Ravel to Unravel
Graduation exhibition, 2023
The title “Ravel to Unravel” was born during weeks of conversations about the meaning of this graduation
exhibition for us as young artists. Philosophical thought about duality and the meaning of the term “uncertainty”
brought us together as much as it divided us. What does it mean for us to live in uncertain times and have generations
before us felt the same way?
Our conversations took place around a table in the Fine Arts atelier of Sint Lucas Antwerp, some with coffee, some with
soda or water and some with questions about what comes after graduation. Will we find stability in this life as an artist
when we ultimately graduate and are “thrown out into the world”? And is the finding of this so-called stability necessary
and achievable at all? At the time we started discussing topics and directions for this exhibition, many artists were
protesting weekly in front of the city hall of Antwerp because the government had been sending strong signals to young
artists. According to them, we do not contribute enough and not in the right ways. This leads us to the question: How do
we position ourselves as students as well as artists in a way to reflect the confidence we have in ourselves without
disregarding the struggles of ourselves and others?
The thought of collectivity and the future of individual artists and artist collectives were strongly present in the process
of this exhibition. We looked at how these terms relate to us as artists and thought about the importance of collectivity
in our present as art students and as practicing artists. The act of organizing this exhibition as a rather large group and
figuring out how to navigate between collaboration and one’s own work teaches us a lot about the position we take
within this dynamic. We briefly touched upon the topic of intersections, “knooppunten,” or nodes and found that the
intersections in which we might find each other are the same places where we go a different way. This meant that many
of the decisions being taken might be renounced and roads not taken might be taken after all.
We let ourselves drift away in conversations about decisions and resolutions. How do we, as a group, decide on
something that is not just okay for everyone but that reflect a mentality and a visual aspect that we can all find ourselves
in? The act of flipping a coin was discussed as a way to create a sense of certainty. Giving each side of the coin a
meaning and letting it decide for us. We saw in the coin a resemblance to our practice – the process being one side and
the finished artwork being the other. The same analogy can be used to look at this exhibition in how the process of
thinking, building and collective decision-making leads to what the spectator will see and how those aspects are also, as
the saying goes, just two sides of the same coin. Are you as a spectator allowed to see only one side of our coin? How do
we decide which side carries what meaning and where do we draw the line between showing and not showing?
Agreeing and disagreeing?
Looking back on these conversations where we allowed ourselves to agree and disagree, “Ravel to
Unravel” reminds us that solutions can be found in the same way you might untie knots in a thread that is completely
mixed up in itself; in which loose ends are where you start to unravel. It perhaps might only seem complicated because
you are looking at the knot from a complicated angle.
In relation to this philosophy, a line will lead you through the exhibition, or simply suggest a route to take. We will find
ourselves making the decision to walk along the line, or outside of it. Right on top of it, or next to it. Does it become part
of the exhibition or a part of the works? Can it give us a sense of certainty and continuity? Are we giving you a direction
to go in or are you leading the way?