THE SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF
With The Suspension of Disbelief,
Z33 has invited the artist duo Sarah &
Charles for a first major solo exhibition.
Their all-encompassing project, which
includes several installations and two
short films, takes the visitor into a world
filled with paradoxes, somewhere between fiction and reality.
For years, Z33 has created a platform for emerging Belgian artists who cast a critical eye on society or their own artistic practice. By offering young artists a first solo exhibition at a pivotal time in their career, Z33 aims to be a catalyst for the (further) development of their international career. After artists such as, among others, Kris Verdonck, Philip Metten, Frederic Geurts, Ives Maes and Gert Robijns, it is now Sarah & Charles’s turn. Sarah & Charles derive their imagery from the worlds of film, theatre and the visual arts. They take inspiration from the cinema, refer to a variety of narrative techniques, play with illusion and theatricality – incorporating references to both “in front” and “behind the scenes”, the world of dance, installation art and the exhibition machine as such. These aspects of multi- or
Sarah & Charles, Film still Props for Drama : Suspension of Disbelief, 2013
interdisciplinarity, combined with a multifaceted and playful approach to various models of presentation, contribute in a significantway to the research conducted in recentyears at Z33 on the practice and methodologyof the exhibition, such as in the exhibitions of Philip Metten, Kris Verdonck and Åbäke.Moreover, the work of Sarah & Charles isfully aligned with the vision of Z33. By initiatingprojects that are anchored in society and/ormanage to expose aspects of social friction, Z33 centres not on conditions of normality,but rather on divergence. This is also what typifies the approach of Sarah & Charles : the game that unfolds throughout their oeuvre brings the viewer to the edge between the real and the unreal. Through their created imagery, they manipulate the understanding, the experience and the (dis)belief of the viewer.
They establish an interplay with the personal experience of the viewer, make demands on
their imagination and question the knowability of reality. Through the work of Sarah & Charles, Z33 offers visitors a very different perspective on everyday reality.
The Suspension of Disbelief
The Suspension of Disbelief, the exhibition of Sarah & Charles at Z33, functions as an allencompassing cinematic or theatrical experience. Upon entering the exhibition, the visitor is taken into a world of contradictions: fact versus fiction, finished versus unfinished, front versus backstage. What is real and what is not? Is this work finished, or is it still being set up? Am I in front or behind the scenes? Where does the exhibition end and the scenography begin? The exhibition reveals a continuous use of narrative techniques and references to a wide variety of cinematic and theatrical elements.
Visitors are confronted with a blinding light in-stallation, a large silver curtain, abstract theatre props, descriptions of sound effects...In the last work in the exhibition, Props for Drama: Suspension of Disbelief, all these elements are ultimately brought together into one narrative whole. A surreal musical film, presented against an abstracted background typical of the genre, draws the viewer into a “story within a story”, filled with impossible events. This short film, which exudes an atmosphere that is entirely at odds with ‘The Suspension of Disbelief ’ as a whole, is the masterpiece of this exhibition.
This publication is set up in a referential manner and therefore requires a particular way of reading. The first part of the book provides an exploratory framework on the oeuvre of Sarah & Charles, written by Laurence Dujardyn, independent curator and connoisseur of their work. The second part is a photo section, in which images of earlier works, new works, and images from the exhibition at Z33 are brought together. The alphabet primer that constitutes the third part of the book, uses cross-references to give an indepth view into Sarah & Charles’s sources of inspiration. It is an associative list of terms, taken from the worlds of film, theatre and the visual arts, that together form a frame of reference for their work. Both texts, the text on the oeuvre by Laurence Dujardyn and the alphabet primer, function together and are mutually referential, using these signs. The publication as well as the exhibition at Z33 give the visitor a glimpse into the world of this singular duo.