The 2nd of April was a rather busy day for cartooning in Brussels. Besides the Beltud opening in the Federal Parliament there was a secund inauguration in ‘The Seed Factory’: ‘That’s all Folks!’
An exhibition with press cartoons about Belgium or …. about ‘the end of Belgium’.
The 25th of May the Belgians will go to vote. Important elections. Some call it ‘the mother of all elections’ (because we vote at the same time for the Federal Parliament, Regional Parliaments and European Parliament – that doesn’t happen very often) others call it ‘the most dangerous elections ever’ (convinced that a great majority of the Flemish people will vote for the rather nationalist or patriot party and the Walloon people for the socialist party and that this will lead to the end of Belgium).
Myself I am rather optimistic in this political issue, but it must be said ‘That’s all Folks’ is a good topic for a cartoon exhbition.
Since 1830 till now there always have been discussions about the relevance of ‘Belgium’ as a country. The political cartoon is an important historical document that gives us a good idea of the political tensions in an era.
The exhibition, curated by Johny Bekaert, Vincent Baudoux, Michel Michiels and Patrick Regout, starts with satirical works and caricatures from 1830 and ends in 2014. The exhibited works give as a good overview on our Belgian history and the political relations between the Walloon and Flemish. However the artistic styles are very different when we compare the work of the late 19th century and now, the content of the works seem to be very similar.
For me it was for example strange to see the caricature of Pif Paf, dated 1887, that shows a Belgian map and a Flemish politician who wants to cut the map in two pieces: a Flemish and a Walloon part. It could still be published today!
It was an interesting exhibition, the presentation of the works was excellent and the free catalogue edited by ‘Het huis van het Beeld/La Maison de l’Image’ is a fantastic referential work.
But the thing that really got my full attention was the experiment by ‘Brain Impact’. They organised some fMRI-sessions, where they took a ‘photo’ of the brain while 2 Flemish and 2 French speaking Belgians looked first at photos of Belgian politicians and after that to caricatures of the same politicians. The scans did show which brain zones were the most active by watching the photos and caricatures. So the scan could determinate positif or negativ thoughts or the (lack of) attention that the viewer has for the photo/caricature. I found this really interesting, even if it was a small experiment and it does not have any scientific value, I concluded that we react differently on photos and caricatures.
The exhibition is open for the public till the 30th of June 2014 in The Seed Factory – a must see!