The healing art of Otobong Nkanga | the echo

Otobong Nkanga, at the Saint-Jean Hospital, and the “Mélancolie” exhibition, at the Adornes chapel, welcome an art that heals, in Bruges.

1. Otobong Nkanga in Sint-Janshospitaal

“Art has always contributed to the care of society: it is no coincidence that some of the world’s first museums were former hospitals“, recalls the Italian-American art historian Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, who accompanies the work of the Belgian-Nigerian Otobong Nkanga.

Rare artists, like Richard Long, collect and sow soil in their works. Otobong Nkanga inscribes hers on the pebble-covered floor and centuries-old walls of the Hospital de San Juan de Brujas, where trace, with raw or worked materials, stones, fabrics, blown glass, the symbolism of the territories, the exploitation of those who live there and the scars that mark their land and their skin. This human and political impregnation is not never preachy, always visual, tactile, poetic.

Otobong Nkanga goes through, with raw or worked materials, stones, fabrics, blown glass, the symbols of the territories.

It is characteristic of this artist that he opens up to the gaze a labyrinth of horizontal or vertical materials, paths of ropes and blown glass bubbles, oneiric tapestries that invite an initiatory path, a restorative and healing process. The titles themselves reflect this sensual and initiatory journey: “Taste of stone – hole in the earth” (2016), “Exhumed – Sunlight” (2021), mixing merino wool, linen, various synthetic fabrics. These tapestries that interpret the mystical power of lighting seem to belong to the centuries-old walls of the building.and protecting its stones since time immemorial.

Presentation of the exhibition of the artist Otobong Nkanga

“Under the shade we ground”

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2. “Melancholy, poetry of the spirit”, at Domaine Adornes

Between the no less inhabited walls of the Adornes estate and its thousand-year-old chapel, Véronique de Limburg-Stirum examines with Joannes Késenne, curator, philosopher and doctor of psychology at the University of Ghent, this “melancholy […]melan cholos (black bile) from ancient Greek medicine, […] rooted in mythology, philosophy, psychiatry, religion and astrology”, which is equivalent to “creating out of suffering”. Késenne associates eight contemporariesthe mental nights of Reniere and Depla (“The night is our memory”, 2020) and the reflective figures ofYves Velter (“The Omen”, 2020) in jose verdegem (the desperate nude in “Dolor”, 1956) or the hallucinated gaze of Spilliaert (“Vissersmeisje”, 1910).

“Melancholy, poetry of the spirit”

Johan Clarysse, Dave Donné, Roeland Kotsch, Christina Mignolet, Renato Nicolodi, Reniere&Depla, Léon Spilliaert, Yves Velter, Jos Verdegem, Peter Weidenbaum

Curator: Joannes Kesenne

Until 3 September

Adornes Estate, Bruges

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