Working with Belgium’s Colonial Past
“How can we use art, as a practice, in order to raise questions?” asks Belgian visual artist Vincent Meessen. Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen of Louisiana Channel met him in his studio in Brussels to talk about his multifaceted work, which is often connected to colonial issues, and about rewriting – and challenging – history through art.
“I’m interested in understanding the present, and making sense of the present, by digging into the past.” Meessen works with different kinds of media, and with material, mostly from the past, that has a certain power in the present. Consequently, he explains, a lot of his work is related to colonial issues – such as exile, belonging, and navigation. Doing the work, he feels, is a way of “going to the front”, of acting and figuring out what you can do as an artist: “A very important part of the work is to convey, never a message, but a sense of something that has been lived. It’s an experience.”
Vincent Meessen was interviewed by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen in his studio in Brussels, Belgium in February 2020.
Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Produced and edited by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020
Supported by Nordea fonden
Related video: Vincent Meessen on Asger Jorn