The group exhibition Her Voice – Echoes of Chantal Akerman presents photographic and video works by seven contemporary artists inspired by the work of Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman. Manon de Boer, Moyra Davey, Gabby Laurent, Frida Orupabo, Joanna Piotrowska, Collier Schorr and Carmen Winant explore what it means today to be a woman, artist, mother, daughter and lover.
Chantal Akerman (BE, 1950-2015) remains just as potent an inspiration to artists as she ever was. Her voice is both powerful and inquiring. For her work, Akerman drew on personal experiences and on her reflections about sex, family, trauma, intimacy and oppression. Her radically vulnerable approach was groundbreaking for the 1970s’ film and art worlds. It was seen as feminist – and fifty years later, its relevance has not diminished. Just last year, her feminist masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) was named the best film of all time by the British Film Institute.
Her Voice brings together new and recent work by seven leading artists. Certain of them, including Manon de Boer and Moyra Davey, reference specific works and specific ideas that have influenced their own work. Collier Schorr translates Akerman’s sensual film Je, tu, il, elle (1974) into a ballet in which she reveals herself to an audience for the first time. Carmen Winant presents a new installation that focuses on her relationship with her mother, a theme that Akerman repeatedly explored. Other references are more implicit. Joanna Piotrowska creates a psychologically charged work about family dynamics and domestic oppression. And Frida Orupabo and Gabby Laurent provide a contemporary response to the feminist issues raised by Akerman’s films. Her Voice shows us that the idiosyncratic filmmaker’s radical ideas and feminist critique live on in contemporary art.
As part of this exhibition, Cinema Lumière is screening several films by Chantal Akerman and other artists. On 23 February 2024, FOMU is organising a museum late in collaboration with the feminist art collective Dis Mon Nom. Akerman’s work and legacy is also being celebrated in other locations, including at the Contour Biënnale (Mechelen) and at Argos (Brussels). BOZAR and Cinematek (Brussels) are hosting a retrospective in the spring of 2024.