Exhibition Catalog


Triënnale Brugge
Curatorial Essays by Till-Holger Borchert, Michel Dewilde
Triënnale Brugge

...her multifaceted, transdisciplinary body of work has taken various shapes while she is exploring and defining intersections between art and science. Her innovative oeuvres utilize different artistic media – both analogue and digital – to embody scientific phenomena. Regardless of her medium of choice, Laura Splan succeeds in translating complex scientific concepts into sensory experiences. She transforms research and knowledge into tactile shapes and haptic forms that empowers the Begreifen (understanding) of complicated contexts and intricate interactions on the part of the viewer. She seeks and finds inspiration in traditional techniques that are historically linked with domestic work of women such as lacemaking and embroidery, thereby adding a specific feminist dimension to her work; other sources of inspiration, however, transcend gender-stereotypes and include cutting edge research by individual scientists and/or larger research teams working in the fields of biology, chemistry, molecular genetics and social sciences...

—Excerpt from Catalog Essay by Till-Holger Borchert

...Splan’s interest in biology and biomedical research, partly triggered by the crisis of the medical world that first occurred during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, has resulted in a body of work where drawings, sculptures and ceramics were made from blood or were deliberately stained with blood. Another cluster of her work confronted textiles made from wool of laboratory animals with digital animations of molecular structures to create a narrative of cellular biology. Among her most poignant work is a series Doilies that she started to produce in 2004. Taken the ornamental shape of decorative lace that we are used to from the comfort of domestic contexts, her Doilies are computerized machine embroidered laces that are no longer inspired by motives of the visible nature but reproduce the structures of contagious viruses like SARS, HIV, and Hepadna. These Doilies are shown during the Bruges Triennial 2021: TraumA as part of a site-specific installation in the Bruges’ Museum of Our Lady of the Pottery – a medieval hospital that served until the 19th century as a quarantine station of the city – alongside her newest work Disentanglement. Made specifically for the Bruges’ Triennial, Disentanglement is a video sculpture that takes the shape of a triptych, thereby alluding to the collection of late medieval and early modern devotional triptychs preserved in this Museum. The triptych’s content, however, is no longer related to notions of Christian redemption, but shows an animation created from the molecular structures of the coronavirus with its spike proteins, the ACE receptor of human cells and single-domain antibodies (so called llama nano-antibodies) which are created by the pharmaceutical industry to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and COVID-19. Blood, illnesses, domestic embroideries, textiles: Laura Splan’s artistic universe has as much an ultra-rational base as it has an uncanny side which intersects with collective traumata...

—Excerpt from Catalog Essay by Till-Holger Borchert

Exhibition Catalog for Triënnale Brugge: TraumA

Bilingual edition: English/Dutch
Edited by Till-Holger Borchert Michel Dewilde
With contributions by Heidi Deknudt en Mahdi Ghorbani Stefan Huygebaert Richard McCoy Jürgen Müller Els Wuyts  
Photography Matthias Desmet Jasper van het Groenewoud

Disentanglement and Doilies featured in catalog for Triënnale Brugge 2021: TraumA

With TraumA, the Triennial of Bruges dives into the ‘uncanny’ history and reality of Bruges. Historical layers are exposed, forgotten or hidden storylines discussed. This edition explores the thin line between dream and trauma, between paradise and hell. It appeals to the imagination, to the pomp and circumstance, but also to the ‘uncanny’ that is present underground. For although Bruges seems to be a dream destination for many, poverty, loneliness, pollution or fear also lurk in this picture-perfect world. Triennial Bruges 2021: TraumA uses artistic and architectural interventions to bring the less attractive aspects to the surface and make them part of the city’s image. It creates a polyphonic discourse, where there is room for imagination, beauty, darkness and complexity. A space where artists and architects can explore both the stage and the dusty wings. Triennial Bruges 2021: TraumA balances between the present and the hidden. With a course of sculptural, architectural and organic creations, it is a celebration of the versatility and mobility of this city. Between private and public. Between dream and nightmare.

Triënnale Brugge 2021 Artists

Amanda Browder, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Jon Lott, Joanna Malinowska, Nadia Naveau, Nnenna Okore, Henrique Oliveira, Hans Op de Beeck, Laura Splan, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, Adrián Villar Rojas, Héctor Zamora