Preludes: Emmanuel Van der Auwera

2 September - 13 November 2021

Preludes: Emmanuel Van der Auwera, installation view, Edel Assanti, London, UK, 2021


Opening reception | Thursday 2 September, 5-8pm


Edel Assanti is pleased to present Preludes: Emmanuel Van der Auwera - the second in a series of intimate solo-artist presentations anticipating larger exhibitions with the gallery in 2022.


Van der Auwera’s Preludes presentation combines four works from his ongoing Memento series with a maquette for his latest VideoSculpture, a study for an immersive environment the artist is creating for his solo exhibition at House of Electronic Arts in Basel in 2022. Through interfering with the technologies of mass media production, both series set up encounters with images in which the viewer ceases to be a passive receiver, opening a dialogue around how visual content operates on the public and the role it plays in the construction of opinion.


Each Memento strips a printing plate directly from the newspaper’s production line, isolating singular, emotionally charged images in a technique combining photographic, printing and painting techniques. The imagery in the series captures a spectrum of overlapping crises and their aftermaths, encompassing terrorist attacks, election rallies and most recently, the US Capital riots. In isolating the images from their context, Van der Auwera lays bare their protocol, underlining the critical role of representation in how catastrophic events inscribe themselves into collective memory.

The medium and content of the VideoSculpture explores the intersections of digital and physical life. In order to view the film on the two white screens, the viewer must gaze into the dark plexiglass base of the sculpture. A mesmeric sequence of stock footages divulges the pathway of Van der Auwera’s current research, focusing on industries anticipating near-future scenarios – corporate projections of a transhuman, ecotopian society at once unsettling and tangible.


Van der Auwera is a 2015 Laureate of the Higher Institute for Fine Arts (HISK) post-academic course in Ghent and a 2015 Langui Award recipient of the Young Belgian Art Prize. His work was recently exhibited at the First Jinan International Biennial (Shandong, China), the Pinakothek der Moderne (Munich, Germany), WIELS (Brussels, Belgium), The Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France), Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci (Prato, Italy), Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria), Casino Luxembourg - Forum d’art contemporain (Luxembourg City, Luxembourg), and Mu.ZEE (Ostend, Belgium), among others. His work features in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, KANAL - Centre  Pompidou, Mu.ZEE, Collection de la Province de Hainaut - BPS22, the National Bank of Belgium, and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Van der Auwera lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. 


This exhibition is part of an ongoing dialogue between the programmes of Harlan Levey Projects and Edel Assanti, highlighting our shared interest in artistic practices that engage with contemporary political discourse, seeking to unravel emerging historical narratives.