This year this task fell to Meruro Washida (Museum of the 21th century, Kanazawa, Japan) and Thibaut Verhoeven (S.M.A.K., Ghent). Participating artists were Nel Aerts, Wim De Caluwé a.k.a. Jack Dumbledum, Pieter De Clercq, Claire Stragier & Annelien Vermeir, Sofie Van der Linden and Paul L. Van Haegenbergh.
An important guideline in the selection was the agreement that “Coming People 2009” should not merely represent a selection of final year presentations at two art colleges. The key idea was the search for promising young artists rather than the institutions from which they graduated. For this reason, the curators opted to execute their task in a way that was as unbiased and independent as possible – with regard to one another and the institutions concerned (both colleges and the museum) – and to look and select without any prior information about the artists and their achievements. What was particularly striking during (and especially after) the selection process was the completely different cultural backgrounds – Japan and Belgium – of the two curators. However, despite this difference their first impressions and preferences turned out to be surprisingly similar. Clearly there is a certain form of ‘universality’ – or should we say inter-subjectiveness’ – in the quest for promising potential – a search situated in a twilight zone and detached from cultural identity. As far as the work of the selected artists is concerned – it appeared (and once again afterwards) that it is deeply embedded in their own (local) context. From initial idea or concept, to mentality, material and the final realisation… this process shows a strong leaning towards and interest in the individual’s own social world. This explains why this year’s “Coming People” has the subtitle of “Forwarding Backyards”. Both the striving for a universally perceptible potential – which hopefully will give the young artists access to their future artistic career – as well as the interest in individual locality endorse this choice. www.indevaartdervolkeren.be