“When Saturn rules,
all things are turned around,
and everything becomes its opposite.”
(from the Saturnalia)
“An archeology of the here and now” - that’s how the Saturnia project defines itself.
On large photographic panels it assembles images of tools and objects of everyday use in certain human activities and professions. Like the ancient tapestries we often see in city halls, representing the guilds and trades of past times, Saturnia portrays ‘a city at work’. Unlike the ancient images, these portraits do not show people, but objects belonging to real individuals, carrying the signs of usage and the echo of human presence.
The artistic compositions are stills of a heritage not yet recognised as such, historical before the passing of history. A poetic dimension of the present.
‘City in Action’ is the title of the exhibition Saturnia will open in Leuven on December 17th, 2005. It portrays over 20 activities and professions of individuals active in the city of Leuven. Seen from the point of view of the instruments, professions are placed not hierarchically but next to one another, levelling status differences and social distinctions.
New associations are possible.
Street sweepers appear next to quality controllers specialised in nanotechnology: both are linked by a common fight against ‘dirt’. The pathologist and the taxidermist hold the key to the preservation of life, before and after death.
The notary and the camera man both document and preserve human acts through their own medium: paper and film. The geometry and clinical transparency of the window cleaner contrasts with the formless brute matter of the potter.
While the soldier and Saint Arnold, patron of the brewers, look on, the teacher and the deejay engage side by side in a battle for the hearts and minds of the young. The jailer, custodian of our deepest fears, meets the nanny, keeper of our highest dreams. The homeless person turns over and sleeps on…
Our usual categories and distinctions, by which we order our activities, shift and rub against each other. In the heat of the friction, new configurations flare up.