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extension#30 Art House Index (PUB) at BB 7
extension#30 Art House Index (PUB) at BB 7extension#30 Art House Index (PUB) at BB 7extension#30 Art House Index (PUB) at BB 7extension#30 Art House Index (PUB) at BB 7extension#30 Art House Index (PUB) at BB 7

Art House Index (PUB) at Bucharest Biennale 7

Vermeir & Heiremans presented a publicity for Art House Index on an advertisement billboard in the city of Bucharest on the occasion of BB7. The advertisement billboard becomes so to speak an extension of the artists' house in Brussels.

The billboard proposes Art House Index as a frontier investment opportunity. Art House Index is a financial tool that measures the value of the artists' Art House, using parameters like the global real estate market, the art markets and the attention the artists' brand ‘Vermeir & Heiremans’ generate.

In combination with the index the artists used an image of their home opening up to a night view on Bucharest, Ceausescu’s People's House in the distance. Through the window of their house also slices of other global cities are visible, making Bucharest part of a globalising flow.

For the location of their billboard Vermeir & Heiremans selected an area close to the University of Art and the Bucharest University of Economic Studies. Close to the billboard new residential and office towers have recently been build, part of the full speed neoliberal building boom in the post-socialist city…

Notes on the BB7 curatorial concept: As established throughout the curatorial concept entitled 'What are we building down there?' BB7 highlighted the themes of privatization, commercialization, and corporatization of the post-socialist city within its very structure, thereby displacing the biennale onto twenty-one advertising billboards. Dispersed across Bucharest, the billboard signifies high visibility and holds the potential to interact with unique local contexts in ways that traditional modes of exhibition making oftentimes cannot. As such, they act as artistic footnotes to the already existing city infrastructure, opening up new ways of connecting and navigating the city, while making apparent important yet often concealed aspects of its past, present, and future possibilities. By organizing BB7 exclusively on advertising billboards, the biennale radically and publicly appropriated Bucharest smoothest and most visible two-dimensional commercial surfaces. The biennale, instead of being an actor working against all-pervasive processes of commercialization, thus acts as one of many possible conduits through which to imagine novel modes of non-oppositional dissent. Working closely with the artists, it simultaneously revived an almost anachronistic mode of site-specific artistic intervention in physical space, right at the magnified and materialized outpost of our spam-infused everyday existence. Drawing on the utopian ideals of the historical avant-garde with regards to the liberating and educational potential of advertising as well as the more deviant culture-jamming practices of collectives such as the Billboard Liberation Front, BB7 reinterpreted the billboard's inherent experimental potential to activate new ways of looking at, interpreting, and/or moving around within present day Bucharest. The twenty-one locations acted as vantage points from which to position oneself towards recent urban developments within Bucharest. The biennale thus revealed a stratified urban context in which the billboard holds a foremost symbolic importance, if only for its ever-more proliferating presence and political, as well as economic and cultural power.

Poster by Vermeir & Heiremans on backlit Billboard, 3x4 m (2016)
location: Grivitei Cale and intersectiion Str Constantin Budisteanu, Bucharest.
Printed by Posterscope, Romania
Design by Salome Schmuki.
Curator BB7: Niels Van Tomme
Assistant curator BB7: Charlotte Van Buylaere