You know it. I know it. They know it too. And should anyone ask about it, then we know nothing. Everyone knows a public secret, but nobody officially knows. Our region’s visual culture is also such a public secret. What are the specific images with which we identify? The group exhibition Public Secrets provides the first impetus for a sample of this region’s current visual culture. Image, imaging, and image culture have a relationship to, even an unprecedented grip on, our Self-image.
Public Secrets also alludes to Bureau Europa. Architecture is solidified history. Architecture primarily provides protection and also gives cultural expression to the prevailing Zeitgeist. We recognise our Self in our surroundings – it is our house, street, city, and region with which we identify. However, from the city to the landscape, we are not always aware of the codes and power structures, visual or otherwise (e.g. material, religion, cultural, gender, different ethnic backgrounds), embedded in our designed environment. Time and again, Bureau Europa has addressed such ‘public secrets’ through thematising, from an international perspective, issues concerning our regional visual culture.
This exhibition was originally inspired by American author Ken Knabb’s writings on the Situationist International, which was the first counterculture he focused on. He has since unswervingly been interested in countercultures, be it the 1960s hippie counter culture or the 2011 Occupy movement.
Situationist International was an influential avant-garde artists’ movement, founded by Guy Debord in Paris in 1955. Its central concepts are detournement and dérive, or the ‘science of wandering’: experiencing the city around you differently through your imagination. The idea of psychogeography, which examines the effect our surroundings have on our emotions and behaviour, was also important for the Situationist International. This exhibition presents inspiring associative maps, alternative walks, and tilted perspectives.
Sara Bachour with Gladys Zeevaarders, Dear Hunter, Chris Keulen, Janneke Janssen, Tineke Kambier, Chaim van Luit, George Meijers, Tanja Ritterbex, Johannes Schwarz, Nic.Tummers, Michiel Ubels & Mike Moonen, and Kim Zwarts.
Special guest: Ken Knabb
Curators: Lene ter Haar and Saskia van Stein, director Bureau Europa
Graphic identity: Janneke Janssen
Opening: 29 August 17.00 to 19.00
Dates: 29 August to 6 October 2019
Admission: €5 adults, €3 for students/school pupils, free for museum card holders
Location: Bureau Europa, platform for architecture and design
Image: Janneke Janssen