Hélène Padoux             WORK     BIO    CONTACT

Heartbroken x Isengard x Club Paradiso,
, Brussels (BE)
October 15th 2022

Group show featuring Tristan Gac, Chloé Arrouy, Arnaud Eubelen, Hélène Padoux and Gaspard Hers;
audiovisual performances and music by Among the Limestones (Tristan Bründler, DVIANCE and Loïc Le Hecho),
Heartbroken DJs, luca_borsato721, VINESSETT, estoc, CECILIA, and a talk by Victor Dermenghem


On October 15th, three Brussels-based party-pushing, mostly music-centered cultural agents: He4rtbroken, Isengard and Club Paradiso, found themselves co-curating a day-defeating event (in the outside smoking area, it remained unclear whether it was 4pm or 9am), that bridged visual art and music, an exhibition and a party. You could say too – speaking of, well “interdisciplinary” – that the exhibition space grew into a party space as its visitors grew into a crowd. Beyond clearly being selected for their shared post-internet interests, paradoxically, giving way to seemingly pre-internet, neo-romantic sensibilities, it’s remarkable how each of the included artists dealt in their own way with the aesthetic or poetic of the lock.

Besides looking like form bent to break locks, Chloé Arrouy’s metallica appeared encased in an Arnaud Eubelen-designed lit-box. Circling around Hélène Padoux’s bleach-painted banners meant alternately locking and (with a heart-shaped key, that is) unlocking mysterious portals and melody-beaming books; an allegory of access “b2b” refused access to a believed-to-be-Gothic past. One of Tristan Gac’s drawings wasn’t just fixed in space with chains, the drawing in question depicts doves – doomed to a marble representation on top a drained fountain bowl – attached to a damaged heart with more chains; as if being ‘set in stone’ is not chained enough. So, too, in Gaspard Her’s drawings – hung because of a lucky lack of walls on the space’s pillars or detention-like doors – is the constant confusion of amorphous structures supporting each other, or in fact, struggling to undo themselves from one another. The lock that is about to break, about to open, though closed for now, ties in perfectly with a wide-spread hope of nightlife (re: the obsession with rave culture on TikTok) having the key to re-enchanting a disenchanted world. This might be why this new Romanticism seems less convinced of the sublime and its nowhere-going landscapes, instead cultivating restrained and distracting fantasies, the symbolical obstacles on the way to that sensational mountain top.

Not to try and point out one or the other “unlocked” meaning but neither mystifying the sheer amount of locks figuring in the looks of the event’s crowd, these figurations of the lock and its metallic guises can’t be seen independent of the traditions and trends of a broader subculture of quote-unquote deconstructed music. A selection of art attuned to a club-oriented contemporar music scene, “emotional” in music’s often-found fleeting sense, the artworks on display saw the reserved beholders from the early afternoon switch into diverted dancers by night. This audience-specific change of perspective tells of a change of interest too. It reveals a larger and fairly recent preoccupation of Brussels’ nightlife players with the place of visual art and the question of scenography (the second of Chloé Arrouy’s works on display was a set of steel stars overarching the stage). Reset proved unspoiled enough for this smooth transition from dwelling between, to dancing around artworks. The latest of impressively empt Brussels buildings to serve as a site for music-adjacent experiments, the space is meant to, yes, house a police HQ soon.