“Carine Fol”

Carine Fol, inspired curator

Artistic Director of La Centrale, Carine Fol presents “Private Choices”, a selection of eleven collections of contemporary art from Brussels. Conceptual objects, political pieces and even sensual images… Eleven intimate adventures running until 27 May. Interview.   La Centrale is Belgium’s hotspot for contemporary creativity. The art center is sponsored by the city of Brussels and is located in a former power station on Place Sainte-Catherine. Carine Fol, artistic director of this extraordinary place, has brought the programming here to life since 2012.  An art historian and specialist in “outsider” art, for the past ten years this supercharged woman has directed Art & Marges, a singular space dedicated to the creation of asylum and to self-taught artists. Today, at La Centrale, she’s receiving an ambitious exhibition; “Private Choices”. Eleven collections of contemporary art from within Brussels… with just as many varying perspectives on the world.   ‘Private Choices’, is the story of eleven adventures – sometimes intimate, sometimes intellectual, often sensitive… What’s the thinking behind the exhibition? I wanted to show the decisive, and increasingly important role that collectors play in the field of contemporary art. I also wanted to explore their freedom with regard to public collections, with intuition being an important factor in many of the collections. I think that this exhibition, with 250 works of art, breaks down the preconceived idea of a collector – the image of a player in the art market who invests in contemporary art for speculative purposes. Collectors actually take a lot of risks, and are often very close to the artists.  In Frédéric de Goldschmidt’s collection, we have Cy Twombly alongside the work of a student just out of art school, demonstrating that often gut feeling is really what informs a decision. Those decisions, as part of a museum institution,...

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Carine Fol, a borderless itinerary through art

AMA went to meet Carine Fol on the occasion of the publication of her latest book De l’art des fous à l’art sans marges, presenting a history of art brut through three key figures: Hans Prinzhorn, Jean Dubuffet and Harald Szeemann, who left their marks on the field of marginal and informal arts. It was also an opportunity to review her activity as artistic director of La Centrale in Brussels and its future projects for 2016 around the same principle: knocking the walls down in arts and thinking. How did you get involved with art brut? Everything started in the 1980s when I began researching in an association and several psychiatric institutions in Belgium. We set up a reading committee, made up of a psychiatrist and several art historians. Together, we commented Hans Prinzhorn’s book Bildernerei des Geisteskranken (Expressions of Madness, 1922). We took Dr. Prinzhorn’s collection to Belgium in 1996 when I was working at the Goethe Institut in Brussels. Already at university, I became aware of the richness of Dubuffet’s personality, as well as his writings and paintings. My path is inseparable from the people I met over this period. In 1986, we set up an exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Brussels, “L’Artiste absent” (The Absent Artist), in which we presented works produced in the psychiatric milieu. Afterwards, I worked at Le Botanique (Brussels) where I presented an exhibition on art brut, curated by Lucienne Peiry. Finally, I presented a Dubuffet retrospective (“Jean Dubuffet – Du trait à la matière”, 1996), and in another venue, the collection of Art en Marge (rebaptised Musée Art et Marges in 2009), that I started running in 2000. So this is how it started. Then everything accelerated when I decided to leave official art channels to devote myself to Art...

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