Proud Jambon opens pavilion Venice Biennale

  • April 21, 2022

Minister-president and Minister of Culture Jan Jambon opened the Belgian pavilion of the Venice Biennale on 21 April. Curator Hilde Teerlinck and artist Francis Alÿs are representing our country with the project "The Nature of the Game", which focuses on children's enjoyment of play.

Minister-president Jambon said in his opening speech that he was proud of Flanders' place at the Biennale. In Flanders' international policy, which has to be ambitious and coherent, cultural policy has a major role to play, he emphasised. "After all, Flanders can only really shine if it also shines culturally."

But even in that beautiful setting of the biennale, one cannot escape the harsh reality. Minister-president Jambon: "The work "Children's Games" by Francis Alÿs makes a deep impression on me. My grandfather's heart bleeds at the thought of all those children in the midst of that war."

With the video series "Children's Games", Alÿs says he is showing a "nomadic portrait" of children at play. In 1986 - when he was eighteen years old - the artist exchanged Belgium for Mexico. "When I think of Belgium, I think of my own childhood," Alÿs explains. "In the back of my mind was 'Children's Games' by Pieter Bruegel the Elder: a fantastic painting. It seemed to me the right opportunity and the right moment, in the context of the Belgian pavilion, to pay a hidden homage to the painting that I saw as a child and that left such an impression on me that I have devoted my adult life to art and children," Alÿs says.

In the margins of the opening of the Belgian pavilion, meetings were scheduled with the Estonian Minister of Culture, Tiit Terik, the Swiss Vice-President Alain Berset and the Luxembourg Minister of Culture, Sam Tanson. Minister-president Jambon also visited the exhibition of the Pinchuk Art Center in Santa Maria della Misericordia. The exhibition shows new works of some well-known contemporary Ukrainian artists who choose to stay in Ukraine. The Pinchuk Art Center is the largest Ukrainian art institution and is headed by Antwerp native Björn Geldhof.

Delegation of Flanders in Italy

Photo: BELGA IMAGE