press release

Opening Saturday / 12.04.08 / 18:00 - 21:00

Transformation always takes time and energy, Ivanov Pravdoliub, 2006.

The group exhibition No Place - like Home: Perspectives on Migration in Europe features eighteen Belgian and international artists. Their videos, photographic works and installations take a closer look at what lies under the surface of the migration issue. Migration is a thing of all ages. Where Europeans once colonized various continents and emigrated en masse to other lands both in and beyond their own continent, movement from the opposite direction has now taken hold. Capital, goods and information circulate freely in the late-capitalist, globalized world economy. For people, however, mobility is arranged somewhat differently. Borders and territories are still the primary expression of national sovereignty, however multi ethnic populations may have become. For Europe – which permanently shifts between regulating, even attracting, and then repelling strangers – these are the outer borders, the socalled Schengenland regions. No Place - like Home (mark the hyphen) investigates how inner and outer space, how 'we' and 'they' maintain complex relations with one another and the frictions this generates. The media, like tourism – a phenomenon that on the Italian island of Lampedusa vacillates with the refugee issue – have little to do with transparency. By way of the varying perceptions of 18 artists whose work focuses on the illegal refugees who are today's modern nomads, this exhibition hopes to help visualize an issue that cannot be summarized in black-and-white contrasts: an interwoven, variegated tale of migration networks and refugee trafficking, cartography and geographical military data, migration management and border infiltrations, international rights, lack of rights and lawlessness.

Today, illegal migration into Europe comes primarily from southeastern Europe, Central Asia and Africa. One exceptional focal point of the exhibition is the sanitary cordon being placed around that last continent. Peripheral locations such as the Strait of Gibraltar and a number of Sicilian islands, almost perpetually besieged by refugees, connect several contributions to the exhibition. Miguel Abad and Herman Asselberghs are showing images of Ceuta, the Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast, where Europe is establishing part of its migration policy outside its own borders. Pieter Geenen, Raphael Cuomo and Maria Lorio, Federico Baronello and Takuji Kogo indicate how, on the Italian island of Lampedusa, the reality of tourism runs hand in hand with that of asylum seekers, being repatriated or otherwise, without the two worlds ever touching. In her comprehensive installation, Sahara Chronicle, Ursula Biemann highlights the sub-Saharan exodus to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Schengen, the Castle by Xavier Arenós, charts how things move on from there. His work is not only a typology of the streams of mobility to Spain, but also reveals the underlying macro-economic space. Cartography is also found in the contributions of the Migreurop network and the magazine collective, An Architektur: on the one hand a map of all possible transit, relief or detention camps connected with European territory, and on the other hand as a specific analysis in the form of an architectural dissection of Polish refugee centres.

The fact that European political space is not consistent with European immigration is a subtext in the work of Erzen Shkololli, Yves Mettler, Herman Asselberghs and Thomas Locher, as is the question of what common value systems still mean on this continent from a cultural, historical perspective, once stereotypes are set aside. The paradox of an interior European space that defends its borders versus a world where nothing stops at national frontiers any more is evidenced in the photographic work of Armin Linke. His work draws attention to the most diverse effects of globalisation and serves as a kind of resonance chamber for the exhibition, as does an ironic installation by Pravdoliub Ivanov with some thirty different cooking surfaces and pots. What remains is the individual voice of the migrant, which is generally kept out of the media. Its tone is allegorical for Hans Op de Beeck, a naked testimony in the work of Ursula Biemann and in the participatory documentary, Pour vivre j'ai laisé. In this last project, initiated and directed by Bénédicte Liénard, asylum seekers at the Petit Chateau refugee centre in Brussels take the camera into their own hands in an introspective document that does not lack humor and is made from a non-voluntary, and therefore powerful perspective, in a plea for a world as a place that can still be created by mankind.

Thinking about migration means making a close examination of oneself. With No Place - like Home, Argos lays claim to a trans-national political space. What public space, what identity stands counter to this? What and where is ‘home’? These are questions that will be further investigated in a parallel programme of lectures and video presentations.

Curated by Paul Willemsen with contributions by Miguel Abad, An Architektur, Xavier Arenós, Herman Asselberghs, Federico Baronnello, Ursula Biemann, Raphaël Cuomo, Maria Iorio, Provdoliub Ivanov, Pieter Geenen, Takuji Kogo, Bénédicte Liénard, Armin Linke, Thomas Locher, Yves Mettler, Migreurope, Hans Op de Beeck, Erzen Shkololli.

only in german

No Place - like Home. Perspectives on Migration in Europe
Kurator: Paul Willemsen

mit Miguel Abad, An Architektur , Xavier Arenos, Herman Asselberghs, Federico Baronnello, Ursula Biemann, Raphael Cuomo, Maria Iorio, Provdoliub Ivanov, Pieter Geenen, Takuji Kogo, Benedicte Lienard, Armin Linke, Thomas Locher, Yves Mettler, Migreurope , Hans Op de Beeck, Erzen Shkololli