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Navid Nuur et al.

From the Collection | Poetic Faith (group show)
Museum of Contemporary Art (S.M.A.K.), Ghent
8 February – 11 October 2020

Navid Nuur’s work included in the edition „The Dutch Connection – A4 Multiple (5)“, S.M.A.K., Ghent, 2015. Photo: Dirk Pauwels, Collection S.M.A.K., Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent
Navid Nuur’s work included in the edition „The Dutch Connection – A4 Multiple (5)“, S.M.A.K., Ghent, 2015. Photo: Dirk Pauwels, Collection S.M.A.K., Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent

A person can never perceive truth and fiction at the same time. But there is such a thing as ‘poetic faith’ or the ‘suspension of disbelief’. This is a mechanism in our brains that automatically triggers a temporary suspension of our belief in rational, perceptible reality, thereby allowing us to believe in the fiction we encounter at that moment. Indeed, whilst reading a novel or watching a film, we ‘believe’ in the story, however implausible it might seem. ‘Poetic faith’ is considered an essential ingredient for storytelling of any kind.

Many art forms are, by definition, fictitious. That is why they require an act of ‘poetic faith’ or the ‘suspension of disbelief’. Unlike literature, poetry, theatre and film, contemporary visual art is frequently based on a non-linear chronology. Moreover, it also involves elaborate forms of abstraction and conceptualisation, which hinders the ‘suspension of disbelief’.

The exhibition ‘Poetic Faith’ can be seen as a tribute to the power of, and belief in, the imagination. It challenges us to set aside the faith we place in our own (rational) reality, thereby allowing us to perceive ‘impossible’ artworks as ‘perfectly possible’ at first sight.

With work by Shikh Sabbir Alam, Guillaume Bijl, Marie Cloquet, Leo Copers, Hanne Darboven, Thierry De Cordier, Markus Degerman, Jef Geys, Joseph Grigely, Jorge Macchi, Bruce Nauman, Navid Nuur, Panamarenko, Giulio Paolini, Mandla Reuter, Jason Rhoades, Gil Shachar, Nedko Solakov, Birde Vanheerswynghels, Jan Van Imschoot, Tamara Van San and Philippe Van Snick.

Museum of Contemporary Art (S.M.A.K.)