ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: LEO COPERS

Dark Museum

 

After Jan De Cock, Philippe Vandenberg, Raoul De Keyser and Stijn Cole, Leo Copers is the fifth artist to explore the Museum of Fine Arts Ghent as Artist in Residence.

Copers shrouds much of the museum in complete darkness. During the blackout, which is characterised by absolute darkness and a complete lack of orientation, a blind person guides the sighted visitors around the museum. The visitor thus is asked to follow a blind guide through the dark museum rooms instead of a sighted guide. This reversal of roles prompts a reflection about the spectator’s viewing behaviour and the meaning of art. What do people see in a museum? The museum is eminently suited to targeted observation thanks to its bright filtered light. Copers, however, is convinced that people see little or nothing when they walk through a museum. Not seeing anything means not making any discoveries and not being surprised by the art in the museum. The only way to force visitors to look at the art on the walls is through the guided tour, the creative workshop or by using an audio guide. In Copers’ approach, the educational function of didactic resources becomes an absurd and nihilistic operation and installation. We are guided through a dark museum to understand what we have not seen or will never see.