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

September 2008 Archive

September 10, 2008

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 at 11:29 PM | Comments (6)

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