The Emily Harvey Foundation

Dec. 1 - 7 to 9 pm

Kurt Ryslavy, Flemish Art Assets

A one-evening exhibition with performances by:
Kurt Ryslavy, Vaast Colsdon, Ria Pacuée, and Koen Theys, (introduction by Johan Pas)

Used in its original sense (meaning "lover"), the word "amateur" probably best reflects the true nature of Ryslavy’s public persona. After all, before the professionalization of art and science, sometime in the 19th century, "amateur" was not such a bad label. Gentleman scientists, dilettante painters, and connoisseurs of all kinds flourished in England and Western Europe. Having a lot of time on their hands, even more money, and a great deal of often exotic interests, these aristocrats indulged in collecting, ordening, travelling, writing, thinking, drinking—and enjoying the results of these activities.
Ryslavy created a functioning Broodthaersian "décor" that fits his role as a well-educated, sophisticated, and established wine merchant. And yet, since showing his art in galleries and museas, it is not selling. On January 17th 1991 the United States had led a military intervention in Iraq, and the art market, which had been booming, crashed. For Ryslavy - to inject his art practice with purely commercial activities - at this point proved to be an act of contamination that was as clever as it was consequential. Thus, the projecting position and the ambivalent characteristics of Ryslavys activities paradoxically gave him a proper place in the art world.
In the meantime, his elegant Brussels townhouse evolved into a hybrid combination of residence, office, stockroom, art collection, and studio. While the current jet-set generation of emerging and now-a-days-avangardists uses airports and laptops as temporary studios, Kurt Ryslavys 19th-century dwelling expresses an almost anachronistic bourgeois atmosphere that is hard to connect with the public image of the contemporary artist as urban bohemian or global public funded nomad. The Flemish Art Assets at EHF reminds one of an "official" economico-cultural mission to promote national products abroad. On top of this, an Austrian artist living in Brussels and presenting the work of Flemish artists in New York City probably seems quite kafkaesque to American eyes.
This kind of institutional "humor," however is typical for Ryslavy, who describes this infiltration practice as "subversive intercultural exchange." Since the selected artists, all of them professionals active in the international field of contemporary art, are invited to make a statement on how they perceive the role or position of Kurt Ryslavy, things get even more relaxed. Europe is (still) alive.
(Johan Pas, Antwerp november 2012)

Beauty is more important than impact.
Harmony is more important than intensity.
The whole of any wine must always be more than the sum of its parts.
Distinctiveness is more important than conventional prettiness.
Soul is more important than anything, and soul is expressed as a trinity of family, soil and artisanality.
Lots of wines, many of them good wines, let you taste the noise. But only the best let you taste the silence.
(Terry Theise, New York City 2012)

The Emily Harvey Foundation is a private foundation registered in the State of New York.
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