Known for their explorations of and (often literal) interventions into the institutions, systems, trends, and mores of contemporary society, the Italian-Belgian artist duo Simona Denicolai and Ivo Provoost, aka Denicolai and Provoost, are currently setting their sights on The Hague, where an exhibition of their new works has recently opened at West Den Haag. Curated by Charles Gohy, and true to their approach, the exhibition features animated films, objects, and installations, as well as collaborations and interactions with residents of The Hague. Its title, “MORE by Denicolai and Provoost,” refers not only to the exhibition’s contents (i.e. more work by this multidisciplinary artistic team) but also promises that through their work, viewers will be introduced to a more nuanced, more layered, and ultimately more complex vision of their city and contemporary urban life.
Among the issues that the duo has looked into is that of man’s neglectful relationship with nature. This is reflected in the exhibition’s centerpiece, an animated film-in-progress titled, Hello, Are we in the Show?, through which the artists examine the places where the man-made abuts the natural, in this case, at the edges of the Sonian Forest near Brussels. The film features recordings of the sounds heard around the forest’s perimeter, which range from the rustling of the wind in the trees and the cracking of branches to the roar of airplanes flying overhead. These are overlaid onto animated renderings of sites both natural and industrial.
Though the film is focused upon a specific forest, its themes are universal. For their exhibition at West Den Haag, the artists have ventured to the forest that lies outside of The Hague and created an installation foregrounding its gradual loss to urban development. Not content to stop at visual presentation alone, Denicolai and Provoost are providing an array of seeds for viewers to take home with them and plant, thereby inviting them to do what they would do: take action to change the status quo.