Regenerate presents recent work made by artists in Belgium (with occasional sorties across bubbles and borders). Whether explicitly or indirectly, the selected works enact the revitalisation that art can offer. Focusing on recent productions, the project explores what has emerged from this period of unpredictability and seclusion, and how the pandemic and its ongoing impact are shaping our imaginaries.
Human society is strikingly resilient and has a remarkable ability to regenerate itself. After every cataclysm – whether man-made, natural or (as is usually the case) a combination of both – communities are eager to pick themselves up, dust themselves down and start again. This process of reconstruction is seldom without its upheavals. However, when the reset button is pressed, new priorities and new patterns of behaviour emerge.
Artists always have been excellent barometers of such reawakening, showing us the way while bearing witness to our struggles and confusion. The past months of social isolation have offered the opportunity for reevaluation, for questioning ourselves and the behaviour of society, for examining what might become the “new normal”. For everyone, it has revealed what is superfluous and what is fundamental, but the conclusions drawn are far from universal. While it is too early to see what kind of society will emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic – and indeed when the global pandemic will subside – WIELS takes this moment to explore new forms of making things public.
WIELS proposes to share its resources with many agents of its artistic, creative and intellectual community. As an art centre, what WIELS primarily provides is broad public attention: for practitioners, their practices and their ideas. Regenerate thus sets out to provide attention, in the form of a public platform backed by financial, conceptual and logistical support for practices that cannot rely on the increasingly unstable and unreliable mechanisms of the art market. In this period of ever-increasing digitalisation, WIELS also privileges encounters in real life with artworks and with other people, that cannot be entirely replaced by social media and online interactions.