Rafa the Magician

27 Nov 2010 - 23 Jan 2011

Exhibition view
David Bestué & Marc Vives / Jean-Philippe Convert / Honoré δ’O / Stephan Goldrajch / Sofie Haesaerts / Gerard Herman / Heide Hinrichs / Ermias Kifleyesus / Jacques Lennep / Guy Rombouts / Lieven Segers / Harald Thys & Jos De Gruyter
Exhibition concept: Bram Van Damme and Jean-Philippe Convert.
27 November, 2010 - 23 January, 2011

Rafa The Magician is an exhibition in the theme of magic, illusion and ridiculousness. The title is taken from a short Youtube clip from a live broadcast of a football match, with Rafael Benitez, the coach of Liverpool FC in the lead. On March 20, 2005 Liverpool played its annual Merseyside derby against Everton. Liverpool leads 2-0. Suddenly, at the end of the forty-third minute, the viewer gets a chance to see a flash of magic. The cameras zoom in on Rafael Benitez whilst his name appears on the TV screen, framed by a glossy animation. As if magical powers are involved, the animation follows in an exact synchronous movement of the right hand of the trainer, so it appears as though he had conjured his name upon the screen, casually and without emphasis, without losing his concentration on the game, in short... ‘Rafa the Magician’.
The fragment served as the basis for a group exhibition with the same name. Rafa The Magician presents artistic interventions in the spirit of inventiveness, silliness, pleasure, deception and (black) humour. As in the video fragment, it is not the grand gesture that counts in this exhibition, but rather the imagination and observation skills of the artists, which is often visible with a refreshing dose of home, garden and kitchen magic.
Tout est à la pretext levitation, writes Jean-Philippe Convert (b. 1972, Paris). He lives in Brussels and is a writer, performance and video artist. His work been shown (among others) in the Cinémathèque Française (Paris) and Gallery 533 (Los Angeles), The Service Garage (Amsterdam).
For Netwerk he wrote the text, Lévitation. Convert plays with the association of words, and the transformation of visual meanings. He sees words as machines that give the reader the ability to fly around in his mind. In the text, they form an imaginary portrait. Mouvement (2009) is a film in which Convert plays with the magical power of mathematical figures.
Many artists in the exhibition prefer to work with material from their everyday surroundings. It's a way to indicate that their interventions are part of a multi-applicable vision: they play with the boundary between necessary and arbitrary, between reality and imagination, illusion and delusion. They animate lifeless objects by arranging them in ever new constellations provoking transformations and associations, as if the objects were contained in a lightweight, but endless continuum. The exhibition also makes room for non-artists, whose often absurd and funny exploits reach outer world via the Internet.

Tags: Heide Hinrichs, Marc Vives