Special Thanks to Atelier Faar | 2022

~ Ravager of Time

With Xander Faes, Janne Schimmel, Jonathan Vervoort, Lotte Vrancken, Mathias MU, Rachel Daniels, Tom Volkaert, Yasmin Van der Rauwelaert, Davide Zulli.

Dungeons & Dragons, the forefather of role-playing games, was one of the most inventive and avant-garde games of the 1980s. Players created fictional cha-racters with exceptional supernatural talents and took them on adventures through dark and lonely ruins inhabited by mysterious creatures. This interesting game has entertained millions of players, many of whom have spent years on ‘quests,’ epic adventures in which a party of heroes undertakes numerous difficult tasks in order to achieve specific goals. For many, Dungeons & Dragons, as well as all science fiction literature, was a way of creating an alternative reality in which the darkest aspects of real life were highlighted. Hence, use imagination to transform society’s fears, desires, and injustices into fantastical, demonic entities.

This exhibition project has the same objective. To transform reality into an utopian tale through diverse artistic practices, a dialogue that provides an imaginativeview of the modern world. Each artist will rewrite their own part of this parallel universe, adding their personal input to the exhibition in a way that goes beyondthe display of the artwoks. The goal of fantasy is to make us unconsciously reflect on the challenges of our time and to critically engage with dominant values.Its success is exactly its capacity to teach us about ourselves while immersing us in faraway realms. When there is a sense of impending doom, fantasy becomesmore popular. As the reality around us becomes more intricate and threatening, we turn to a world that is perhaps just as sinister, but intrinsically simpler and
more comprehensible. Fantasy can be a spontaneous means of reflecting on various themes connected to the nature of man, such as ethical values, desires, moti-vations, and relationships with others.

“... If we were to follow the signals that have accompanied the opening of this new century, we might conclude that we have come to live in an age that defines
itself by the disappearance of monuments and the erasures of symbols - a headless century. Thus, it should come as no surprise that this first decade of the twenty-first century produced a sculpture of fragments, a debased, precarious, trembling form that we have called Unmonumental.“

Massimiliano Gioni - Unmonumental, 2007.

One feature that all these games or narratives have in common is ruins and rubble, desolate places abandoned by man or where he has never dared to venture.In many cases, these are the spoils of lush empires, inhabited by monstrous creatures and demons, places designed to test the hearts and strength of adventurers.These imaginary spaces resonate deeply with the notion of the Unmonumental present in contemporary art. Unmonumentality is a concept that emerges in the 21st century, as the fragility of the status quo is made more visible by terrorist attacks, climate change, and, more generally, the increasing precocity of the daily lives of many people. Monuments cease to be symbols of eternal power and glory, to become synonyms of contemporary instability and ruinous futures.

The objective of this exhibition was to analyze the Unmonumental using imagination as a medium to connect apparently discordant realities: the ominous yet neatly designed world of D&D and the chaotic society we live in. The invited artists will explore and play with these themes, presenting works that will be like the cha-racters of a D&D campaign. On the one hand, the practices of the artists will enter into dialogue with each other to give life to a fantasy-like world. On the other and, like new monuments, the works will not only be the reification of the present, but also fiction, as bridges into the dark futures that seem to be impending.The aim is to blur the boundary between reality and fantasy, to use imagination as a medium capable of infringing on the experience of the everyday.

Warlocks, heroes, priestesses, and ruins will find new lives in the exhibition, challenging the viewer’s understanding of contemporary times from different per-spectives. The audience, like the artists, is asked to pick up the tools of imagination in order to pack what they consider normal and ordinary, perhaps finding monstrous demons in familiar places.