Last year, in January 2021, nona arts centre published an open call to select the curator of the tenth edition of the Contour Biennale. And it was a success because we received more than 150 proposals, often from international curators!
For the artistic committee and ourselves, Auguste Orts' proposal immediately stood out thanks to its open, inclusive and festive character. But who is and what does Auguste Orts?
Auguste Orts is a Brussels-based production and distribution platform founded in 2006 by artists Herman Asselberghs, Sven Augustijnen, Manon de Boer and Anouk De Clercq. For at least three decades they have been exhibiting and screening their (audio)visual work individually all over the world, including at previous editions of the Contour Biennale (De Clercq and de Boer in 2005, Asselberghs in 2009 and Augustijnen in 2003 and 2013), but they also jointly worked as a collective on exhibition projects such as Correspondence which was articulated into two exhibitions, one at LUX 28 in London in 2008 and the other at M HKA in Antwerpen in 2010, and a publication edited by Dieter Roelstraete.
In 2021 Fairuz Ghammam joined the platform. The five artists work in close collaboration with Marie Logie, the organisation’s director, and Catherine Plenevaux, business director, to facilitate the production and distribution of their audiovisual projects, but in the course of the years they have been supporting guest productions by artists like, among others, Sammy Baloji, Sirah Foighel Brutmann & Eitan Efrat, Dora García, Eva Giolo, Joachim Koester, Aglaia Konrad and Annik Leroy.
This expertise in the production and distribution of artists’ films and videos is combined with different discursive initiatives such as the screening series An Evening with Auguste Orts (Beursschouwburg in Brussels, 2007-2010); DISSENT! (2012-2019), a series of talks on politics and cinema in collaboration with ARGOS and Courtisane; or On & For Production and Distribution (2014-2021), an international collaborative project supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, conceived to advance and strengthen the field of artists’ moving image (AMI).
During the tenth edition of the Contour Biennale, the five Auguste Orts’ artists will not present their own screen works, but they will plug into the rich Belgian ecosystem of artists' film practices and contribute to its sustainable development. Orts resolutely opts for local embedding: the core artists of diverse origins invited to this Contour edition reside in Flanders, Wallonia or Brussels. Contemporary diversity is essential to this exhibition project: a gathering of people and works in which different generations can coincide and various forms of the moving image can enter into the conversation. The Orts curating method is staking on an ongoing, in-depth dialogue with the artists, organisations, institutions and all actors involved, building upon the expertise, experience and knowledge of creative production deployed for an extended period of time. Orts’ proposal shows a clear passion for the moving image and the visual arts, a love for cinema, as well as for the performing arts and live music, both central to the regular program of the nona arts centre and integral part of this Contour edition.
Given the central place of the artist in our organisation, we are more than happy that the next edition of the Contour Biennale will not only be shaped with, but also curated by five artists.
In the coming weeks we will introduce you to each member of the Auguste Orts collective!