Sehnsucht. An unquenchable desire

07 September 2012 - 11 November 2012

Sehnsucht ... Everyone probably knows it, this bittersweet feeling that encompasses both longing and addiction. A longing or nostalgia for something which can be both concrete and intangible. The German word implies longing as well as 'agony'. That is why sometimes it hurts, even physically. But often it is a 'nice' feeling, which is cherished.

Romantics wallowed in their Sehnsucht. Gaasbeek Castle, which was rebuilt entirely in Romantic style into some kind of 'über-medieval' time machine, is itself a place that embodies a longing and nostalgia for 'days of yore' and 'once upon a time'. The baffling mise-en-scène plays with both rational and emotional aspects and even today stirs everyone's imagination. Therefore, the theme of Sehnsucht seemed to us the ideal trigger to do some soul-searching in this environment.

The exhibition displayed in the castle rooms imbued with nostalgia has been set up as an immersion in a paradise of atmospheres. Inspired by our last Marquise, curator Oscar van den Boogaard shows how these days artists express their own Sehnsucht in the castle rooms permeated with nostalgia. Do they detach Sehnsucht from personal sentiment and give it a universal status? Is it a way of expressing our fundamental dissatisfaction with the imperfection of our existence, of our deepest self 'here and now'? Is it an escape route or rather a driving source of inspiration? Van den Boogaard himself describes it as an empty box in which you can put your own desire(s).

Images and sounds intertwine. Established names and young artists stand side by side in a story that raises a lot of questions, seldom formulates answers and confronts us with feelings which can do with some reflection.

A number of artists: Marina Abramovic, Isabelle de Borchgrave, Wim Delvoye, Sam Dillemans, Désirée Dolron, Adam Fuss, Anselm Kiefer, Joachim Koester, Erwin Olaf, Nedko Solakov, Barbara Visser, Ruud van Empel, Marijke van Warmerdam, ...

The exhibition is organised by Gaasbeek Castle. Oscar van den Boogaard acts as curator. The exhibition is organized under the high patronage of Minister-President of Flanders Kris Peeters and Dr. Eckart Cuntz, German ambassador.

Picture: XTERIORS VI © Desiree Dolron, courtesy of GRIMM, Amsterdam

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