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Experience Traps

This book is published in
conjunction with the exhibition
Experience Traps Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, Belgium, 01.06.2018 – 23.09.2018

Concept: Pieter Boons, Laura Herman, Boy Vereecken
Photography: Tom Cornille unless stated otherwise
Graphic design: Boy Vereecken i.c.w. Antoine Begon
Authors: Laura Herman, Pieter Boons
Publisher: Motto Distribution, Berlin

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Gardens held an important place in the history and development of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century art and landscape architecture, its different spatial features and geometrical layout mirroring the main elements of the baroque cultural style: symmetry, movement, grandeur, surprise and theatricality. The catalogue, which accompanies the exhibition Experience Traps, takes Pieter Paul Rubens’ painting The Walk in the Garden as a departure point, adopting the cadence of a stroll around a garden filled with artworks, experiences, and baroque motives, such as the grotto, the maze, the tableau vivant, and the folly.

The catalogue follows the dramatic structure of the baroque five-act play, while dynamically progressing through the various areas of the garden as a highly planned and landscaped site where nature and artifice merge. Often regarded as a ‘theatergarden’, the baroque garden also functions as a catalyst for education and political consolidation. Every ‘stage’, ‘halt’, or ‘chapter’ each time centers on the baroque garden as a metaphor and analogy for a specific site: from the garden as body via the garden as stage, architecture, and machine to the garden as dream.

Imagined as a path, the catalogue leads you on a circuitous route to different understandings of the paradoxical, patterned and multi-layered nature of baroque culture, while passing surprising artworks, figures, motives, and references. The artists included in the exhibition and catalogue, offer a contemporary and subjective reading of the wondrous world of the baroque, its history, social typology and relevance for today. The exhibition and catalogue include works by Bruce Nauman, William Forsythe, Ulla von Brandenburg, Gelitin, Dennis Tyfus, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Monika Sosnowska, Andra Ursuta, Bertrand Lavier, Recetas Urbanas, Ryoji Ikeda, Spencer Finch, Adrien Tirtiaux, Jeremy Deller, Louise Lawler, Mike Bouchet.