fine Arts (HISK), Ghent. She is currently holding a research/teaching position at the Chair of Visuals Art in Architecture Department at RWTH Aachen University.
Luca Vanello (°1986, Trieste) combines perishable and organic materials with durable, synthetic ones to create his hybrid objects. Playing with various ways to alter the life cycles of the materials, he creates sculptures that seem to be frozen in time, neither developing nor deteriorating, and in doing so, he highlights the vulnerability and circularity of all living organisms.
Vanello graduated with MFA from Slade School of Fine Arts, London (2015). He is a 2020 laureate of HISK, Ghent.
Lucie Ménard (°1987, Caen) is an independent curator living in Lille. She is a 2019 alumna of the international post-graduate program Curatorial Studies at KASK School of Arts, Ghent. Since 2012, she has worked as the head of education programmes at Le Fresnoy — Studio national des arts contemporains in Tourcoing. She is one of the co-founders of moss, a cross-border collective for curatorial projects founded in 2020 in Ghent with Lieselotte Egtberts, Elisa Maupas and Anna Stoppa.
She’s the laureate of the 2019 edition of ‘Lichen’, a prize for emerging curators, established by CIAP platform for contemporary art and the department of Curatorial Studies at KASK School of Arts to foster and support curatorial experimentation in Belgium.
Ciel Grommen & Maximiliaan Royakkers Le Paysage Ménagé #1 13.09–08.11.2020
Can we create architecture that does not occupy a site but inhabits it? How do you set your proverbial foot in the landscape without trampling it? And what if it has already been trampled? These are some of the questions that kept us awake at night for over a year now.
Wide awake with us were Ciel Grommen and Maximiliaan Royakkers, a duo of artists/architects, who in 2020 joined CIAP in the endeavour of making the C-mine site and the surrounding landscape our new home. At the moment, CIAP finds itself at the point of multiple transitions, in-between institutional models, infrastructures, and locations. This complex situation, as well as the transient character of the post-industrial landscape itself, were the main starting points for the project.
In the summer of 2019, Grommen and Royakkers initiated an extensive fieldwork at C-mine site in Winterslag (Genk), surveying its polyphonic rhythm and unearthing possible intersections between our needs and those of the landscape. To best understand the intricate context at hand, the duo has reached out to different actors with close ties to the place: from the shepherd herding his stock at the site to truck drivers using it as their temporary rest-stop to botanists and geologists exploring what happens both under and above the disturbed soil. The research has gradually brought to light a great variety of often overlooked practices and species, such as the pioneering vegetation or unique insects, indwelling this seemingly vacant landscape.
Based on these findings, Grommen and Royakkers proposed a cycle of spatial interventions taking into account the unrecognised qualities of the landscape and the resources already present on site. The title of the project, Le Paysage Ménagé (literally, ‘a household landscape’), is a wordplay in the French expression un paysage aménagé (‘constructed landscape’). The removal of the prefix ‘-a’ shifts the emphasis from artificially constructing the landscape to inhabiting and taking care of it.
Le Paysage Ménagé involves the development of two complementary, physical structures for living, working, and making. The aim of the project is not only to install the figurative ‘mailbox’, marking the physical presence of CIAP on the site, but to enter into a dialogue with the local landscape and form new alliances between its different actors (organisations, artists, inhabitants, animals and plants), areas (existing architecture, civic infrastructure, spoil tips, empty lots), and functions (residential, educational, cultural, commercial).
The first spatial intervention will be launched in September 2020 and will take the form of a ceramic fireplace, inspired by the duo’s research into alternative bioclimatic and vernacular design principles. Conceived as a batch rocket stove — a type of simple, wood-burning stove — it can reach temperatures high enough to bake ceramics, and more specifically, bricks. Grommen and Royakkers will make use of this low-tech solution to bake bricks from soil coming from the adjacent terrils (spoil tips).
In this way, the artists plan to bring new life to the historic brickyard of Winterslag, which as the only mining site in Genk used the leftovers of their operation to produce building material. This unique practice transformed Winterslag from the site of extraction, emptying geological layers, into the site of production, using waste as a starting point for material transformation. Still today, the characteristic black-charred bricks, known as Winterslagse duivels (‘the devils of Winterslag’), clad the facades all over the neighbourhood.
In a slow layering process spanning over several months, Grommen and Royakkers will use the freshly produced bricks to build the ceramic structure surrounding the stove. This structure and the surrounding warm atmosphere will offer comfort to different inhabitants: people gathering over food but also birds and insects seeking shelter in the structure’s nooks and crannies. Le Paysage Ménagé lays the foundations for the new house for CIAP (and soon also FLACC) at C-mine.
photos: Stefanie Schaut
Ciel Grommen (°1989, Sint-Truiden) and Maximiliaan Royakkers (°1988, Hasselt) are a duo of artists/architects, whose work on the threshold of artistic research, education and spatial design questions present social, political and ecological dynamics. Taking complex social contexts and often disturbed landscapes as a starting point, Grommen and Royakkers develop their projects through extensive fieldwork, spatial interventions, and other interactive, participatory formats. Their role as spatial practitioners involves weaving of new narratives into spaces and testing out alternative ways of living-together, inhabiting, and relating to our environments. Ciel Grommen extended her training in architecture at the University of Leuven (2012) with a Master in contemporary art at the HEAD in Geneva (2015). Her works have been exhibited internationally, amongst others in Artsonje Art Centre, Seoul; Live In Your Head Gallery, Geneva; and Z33 in Hasselt; but even more often, they appeared in the non-institutional context, such as Petit Chateau, the asylum centre in Brussels, the post box of her neighbour, the Aldi parking lot of Borgloon, and online. Maximiliaan Royakkers also graduated as an architect from the University of Leuven (2012) and obtained a master’s from the Studio for Immediate Spaces at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam (2014). His work spans projects of design, artistic research, teaching and educational experiments and contributing to magazines and editorial projects. His works have been presented by Bureau Europa and Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht; De Singel Antwerp; Bozar, Brussels; Z33, Hasselt; and Stroom, Den Haag.
The project is realised in co-production with FLACC — workplace for visual artists. With the support of the Flemish Community, the City of Genk, and CIAP members.