The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

September 10, 2008

It's not only rock'n'roll, baby

It's not only rock'n'roll, baby

As usual, my blog posting comes far too late. A few months ago, this could have been an encouragement to go to Brussels and see an interesting exhibition, but typically me, I write about it when it's almost over. Two days left, to be precise.

So I was in Belgium last weekend, mostly to meet friends (like Zoe and Quarsan), see a Sun Kil Moon concert and gain weight by eating lots of fries, mussels, carbonades and stoemp, but particularly bad weather on Sunday persuaded me to see two exhibitions -- apart from the Pavilion of Temporary Happiness (made of 43,000 empty beer crates -- so much about temporary happiness) there was of course the Bozar (Palais des Beaux Arts), which is always good for interesting exhibitions.

It's not only rockn'roll, baby features art exhibits by rock musicians -- Alan Vega, Antony, Bent van Looy (Das Pop), Bianca Casady (Cocorosie), Brian Eno, Chicks on Speed, David Byrne, Devendra Banhart, Fischerspooner, Jonsi Birgisson (Riceboy Sleeps), Kembra Pfahler, Kyle Field, Laurie Anderson, Miss Kittin, Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeah's), Patti Smith, Pete Doherty, The Kills, The Residents and Yoko Ono, an obvious concept if you consider how many musicians started out as art students.

Mixing the old and the young, the established and the upcoming, the settled and the unsettling made for an interesting show of strikingly varied quality -- enter a room and you'll immediately notice what and how much a certain musician has to say and is able to express through visual arts. Some of the exhibits were stunning, others seemed oddly flat and void of substance.

Pieces that impressed me were of course Yoko Ono's massive installation "Ex It" with trees coming out of coffins; Nick Zinner's photographs and Brian Eno's meditative "77 million paintings". David Byrne's tree diagrams were funny in his usual way; the Residents' photographs were good, but known from album cover art; Devendra Banhart's drawings intriguing if a bit schizophrenic; and The Kills' video installation and polaroids surprisingly effective.

Brian Eno: 77 million paintings

Eno's "77 million paintings" is an application of his music to the visual arts by presenting a seemingly static, but really very slowly changing image. You don't really notice that anything is changing, but after a while you realize that you are staring at a completely different image.

And why was I not surprised that Pete Doherty made his drawings using his own blood? They were better than I expected though.

It's not only rock'n'roll, baby, 20 June to 12 September 2008, Bozar, Rue Ravensteinstraat 23, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. Catalogue available from, or

Posted by Horst on September 10, 2008 11:29 PM to reviews | Tell-a-friend
dieter said on September 15, 2008 08:44 AM:

The fact that I only read this today saved me from the pain of explaining to my boss, why I suddenly had to go to Bruxelles just before the week-end ;-)

Jann said on September 16, 2008 09:02 PM:

Brian Eno's "77 million paintings" sounds intriguing...

Jann said on October 16, 2008 10:05 PM:

I realise this isn't related to what you wrote, Horst, but in as much as there's no other place for it, I was hoping you might allow it. I was wondering, with all the talk about Sarah Palin and her moose hunting exploits, if Haldur is upset. An elderly gentleman (obviously an Obama supporter), on the late local news last night, said, "I think if we ever need someone who can shoot a moose and butcher him, then we can vote her in as vice president."
I, for one, am hoping that a time like that never comes.

dieter said on October 17, 2008 08:48 AM:

@Horst, if your goal is to bore your readers away, you seem quite successful. Seems there are only two regulars left. And today for the first time I considered not visiting your blog at all. Yes, I am that persistent...

Jann said on October 17, 2008 01:27 PM:

@dieter: I always (well, lately, I mean) "consider" not looking at Horst's blog, but ultimately I always end up looking at it anyway.

Horst said on October 22, 2008 06:22 PM:

I'm not doing this on purpose. Keeping a blog, believe it or not, is hard work. You have to be imaginative. You have to be entertaining. You have to come up with topics that are consistently interesting.

With my current work schedule, i.e. working overtime at the library trying to keep our new CMS running, teaching English classes, practicing the trumpet and keeping up a healthy social life, I am currently out of inspiration and also pretty much out of time to keep this blog running. The only thing I could do is copy & paste my music reviews from to the blog, but I wonder if that would really help things.

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