Rutger de Vries at Sorry Not Sorry Festival

How can a closed establishment still attract artistic intrigue? Can an institution still evoke contemplation from the public when its doors are firmly shut and its space unoccupied?  What does this tell us about the presentation of art and the method in which people receive it? Does art only exist within the confines of white washed walls and marble flooring? In Closing Events, the creative initiative 019 decided to challenge these preconceptions by inviting a selection of artists to make use of their building whilst they moved to Gent’s museum of Design for several months. Each artist is told to “close” the project space, providing various perspectives of what a closed space actually looks like.

Among these artists is Rutger de Vries, whose complete wrapping of the building in layers of blue foil recalls the process of preparing packages for shipment; a protection from damage, tightly securing the contents within. The idea is to visualize movement, the transferal of the project space elsewhere, as well as demonstrating clear inactivity within. It is a statement on the tangibility of space, the physical building remains but its function does not. Thus, how can one show the transferal of an organization, which is inherently intangible and immaterial? De Vries decides to treat the move as literal, preparing the building as if it itself were uprooting to a new place.

Closing Events ran parallel to the street art festival SORRY NOT SORRY (24-25 September), in which graffitists coloured the walls around Gent’s Oude Dokken with abstract murals and intricate imagery.

Photography by Michiel De Cleene