'Sense of Place'
Watou Arts Festival, Belgium
Curated by James Putnam
July 2 - September 4, 2022
32 Participating visual artists
Angelika Fuchs, Anne ten Ham, Atelier Haute Cuisine ,Barbara Callewaert & Jo Verhenne,Bart Eysink Smeets,Danielle Van Vree, De Reuringdienst, Helena Cnockaert, Hendrik Vermeulen, Ilke Cop, Mikes Poppe, Rob Voerman, Schellekens, Selvatico,Tina Wilke and Matias Brunacci, Tom Bogaert, Tomas Bachot & Roland Deketelaere, Koen Vanmechelen, Alex Hartley, Nicol Vizioli, Gavin Turk,Kate MccGwire, Marcel Broodthaers, Alastair & Fleur Mackie, Silia Ka Tung, James P. Graham, Margarita Zafrilla Olayo, Henry Hudson,Michelangelo Pistoletto, Nam June Paik
Watou is a village at the French border in the Belgian province of West Flanders in the district town of Poperinge where they have held over 40 editions of an annual arts festival. In 2021 they introduced an open call system called ‘Patchwork’ where artists are invited to spend a week camping in Watou to survey the sites and meet the local residents. After submitting their proposals around 20 artists are selected by an international jury supplemented by others chosen by the guest curator.
‘Sense of Place’ Curatorial concept
An artwork installed in a public space needs to be site-specific and therefore have a sense of place. The work doesn’t have to merely beautify the place but needs to provoke or stimulate thought in an aesthetic way having some significance to its site. The art works that are chosen are intended to have ‘a sense of place’ in that they convey a very direct message about the artist’s commitment to the site they have visited and their understanding and appreciation of the local culture and traditions.