Publiek Park is an open-air group exhibition that inhabits the unique setting of the Citadelpark in Ghent, approaching the landscape park as a total installation and the exhibition as a promenade. The multidisciplinary project unites visual art, performance, music and film at the interface of culture, nature and heritage.
Fifty bells ring, a flag raised,
a motor jumps over a statue.
A butterfly with wet wings
flutters around swamps & ponds.
Renamed paths guide you the way.
Building upon the layers of narratives already present in the park – its history, surrounding myths and social dynamics – a selection of twenty-two international artists present artworks, which reflect and expand the experience of the Citadelpark as an urban and natural public space.
Plinths are built for Prometheus, lost.
Forgotten fish swim. “Do you want tea?”
A table evokes a speaker’s corner.
In the room, a toothless resistance unfolds,
whilst cracks reveal deeper landscapes.
The visitors of the park are invited for a walk that ties together social, historical and artistic narratives, following a route of familiar pathways and hidden corners, including locations that are ordinarily not publicly accessible such as the military casemates, the former dog shelter and the magical aquarium grotto.
“Hi story!” say beetles
who dig red roads, yet untrodden.
111 birds flock to the hall, because
a tree log holds onto its dying branch.
In addition to the group exhibition, a varied public programme of events is presented every day, including performances, guided tours, drawing sessions, a series of music concerts organised by KRAAK, an open-air film programme composed by Art Cinema OFFoff and many more. An extensive walking guide (NL/EN) is published with a focus on the artistic practices, the historical locations and the storylines embedded in the Citadelpark, that is still available at https://www.copyrightbookshop.be/shop/publiek-park-walking-guide-wandelgids-edition-of-500-copies/.
When fences border motion,
seeds of light germinate from a lantern.
A golden, seated lion gazes over the lake.
Four core fears close the doors.
Publiek Park is curated by Jef Declercq, Anna Laganovska, Koi Persyn & Adriënne van der Werf and is an initiative of the Young Friends v/h S.M.A.K. in collaboration with S.M.A.K., MSK, GUM, 019, KRAAK, Monterey, Art Cinema OFFoff, BLANCO, Kunstencentrum Voo?uit, Tumult.fm and Ensemble. This project is supported by the Province of East Flanders, the City of Ghent, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, SIGN Groningen, HISK and Bocca.
‘To be a plant in the botanical garden’
could be the title of a novella.
To be a spore locked in the palmarium,
unless the gates open.