The Worlds Turned Upside Down – Contemporary art and folk cultures

BPS22, Hainaut Province's Art Museum, Charleroi, Belgium
26 Sep 2015 - 31 Jan 2016

The Worlds Turned Upside Down – Contemporary art and folk cultures

View of Yinka Shonibare / Marcel Berlanger, Scramble for Africa / L'Autruche, La Méduse, Arlequin, 2003 / 2015. Commissioned by the Museum for African Art, Long Island City, NY,The Pinnell Collection, Dallas / BPS22 production. Courtesy Galerie Rodolphe Jannsen, Brussels. Photo: Leslie Artamonow.


After 18 months of construction and renovation works, Belgium’s Hainaut Region Art Museum BPS22 reopens its doors with a large exhibition on the complicated relation between folk traditions and contemporary art. The title, The Worlds Turned Upside Down, refers to an old English dissenting folk ballad whilst the show is organised in the context of the programme of flagship exhibitions for Mons 2015, European Capital of Culture.

Indeed, the notion of folk culture encompasses countless ambiguities, even mystifications, and has never ceased to undergo various extensions and repositioning produced by the various disciplines that have touched it (literature, art history, ethnography, history, etc.) since the eighteenth century. Thus, this project aims at approaching folk cultures by using the sociological distinction between the traditions and art forms of the working classes (low culture) by opposition to those of the cultivated elite (high culture). In the steps of Stuart Hall, the exhibition approaches this articulation like a “constant fight” between low and high culture where artists of all eras have played a crucial role through quotations, formal, methodological or conceptual borrowings or even appropriations.

Exhibition Curator: Pierre-Olivier Rollin

Artists: Marina Abramović, Carlos Aires, Ghada Amer, Art Orienté Objet, Marcel Berlanger, David Brognon & Stéphanie Rollin, Paulo Climachauska, Jeremy Deller & Alan Kane, Wim Delvoye, Gabriele Di Matteo, Jimmie Durham, Kendell Geers, Michel Gouéry, Tal Isaac Hadad, Carsten Höller, Mike Kelley, Gareth Kennedy, Emilio López-Menchero, Paul McCarthy, Johan Muyle, Amy O’Neill, Grayson Perry, Javier Rodriguez, Edward Saïd & Joe Scanlan, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Walter Swennen, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Boris Thiébaut, Gert & Uwe Tobias, Patrick Van Caeckenbergh, Eric van Hove, Raphaël Van Lerberghe, Joana Vasconcelos, Thierry Verbeke, Marie Voignier & Vassilis Salpistis, Ulla von Brandenburg

In the program of Mons 2015, the European Capital of Culture.

A production of the BPS22 and the Mons 2015 Foundation in partnership with the Hainaut Province, the City of Charleroi, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the Wallonia Region.

BPS22, Hainaut Province’s Art Museum
Boulevard Solvay,22
6000 Charleroi



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