In 1962, Robert Rauschenberg was experimenting with printing techniques using plates from newspapers, when his lithographic printing stone cracked. He named the resulting print Accident Drawing upon Rauschenberg’s process gone awry as a model, Répétition is conceived as a circulatory system by which images, objects, and bodies move through the Villa Empain. The exhibition traces the distribution of graphic art across national and ideological boundaries, focusing on the productive power of accidents.
A historic collection of works from the Ljubljana International Center of Graphic Arts and Moderna Galerija, including Rauschenberg’s lithograph, has been selected by artist Giles Round and brought to Belgium for the first time. The collection, along with works by Sophia Al-Maria, Becky Beasley, Will Benedict, Andrea Büttner, Shannon Ebner, Konstantin Grcic, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Sanya Kantarovsky, Heinz Peter Knes, David Maljkovic, Radenko Milak, Anna Ostoya and Roman Uranjek, are periodically reinstalled by the exhibition’s hosts, leading to unexpected collisions and juxtapositions.
These moving works travel within a mise-en-scène of sculptural and cinematic contributions by Abbas Akhavan, Nairy Baghramian, castillo/corrales, Mike Cooter, Dexter/Sinister, Latifa Echakhch, Deanna Havas, Ištvan Išt Huzjan, Hilary Lloyd, Jumana Manna, Otobong Nkanga, Lydia Ourahmane, Zin Taylor, and Erika Vogt, extending the exhibition’s range of sensory experiences. These are joined by new commissions: Rounds’ exhibition design consists of a library and sculptural display units, Mariana Telleria has taken the accident as a motif for a chandelier in the Villa’s atrium, and Rirkrit Tiravanija has created a work by printing on one of the most iconic formats combining text and image, the daily newspaper.
The exhibition also hosts a parallel project: periodically weaving in and out of Répétition, choreographer Andros Zins-Browne will perform Already Unmade, a new work conceived especially for the Villa Empain, in which Zins-Browne begins with finished ‘choreographic objects’ and subjects them to an ensuing process where they begin to unravel.
The journey from the studio to the exhibition space is a movement that allows artworks to gain a public reception but, as has often been noted, comes at the cost of uprooting them from a living context. Répétition attempts, not to recreate the studio in the museum, but to create a living context in which works circulate, furnishing the Villa Empain through a process of continual renovation.