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An Interview with Gast Bouschet by Kevin Muhlen February 2013

KM: Unground is based on the principles of cycles and continuity. In the images that you produced in collaboration with Nadine Hilbert and their symbolic concepts we can find notions of end and beginning, of destruction and

renewal, of transitions... After three years of work and its presentation at Casino, do you see the present moment as a beginning or an end of Unground ?

GB: Showing Unground in the basement of Casino was an accomplishment for sure. The presentation conditions were very good, both on technical and architectural levels. We don't often have the opportunity to work with so many video projectors and the cellars of Casino were great to express this underworld universe. But I think that such a profound immersion in a work opens doors to its beyond and other configurations would be possible. What interests us is to activate shadow zones as dynamic spaces and we want to restore a mythical dimension to contemporary urban life. In addition, it is true that our artistic work evolves in cycles and there is no clear beginning or end as such . Everything is intrinsically linked.

KM: Let's stay for a moment on this mythical dimension that you are talking about. Besides an easy reference to the

end of the world predicted by the Mayans for December 21, 2012, mainly due to the menacing and (post-) apocalyptic aspects of Unground , but also because of the exhibition period, I think that the public more easily projected a

political reading of the work - a critique of capitalism, globalization, etc. - than the seeing of some mysticism. Can you tell us more about this?

GB: If we can speak of mysticism in our work, it is a mysticism without God. Unground is a metaphysical invocation of natural forces. We want to capture the image of something beyond the human. We live in times that give us the impression that everything non-human is disappearing: The wildlife, plant diversity, glaciers and polar ice caps and nature itself. This feeling is globally present in this new century and this is probably a unique phenomenon in human history. We consider the mythic dimension of which I spoke before as a revolutionary force. An energy that can transform our view of the world. This change in perception has certainly a political dimension because it points to an alternative to anthropocentrism, the dominant philosophical doctrine which places human beings at the centre of everything. In moments of intense cultural transitions, the role of the artist must be redefined. I think art cannot just be playful or even critical today. It should aim towards a deep psychological transformation and a spiritual participation in the natural existence. The mythical experience is subversive and rebellious to the contemporary cultural scene, as it sets itself apart from the concept of "project" that dominates the current art and museum practices. The project is the central concept of modern capitalism. It is by definition short-termed and excludes depth and continuity.

KM: Indeed, it is obvious that your works are not isolated cases or relating to a temporary state of mind. Moreover,

your previous work embeds also an underlying notion of "natural force" I think of Collision Zone which incorporates the movement of tectonic plates and the collision of underground layers of our planet. You’ve lived for nearly 30

years in Brussels, how did you get this fascination towards raw nature? It is obvious that your vision goes way beyond the simple beauty of images and it draws deep into the subject when you are suggesting notions of mysticism, metaphysics and God.

GB: I've always been interested by the political and social stakes of these questions. During our travels, we spent a lot of time in the wilderness and we saw how these areas were distorted under the influence of civilization. That was

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TheCUBE

Profile for 立方計劃空間 TheCube Project Space

Unground  

立方計劃空間與盧森堡卡西諾當代藝術中心合作,於9月11日展出來自盧森堡雙人組藝術家加斯特‧布歇與娜丁‧希爾伯(Gast Bouschet & Nadine Hilbert)個展:〈渾沌〉(UNGROUND)。開幕當晚,並邀請為此作品擔任聲音設計的實驗聲響/重金屬樂手史帝芬‧歐馬利...

Unground  

立方計劃空間與盧森堡卡西諾當代藝術中心合作,於9月11日展出來自盧森堡雙人組藝術家加斯特‧布歇與娜丁‧希爾伯(Gast Bouschet & Nadine Hilbert)個展:〈渾沌〉(UNGROUND)。開幕當晚,並邀請為此作品擔任聲音設計的實驗聲響/重金屬樂手史帝芬‧歐馬利...

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