Independent Collectors

Servais Family Collection – Dérapages & Post-Bruises Imaginaries

The current hang of works from the Servais Family Collection, curated by Dragos Olea, offers a juxtaposition of concern versus hope

GUAN XIAO, Air Freshner, Spray, 2017. © Hugard & Vanoverschelde photography
GUAN XIAO, Air Freshner, Spray, 2017. © Hugard & Vanoverschelde photography

Can we fight fatigue, myopia, the feeling of being powerless, legacies of the faulty maps of yesterday?

Can we find within the strata of reality seeds for a new consciousness, for a better understanding of the present?

What about some sparkles of a less gloomy future?

A sedimentation of very different artistic strategies from metaphoric to rebellious, from queering to ironic, the works selected from the vast Family Servais Collection for “DÉRAPAGES & POST-BRUISES IMAGINARIES” exhibition unfold a vocabulary of dissent so very necessary in a time characterized by social upheavals, by so many absurd political games and a jumble economy.

Works tackle topics like biopolitics, (new) rituals for revolutions, migration, tensions between the public & private spheres, ideological failures in recent history, hedonism, labor & oppressive market conditions, queer futurities, psycho capitalism etc.

The disturbing mood is settled from the first work visible in the exhibition: “{You Are} On The Wrong Side”, the reversed neon text of Pravdoliub Ivanov is installed in a way that places all visitors on the wrong side reaching beyond dichotomies such as west-east, north-south, challenging also a clear right – wrong cut.

Blending repulsion and fascination for affluent lifestyles and symbols of femininity, “The Great Revel of Hairy Harry Who Who: Orgy in the cellar” is a frontal critique fed by past encounters Athena Papadopoulos had with clientele of her father’s fur coat workshop, while Josh Kline’s installations “Contagious Unemployment (Many Thanks)” and “Deletion”, have an anticipatory force that leaves out the subjunctive.

The non-linear understanding of time in the “Air Freshener, Spray” artificial-life ecosystem of Chinese artist Guan Xiao that includes, among other elements, an enormous horizon-lightbox that could be likened to a giant pixel of hope is linked with “Panos” series of Mexican duo Tercerunquinto that achieves the semi-impossible: to transfer from the streets onto textile sheets the original power of graffiti as a menacing voice against injustices in a society marked by stormy relationship with authorities and pervasive corruption.

Dark realities unfold as stills of a larger narrative about local incidents and shocking images propagated by media in the expansive series of Tunisian visual artist and filmmaker Intissar Belaid – “Alif, Lam, Mym; Fragments from a ruminating existence” that is at once feminine, sharp and full of ominous shadows – , or as a violent and hypersexualised rendition of a cycle of life in the large drawing of Shine Shivan or in the works of Moris digging deep in places of all things illegal (rooster fights, drug cartels etc).

Hidden structures are exposed in works shaking grounds for political and social transformations: Iman Issa proposes an unlikely, but necessary alternative monument “Material for a sculpture representing a bygone era of luxury and decadence” hinting at a crumbling reality, while Liu Chang initiates radical exchanges such as “Buying Everything on You (Yuan Wenhao)” in order to outline portraits of migrant workers searching for a better life in China’s new cities; “Vistas, Mist and Clarity” by Apparatus 22 distills an intensive 24 hour observatory of a privileged corner of London into an abrasive multilayered speculative still life installation, while Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s use of latest technologies to generate 3D printed life size portraits of strangers based on their DNA opens both to the emancipatory potential such tools have, but also to their limitations and disturbing biases.

Through progressive dérapages and glitches within the norms, the exhibition cracks reality in search of some light, of common spaces where struggles can be shared, of plural worlds enunciated again as ways to regain something we thought was already lost.

Echoes of utopia are rearranged as yet another chance in “Geometria” video work of Ivan Argote, in the areas of vernacular inventiveness in “When Cardboard Repairs Plastic” installation of Kader Attia or in the visually loud, insistent and urgent solidarity of Kudzanai Chiurai’s “REVELATIONS III” photography.

Post-bruises imaginaries are summoned as crucial acts of dissidence and hope.

In this Online Exhibition we present works from the Servais Family Collection on view at The Loft in Brussels, on display 20.04.18 – 17.02.19.

Text by Dragos Olea

The Servais Family Collection is included in the Art Guide.

View the previous hang of the Servais Family Collection here.

Belgium (26)

Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens

The industrialist couple Jules and Irma Dhondt-Dhaenens began collecting art in the 1920s

Vanhaerents Art Collection

Where the connection between building and collecting is more than metaphorical

Galila Barzilaï

Galila’s P.O.C presents itself as a contemporary curiosity cabinet.


The Family Servais Collection and The Loft present AMEXICA, an exhibition curated by Marisol Rodríguez

Schöne Sentimenten at the MDD

The Belgian Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, situated in the countryside at Deurle, presents an exhibition combining real artworks together with 'absent' ones.

Sun Women

"Sun Women" presents seven artists brought together from external private collections in Riva's exhibition space.

The Apartment

Charming presentation of contemporary art in the heart of Brussels.

Christophe Veys

An interview with the collector who owns the “invisible collection”.


An exhibition detailing the representation of the animal in contemporary art.

Remembering Mwene Mutapa – Exotic Mapping of a Collection

The Brussels-based contemporary art collection marked by a non-Western focus.

Polish Village

For the first time, the collection presents an exhibition entirely dedicated to the American artist Frank Stella.

Collection in Motion

“Our exhibition space does not aim to be an oasis."

Forever Young

The 2016 annual presentation organized by collector Alain Servais in his 900-square-meter loft in Brussels.

A from Animism, Atlas, Adrift[1]

A from Animism, Atlas, Adrift, Algorithmic, Apocryphal, Automatic, Ambiguous, Amnesia, Allegory, Above, Archive, Alien…

Transylvanian Visions

A fervent promoter and collector of Contemporary Romanian Art, with a special focus on the artistic phenomenon of the Cluj School.

Human Figure

Creating a dialogue between contemporary sculptures and works from Oceanic Art

The Power and The Glory

Opening on the eve of the now infamous 2016 US elections, “The Power and The Glory” set out to examine the tension between an artist’s desire to shine and their desire to exist.

Not Really Really

Removed from the material world and undergoing various transformations.

Walter Vanhaerents

A Story About An Island

Machinations at Verbeke

The Verbeke concept presents a private collection and lively program with an experimental spirit and devotion to nature.

Bewogen Beweging

Exhibition at the Verbeke Foundation.

Many Suns & Worlds

The Brussels based Vanhaerents Art Collection is hosting the first solo exhibition of Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno.

From East to West

Located in an old grain factory on the banks of the Campine Canal in Herentals, the Art Center Hugo Voeten represents over 1 700 works that have been collected over a thirty year period.

Break Out!

In 1966, Alighiero Boetti created a trio of sculptures titled “Zig Zag”, consisting of the fabric of a beach chair woven in inside an aluminium cube.

Warhol & Subsequent Effects

Located in a charmingly remodelled former industrial building in the Dansaert district in the heart of Brussels, the Walter Vanhaerents contemporary art collection is presented in biannual exhibitions on three floors.