Founded in 2012 by Liv Vaisberg, Edouard Meier and Pieter Vermeulen and grown over the years into the leading critical fair for contemporary art in Belgium, POPPOSITIONS presents its 8th edition, Capital of Woke. It takes place from 25 to 28 April 2019 during the Art Brussels Week, under the direction of Rachelle Dufour and, for the third year, under the artistic direction of Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk, curator and writer at The Office for Curating (NL). For this edition, Lekkerkerk has devised the framework Capital of Woke for which art initiatives were invited to submit a proposal.
CAPITAL OF WOKE - THE 8TH EDITION OF POPPOSITIONS
ON FORMULATING RESISTANCE TO CAPITALISED IDEOLOGIES
April 25–28, 2019
Press day: April 24, 2019, continuously from 12:00 to 18:00
Le Centre Tour à Plomb-Hageltoren, Slachthuisstraat, rue de l’Abattoir 20-26, Brussels (BE)
An international selection committee* has signalled the most relevant proposals stemming from 26 international galleries, artists’ initiatives, project spaces and non-profits supporting emerging artists, from Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the UK and the among others. Those proposals will result in 26 solo presentations assembled into one single exhibition.
POPPOSITIONS strongly believes in a collaborative approach and works together with initiatives that grapple with the complexity of our current social and political climate. The 8th edition of POPPOSITIONS will revolve around the term ‘woke’ and how its mainstream popularity intersects with corporate and capitalist structures. The idea of being ‘woke’ is related to raising social awareness around topics such as feminism, queer identity, gender, race, migration and post-colonialism. It includes taking actions in response to dominant paradigms, acknowledging one’s privileges and giving space to social bodies that have been silenced, unacknowledged and underrepresented.
Feminist slogans such as “The future is female,” “Don’t underestimate the power of a woman”, and “We should all be feminists”, for example, have increasingly permeated the public realm through global fashion companies ranging from Topshop, Asos, Monki and Dior, the latter advocating this motto on a €620 t-shirt. These seem to evoke a statement by philosopher Rosi Braidotti: “We have feminism without women as political agency, racism without races, ecology without nature.”
With its forthcoming edition, POPPOSITIONS invites us to think collectively about what forms of response and resistance can be formulated when ideologies have become trendy and ‘woke-washing’ brands cash in on social justice.
POPPOSITIONS changes its location every year. This year’s edition will take place in Le Centre Tour à Plomb-Hageltoren, in the Anneessens district in the heart of Brussels. A former gun powder factory, this year’s venue forms an important part of Belgium’s cultural heritage. POPPOSITIONS invited artist and scenographer Mathias Prenen, who will conceive the scenography, and the art fair has also launched a new graphic identity designed by artist and developer Christelle Bonnet.
POPPOSITIONS has increased its visibility and attendance every year and this year promises to be no exception, as it has become a hotspot for key art collectors, curators and art aficionado’s from all over the world.
Conceived as an experiment with the art fair format, POPPOSITIONS aims to trigger experimental and innovative approaches to the art market, while promoting acquisition. More than an art fair, it takes the shape of a curated exhibition and an ongoing critical dialogue. Considering the difficulties emerging galleries and art organisations are encountering, POPPOSITIONS constantly adapts its business model; with its low participation fee, it offers an effective answer to the current art market climate.
Diana Campbell Betancourt, artistic director at Samdani Art Foundation (BD) and chief curator at Dhaka Art Summit (BD)
Jessica Gysel, founder of Girls Heart Brussels (BE) and editor at Girls Like Us (BE/NL)
Hana Miletić, artist (BE/HR)
Christophe Veys, owner of Collection Veys-Verhaevert (BE)
Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk, curator and writer at The Office for Curating (NL) and artistic director of POPPOSITIONS (BE)