Exhibition view, RE:ANKER, Photo: M HKA by Nisran Azouaghe
Ignace Cami / RE:ANKER
May 13 – Sep 3, 2023
Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp
Antwerp, Belgium

Ignace Cami is an artist that gives obsolete things renewal. Playing with the notion of ‘heritage’ he questions its place as being part of the natural law of society, whilst creating the conditions for its contemporary purpose and application. Today we see heritage with an overabundance of uses, from patrimony to carrots. Yet things that represent historical legacy have also become a site for contentions of the ideological kind, forming a friction between cultural stagnation and transformation. In this context, Cami asks such questions as: how might we relate to bygone cultural artefacts that are seen as inextricably connected to a place and a time? What happens when they are in the ‘wrong’ place or the ‘wrong’ time? What use is there for the archaic and the hyper-local? In what new ways can they find a meaningful place in the here and now?

For his exhibition RE:ANKER, the verb verankeren (to connect with or to anchor) offers a way to understand Ignace Cami’s methodology for working with heritage and folk culture more broadly. At the same time, the verb points to the connection he seeks between the exhibition and the port city of Antwerp as well as the river Scheldt, only a few meters away from M HKA. Cami looks at things that have become disconnected by the passing of time, and creates ways for them to reconnect in the present; language, memory and narrative in particular playing a central role. RE:ANKER presents several existing works alongside new creations, offering some insights into his interdisciplinary approach. Experimenting playfully with different forms of cultural heritage found in the public domain, his practice typically possesses a generosity, inviting people to interact or partake. During the exhibition, several projects are activated for the public: fresh ‘speculoos’ biscuits are offered, a newly-formed choir sings, and on the last day there will be a celebration with geese.

Ignace Cami lives and works in Antwerp. He was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht from 2020 until 2021. Together with Ward Zwart he ran the space CRYING space. He has participated in many group exhibitions, including: KRASJ 5: Biënnale Actuele Kunst, Ninove (2021); TRACES of the future, valerie_traan gallery, Antwerp (2020); Coup de Ville 2016, Sint-Niklaas (2016); Stille kracht, De Warande, Turnhout (2014). His recent solo exhibition TROMPO, was held at DMW Gallery, Antwerp (2021). RE:ANKER at M HKA is his first museum solo exhibition.

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