Sam Durant: Proposal for Non-Aligned Monuments, Free Movement | Cultuurcentrum Strombeek, Grimbergen, Belgium

March 19 – May 19, 2021

More information on the exhibition

“This project brings forward the concept of free movement at a time when Europe is struggling with migration from its former colonies due to war, economic deprivation and climate change. It also makes visible a twentieth century socio-political idea for international cooperation.” —Sam Durant 

Cultuurcentrum Strombeek is happy to announce Proposal for Non-Aligned Monuments, Free Movement by the American artist Sam Durant. In the 1990s, Durant won international acclaim with his outspoken politically and socially engaged work. Extensive research underlies his provocative dialogue with tumultuous or forgotten events from the past that casts a new light on the current social, political or cultural dynamics. 

The interactive installation Proposal for Non-Aligned Monuments, Free Movement is the heart of the exhibition. The work is dedicated to the Non-Aligned Movement, which was founded in 1961 at the instigation of Egypt, Ghana, Yugoslavia, Indonesia, and India. The movement, which at the time sharply criticized all forms of colonialism and imperialism, was joined by countries that were not formally aligned with any of the two major power blocs at the time of the Cold War. To date, the NAM includes over 120 countries which together make up more than half of the world’s population, and functions as an international forum to discuss common interests. 

Proposal for Non-Aligned Monuments, Free Movement is the most recent installation from the series Proposals for Monuments, which Durant began in 1999. At a time when the world is in full movement, Durant allows a new view of the present while opening up possibilities for the future. The work emerges as a model and emphasizes the role of the imagination and freedom of movement, while tuning in to the current need for new concepts, initiatives and alternative world views. Another work, World is Possible—a slogan that lights up the façade of Cc Strombeek while the exhibition is on—reflects this generous exploration of the status quo. 

The captivating video Trope, consisting of personal archive material from the artist, features a range of iconoclastic actions that span nations, cultures and eras. Together with a new series of collages, the video illustrates Durant’s incessant interest in monuments and memorials, and their precarious symbolic status with regard to social change. In the context of social polarization, religious extremism and disinformation, Proposal for Non-Aligned Monuments, Free Movement introduces a dose of humanity, while at the same time inviting the visitor to engage in (re)discovery and solidarity.

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