The Living Room XL is a group exhibition in the form of a happening, an art form that originated at the end of the fties in the United States. The happening combined visual art, music as well as theater. Although it included elements decided beforehand, its character was spontaneous and coincidences were part of its entirety. The happening focused on presenting art to a large and diverse audience. The Living Room XL took the elements of temporality, spontaneity, interdisciplinarity and performativity and merged them with the group exhibition. Sixteen artists were invited to create a new art work inspired by this unique setting and present it at BODEM (the summer program in the garden of Kielsevest), during half an hour, in one day, from 2 o’clock in the afternoon until 2 o’clock at night.
The context of the Living Room XL is challenging. BODEM is a garden, made public recently, that is part of the working and living environment of the artists in residence organized by AIR Antwerpen and Studio Start. BODEM also hosts an initiative to activate the neighborhood and a summer bar (organized by Brandt). This extraordinary combination of public and private functions draws out very different reactions and various questions about the function of public space in a city.
The Living Room XL uses a unique time frame: half an hour, which forces the artist to focus more closely on the beginning and the end of the performance and how to draw the attention of the audience. The time span of a visual arts exhibition unfolds usually very differently: starting with an opening the exhibitions runs through a period of one to four months and ends with the finissage. The uncertain and spontaneous character of the happening broke this rigid structure a long time ago. The Living Room XL takes this even a step further by presenting the group exhibition within the temporality of a large theatre piece. The reactions on this context turned out into fourteen unique interventions, questioning city life, the border between public and private space and the influence of global politics.
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