Angry Note on Maison Particulière

I was a little suspicious reading about „Maison Particulière – centre d’art“ but nevertheless curious. „Jeunes Collectionneurs“ (young collectors) is the title of their current exhibition. I entered the luxurious house on Rue Châtelain, was nicely welcomed and got a leaflet after paying 10 Euro admission fee.

The concept: Seven collectors younger than 40 present some works of their collection and in addition the artist Fabrice Samyn (1981, Belgium) whose pieces are scattered amongst the other’s.

I wandered around the 3 floors (plus basement) of the house and got more and more upset. No clue of the selection of works, no clue of the arrangement. Just some works of art in a bourgeois habitat. The designer furniture in almost every room didn’t help. Although one can sit down and flip through some artist books and informative brochures about the works on display. At least.

Among a lot of obviously decorative nonsense called art, there are some nice pieces to see by artists like John Baldessari, Michaël Borremans or Berlinde de Bruyckere (and even one by Swiss artist Valentin Carron). But all very collectable. And deluding. Because even if there is, let’s say, more to see than some nice stuff to hang atop the sofa, if there is a point of critique and of relevance in the artworks, it is completely overshadowed by this posh way of (re)presentation. If this was a regular (commercial) gallery space I wouldn’t mind. I would even consider it as a nice selling display in a homey context. Maison Particulière only (and always) promotes collectors. The nice lady at the desk explains that the purpose was to make public otherwise not public works. What a hypocritical intention! It makes me particularly angry that you have to pay 10 Euro to see such a poor exhibition, lacking of any concept (let alone curation). As if the collectors couldn’t afford generosity even if their under 40. To give a comparison: „WIELS, Centre d’Art Contemporain“ costs 8 Euro. Of course the latter is a publicly funded institution, but Maison Particulière promotes collections and thus is highly involved with the market (almost every piece of Fabrice Samyn is labeled ‚Courtesy of the artist and Meessen De Clercq Gallery).

Whereas the idea of doing an exhibition with „young collectors“ is just ridiculous I think the entanglement of „centre d’art“ and market/gallery is highly problematic. Of course one could argue that this is how the system functions nowadays. But then „Maison Particulière“ stands for the decadence of the system. Nothing more.

PS: Coming down the stairs I saw two craftsmen standing in the hall. In the background you could see the true-to-life „House Painter II“ by Duane Hanson. Art in competition with reality. Definitely the highlight of my visit.

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