BETWEEN RELIGION - Franck Bragigand shows one old and four new works in Gallery Arte Contemporanea. Most prominently occupying the large room is an installation ‘Ready?’ in the middle of the space. It consists of a group of replicas of Roman shields, made by sawing discarded oil barrels in two, by providing them with handles and by giving them a fresh layer of paint. Six round shields, transformed oil barrels’ covers, are hanging on the wall. One of the round shields was given a cover of blackboard paint, as an invitation to occupy it by slogans, sayings, or even figures - like a Medusa face. This is a direct and confronting installation, while, at the same time, it remains quite open. The Roman shields of course recall Asterix’s enemies, playing soldiers, and pretending. Child’s play. But at the same time, those things look very much like the equipment of the riot police, trying to calm down the uprisings in the Matongé district in Brussels, just a few blocks away from the gallery, just a few weeks ago. Or, is Bragigand suggesting that we should defend ourselves against the oil lobby and its industry, cunningly but urgently? Is this installation about safety and fear, about the safeguard of property, and about art as defence?
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