oriol vilanoca billboard series artlead gent

Billboard Series #07:
Oriol Vilanova

Oriol Vilanova (°1980, ES – lives and works in Brussels) visits flea markets all over the world to collect antique postcards. The cards he buys can depict everything: from kittens to architectural highlights and from archaeological artefacts to sunsets. These postcards can be seen as mass-produced reliquaries, tangible memories or souvenirs from places or periods.

Vilanova’s collection contains over thirty-four thousand postcards, which he classifies in over one hundred sections, and presents accordingly. The most interesting section would be the one reserved for cards the artist calls ‘unclassifiable’ – as they are often the starting point for new ways of making sense of this ever-growing collection.

While this collection of postcards lies at the core of his practice, Vilanova extends this act of collecting to secondary collectibles such as printed advertisements and the typical haggling conversations between sellers and buyers at flea markets. So far, nothing of these secondary collections has been made public.

For this new Billboard Series, Vilanova presents I.M.D.A. – an image for one of these secondary collections, for the first time. The artist esteemed the context of a billboard an interesting moment to publicly present a part of his collection of printed publicity matters. While this image on the billboard has a clear commercial character – in both the way of presenting the depicted object as in the design of the ad – it is actually showing a dysfunctional object.

By re-contextualizing an object of desire to another time, in another culture, and on another scale, it loses its value as an object of desire and becomes an evocative and enigmatic image. As such, I.M.D.A. could be seen as a short poem, referring to both the industrial past of the neighbourhood around the billboard and the transition the area is in, but simultaneously open to many different readings.





All images courtesy of the artist
Installation photography: Michiel De Cleene

Billboard Series is a long-term art project in public space, for which every three months an artist is invited to create a new, site-specific work for a 50 m2 billboard on Dok Noord, Ghent. Through changing presentations, Billboard Series wants to build a sustainable and productive dialogue with the surrounding neighbourhood and urban landscape, reflect on the changes that this neighbourhood is currently undergoing, and introduce a broad audience to different visual languages and ways of looking at the world.

Billboard Series is a project of artlead, together with 019. Billboard Series is curated by Thomas Caron, takes place within a scenography by architect Olivier Goethals, and is being developed with the support of the City of Ghent and the Flemish Community.

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