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Joris Van De Moortel is curator of BANG!#5. In plain English: the programmer of the fifth travelling arts festival organised by the VUB’s cultural service, commonly known as the Kultuurkaffee. An interview.



Joris Van De Moortel is de curator van BANG!#5. In gewonemensentaal: de samensteller van het 5de reizend kunstenfestival van het VUB KultuurKaffee. We konden hem interviewen.

Who are you?

Well, I am a visual artist. My first exhibition dates from 2007 in Antwerp, when I was still studying at the St. Lukas academy. Later on I also went to an academy in Breda, another one in Brussels and the Higher Institute for Fine Arts in Ghent. From that first exposition other projects arose, often even simultaneously. Last year I participated in BE-PART (Waregem), the Grand Hornu Museum (Mons) and more recently I had a show, Winter Harvest, in the D’Hondt-Daenens Museum in Deurle. At this moment I am working on several projects, besides BANG!#5, amongst one in the Liberty London on occasion of the Pink Floyd’s Mortal Remains show in the V&A this summer. I am connected to the galleries of Nathalie Obadia (Brussels and Paris) and Krinzinger (Vienna).


BANG!#5 runs in a church?

Yes, and I like it! Churches used to be the first museums. Their architecture and acoustics are really special. In this Beguinage Church you will find beautiful stained glass windows and a wonderful organ. One could even compare the rituals and practices of religious communities with those of the art’s scenes. Every discipline has standards and canons which are incomprehensible for others. That is why I like reading interviews with other artists, go and see their work, not to copy it but to learn from them, trying to understand their ‘bible’ and the solutions they found for their questions.


Referring to acoustics: your own work and this festival are filled with music…?

Indeed. It has always been that way, although in the beginning I was not really aware of this. But the importance of music in my installations has steadily grown. Not being a trained musician myself I nevertheless succeeded to cooperate with classical ensembles like Spectra, for which Thomas De Prins spelled out my improvisations into sheet music for 8 musicians. I am especially attracted by the new classical minimal music from the seventies and the eighties. And, just as during BANG!#1, when I made an acoustic installation for Teun

Verbruggen in a former office space, I will now again make an installation of speakers and amplifiers that will enhance the natural acoustics of the church.


How did you compose the programme?

I did not do this all by myself. But I knew there were 12 evenings to be filled. So I asked 12 people whether they would be interested to participate. And they were. All of them invited in their turn 3 or 4 other artists. During this preparation, I was intrigued by the old Flemish masters and I was reading this biography of Breughel when I saw the 12 plates with proverbs in de Mayer-Van den Bergh museum in Antwerp. I assigned my guests to do something with one of these proverbs and a certain key, and they all took this very seriously. This leads to a variety of artistic products, yet stemming from one vison and concept. Every evening will start with a ceremony, an initiation, a shortened version of a performance on the seven sacraments which I tried out earlier on a “Sunday Mess” in Deurle (glass, fire, wax, white, smoke, nature, vandal).


Exams are coming closer now. Why would students put their books aside to visit this festival?

In my opinion these twelve nights are the perfect break in the study period. One is not supposed to attend all evenings neither. TIP: without alcohol, a break from 7 till 10 pm, for only €5, allowing your brains to explore other areas: I am convinced that it will be most rewarding, even creating the necessary space in your brains to enable them to take up even more study stuff.


After this interview I had a closer look at his studio. Metal moulds and melting materials, musical instruments and Breughel’s proverbs composed with clippings from Playboy on mica. A bit chaotic now, but in the Beguinage Church probably a sensation. I am looking forward to it and do wish Joris every success.


Good to know: the Beguinage Church is next to St-Catherine metro station. More information and details of the programme can be found on: