Jan Fabre’s utopian raft as well as the studies preceding Le radeau de la Méduse(The Medusa’s Raft) by Théodore Géricault will be on display during the exhibition; they served as the conceptual models with which the participating artists established a connection. A raft is a vehicle, a lifesaving device, a place of isolation, reflection, uncertainty, insight and coming together. It symbolises a journey with a clear destination or an adventurous quest lacking direction. A raft can be understood as a symbol for manifold interpretations. You can also call it a metaphor for the ecstasy that art can instil.
Jan Fabre and Joanna De Vos asked a number of contemporary artists to give their own interpretation of the theme of the raft, within this thematic framework and the dramatic composition of this exhibition. In the panorama of the North Sea and at all layers of the fabric of the city 73 artists share their creations. Their work often bears witness to a dichotomy, in which quiet isolation and social engagement are equally important. The staging of the exhibition is intent on challenging boundaries. Some of the visual artists are also engaged in other disciplines, such as film, theatre and performance art. Existing work, as well as 52 new creations, will be on display at 22 familiar and surprising locations. Additionally, at least fifteen artists will be presenting a unique performance. Art is the medium for communication; art demands and creates connection. Art is lonely, yet is not. The urge to communicate and exchange ideas and opinions is expressed immediately in performance art. The physical body is used as a raft of experimentation and transition, to which the audience is both witness and participant. The City of Ostend will become a large, hospitable raft of art during the Triennial. It offers its body and soul to look beyond the familiar framework, because it is precisely in this that the foundation of discovery and rediscovery lies ensconced. Art must disturb and enchant.