at the 60th Venice Biennale
from 20 April to 24 November 2024
The crew Denicolai & Provoost · Antoinette Jattiot · Nord · Spec uloos, cross-mixing art, curating, architecture, typography and cartography, takes part in the 60th Venice Biennale 2024, recently titled “Foreigners Everywhere” by curator Adriano Pedrosa.
Since May 2023, on both sides of the Franco-Belgian border, but also further south in Europe as in Spain and Italy, various brother-and-sisterhoods, committees and associations, all guardians of folkloric giants have been approached by a collective under the name of Petticoat Government. These still discreet alliances predict a more informal representation of the territorial concept of Belgium at the Venice Biennale in 2024.
The collective appointed by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and Wallonia-Brussels International to occupy the Belgian Pavilion has devised a project that displaces the traditional exhibition format through its successive chapters and its fictional, subversive potential. In a collaborative way they have seized a scenario that plays on scale and tensions between the human being, the pavilion, the landscape and the gigantic.
This it does with the help of multiple accomplices: existing local and cross-border figures of giants, from both near and far, set in motion in a new story. Through their displacements, the giant bodies shape in new ways the surrounding space and forms of identification and projection. Inspired by the living base of popular narrative, Petticoat Government diverts the symbolic and political weight of the giant as object. It is thanks to their adaptability and an anchoring in the common body of society that giants, supporters of committed struggles, have emerged in recent years and empower our journey with their joyful militancy. Petticoat Government is a party to which all are invited.
Deriving from a historical expression of a reversal of power relations, the title suggests a revolution still in progress. It seeks to instill a jocular unease, blurring the fringes between disciplines. The project mixes genres and attitudes as means for questioning complexity and for entering into contact with the worlds with which it relates. Petticoat Government is a transformation of reality through fiction, actively integrating the dimension of orality and storytelling. Brussels, Venice, the Alps in between, and returning via Belgium at BPS22 in Charleroi and then northern France at FRAC Dunkirk, it wants to sow open stories that will thrive on the journey, told chapter after chapter. Unlike a closed work, the Venetian Pavilion is imagined as a stage in a process, a place of passage, with a kaleidoscope perspective.
Understood as a tool for diffracting the gaze and enchanting the image of the world, it recalls the co-existence of multiple realities and the variability of ever-shifting colours in the same space-time framework. PG’s kaleidoscopic giants offer a pretext for opening up a space of attention to communities and the actors who comprise them.
Beyond stigmatizing individually-based practice, the project selected for the Belgian Pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2024 underlines the feasibility of a collective ‘doing together’.
© Petticoat Government (Denicolai & Provoost, Antoinette Jattiot, Nord, Spec uloos) & LMNO, Brussels