This Thursday, the coal-mining region of Limburg took a look at its legacy when Manifesta 9 opened in the André Dumont mine in Waterschei, Genk. Titled “The Deep of the Modern,” the exhibition takes site-specificity seriously, delving into the history of coal-mining as an approach to modernity.
Curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina with the help of co-curators Katerina Gregos and Dawn Ades, “The Deep of the Modern” is split between three floors of the Art Deco mine complex. The first floor, “The Heritage Section: 17 Tons,” presents an array of archival materials exploring the sociopolitical impact of mining – be it through employee log books or the embroidery miners’ wives would hang in their kitchens. The second floor, “The Historic Art Section: The Age of Coal” includes works by Charles Demuth, Marcel Broodthaers, Robert Smithson and Christian Boltanski, all of which address art’s relationship to industry. The third floor, “Poetics of Restructuring,” takes a freer survey of the contemporary responses to the “economic restructuring” of the present moment. Works range from Nicoline van Haskamp’s Yours in Solidarity (2009-2012), a selection of letters to Dutch anarchist Karl Max Kreuger, to Maryam Jafri’s Avalon (2011), a look at the industry of fetish wear, to Oswaldo Maciá’s Marinete (2011-12), an “auditory olfactory composition.”
“The Deep of the Modern” will be on view through September 30, 2012. For more information, check the website.