Vincent Meessen
"Prospectus"

Meessen Vincent

Vincent Meesen’s practice is firmly anchored in research, a plural practice that aims to breakdown the barriers between disciplines and forms of knowledge. His pieces bring unpublished documents to light, inviting a poetic and political re-reading of modern history from our current angle of post-colonial theory. Prospectus is a heterogeneous editorial research space where form adapts to the singularity of the content. Conceived as an extension of the artist’s artistic practice, it can be considered a space for the open discourse arising from multiple encounters and collaborations with researchers in various disciplines: anthropology, history, art history, as well as with visual artists, graphic designers, typographers and designers. Prospectus is also a place for formal experimentation on and about the book—regarded here as both a paper tool and broadcasting media—in the digital era. It is accompanied by a new open-source typographic system called Belgicka, created in collaboration with Pierre Huyghebaert, a graphic designer, professor and member of Open Source Publishing (OSP), an organization of researchers who share a critical practice on open graphics software. The project also has a pedagogical track, which is activated through the temporary research unit Swerve. Student interns from ENSAV at la Cambre and from ERG are invited to actively participate and contribute, both practically and theoretically, to the elaboration of this research. Prospectus is the result of a long process beginning in 2006 with the first volume, “Third Form”, published by Mousse Publishing (Milan) in 2012. Part of his participation in the Venice Biennale in 2015 included the artist publishing a second opus entitled “Postface to the Scenic Unit: Personne et les autres”, released as a supplement to the exhibition catalogue. Three other installments will accompany, prior to or following, upcoming works and exhibitions programmed in both national and international institutions. A third volume, entitled “The Other Country”, gathers contributions from various participants in the symposium Let’s build the Hacienda (Wiels, March 2016) and a visual essay by the artist emphasizing his historiographical work on the Situationist International and its African influences, which were resources for the exhibition Sire je suis de l’ôtre pays (Wiels, 2016). The fourth volume, slated for release in September 2017, is an attempt to revive an appreciation for the practically unknown abstract works by Congolese painter Thela Tendu (ca. 1880-1950), on the occasion of an exhibition at Bozar (Brussels) from June to September 2017. “The Black Art of Belgicka”, title of the fifth volume encompassing the heart of the research for Prospectus, is an opportunity to question the heritage of typographic norms and standards across various narratives and critical essays in modernity. Prior to publication, there will be a workshop proposed in collaboration with OSP and students from secondary art institutions.