Raven Chacon


‘Musical works that cut across boundaries of visual art and performance to illuminate landscapes, their inhabitants, and histories.’ - MacArthur Stichting

WE 09 OCT — 18:00
In the presence of the artist
RSVP here

mo - tu: closed
we - th: 14:00 - 22:00
fr- su: 14:00 - 18:00

th 14 - su 17.11: 14:00 - 22:00


Group visits (in the form of a guided tour or with a short introduction) are possible outside the regular opening hours on weekdays. Please contact rondleiding@stuk.be for more information.

In his first solo exhibition in Belgium, internationally renowned artist and Pulitzer Prize winner Raven Chacon invites you to contemplate the stories landscapes hold. A careful selection of videoworks from the past 12 years give an insight into his performative, musical and visual practice, deeply steeped in collaboration.

The monumental video work Gauge, a collaboration of seven artists, welcomes you in the exhibition space. On three large screens, ice rocks painted with natural pigments appear and disappear on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Responding to natural forces of time and extreme temperatures, the landscape becomes a temporary canvas. Natural charcoal and food grade dyes are sprayed through fire extinguishers and other non-traditional art making tools on the monumental ice walls as the tides cause them to rise and fall upwards of ten meters. The mesmerizing visuals are supported by an audio soundtrack composed from hundreds of on-site field recordings of the shifting ice, wildlife, modern tools, and of the overwhelming harsh environment.

A second group of artworks, made in collaboration with fellow indigenous artists take us to the West Mesa outside of Albuquerque where the landscape is dominated by three volcanoes. It is located near Petroglyph National Monument, a site that is sacred to Native peoples, especially the Pueblo. The Pueblo’s history on the land is marked by glyphs on the rocks, which are believed to have been created by supernatural beings at the dawn of time, and which provide a link to the realm of ancestors and spirits.

In Rift Transcription, Raven Chacon is joined by his partner Candice Hopkins, a Carcross/Tagish First Nation curator and writer. Inspired by Sámi drums that also function as depictions of landscapes, the camera circles the two performers as Hopkins reads the horizon to map to the tempo of her drum.

Earth Mother / Father Sky captures a pandemic-era collaboration with Rob Thorne, a Ngāti Tumutumu/Tainui composer and anthropologist. Thorne performed on his wind instruments as the sun rose near his home in Oruaiti, Aotearoa (New Zealand), while Chacon did the same as the sun set in New Mexico, resulting in a beautifully meditative dual-channel work.

The third video titled Watȟéča :: Ch’iyáán Yiskáago documents a collaboration between Raven Chacon and Cannupa Hanska Luger, an artist of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, and Lakota tribes. While Chacon manipulates dysfunctional electronics from his collection, Hanska Luger plays his own instrument-esque ceramic sculptures. The musicality of the performance is reflected in the performers’ gestures and sense of attunement, as much as in the liminal sounds being produced.

All in all, Chacon’s video installations are a testimony to his versatile practice in which he incessantly pays tribute to mother Earth, questioning our position as human beings on this planet and our responsibility as stewards of the land.

Curator: Karen Verschooren

(°1977, Navajo Nation, US)

Raven Chacon is a composer, performer, and installation artist born at Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. He received a BA (2001) from the University of New Mexico and an MFA (2004) from the California Institute of the Arts. From 2009 to 2018, he was a member of the art collective Postcommodity. In his practice, he cuts across the boundaries of visual art, performance, and music to contemplate, question and re-imagine the histories of the contested lands.

His work has been presented worldwide at numerous venues and festivals, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the 2022 Whitney Biennial; the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago; San Francisco Electronic Music Festival; SITE Santa Fe; The Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.; Vancouver Art Gallery; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and Borealis Festival, Bergen, Norway. In 2022, Raven Chacon was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition Voiceless Mass and in 2023 he received the MacArthur Fellowship. He lives and works in New York.

Works in the exhibition:

Raven Chacon - Gauge
2013-2015, three-channel sound and video installation, 5.1 audio, 14 minutes

Raven Chacon and Candice Hopkins - Rift Transcription
2020, digital video with sound, [ProRes 1080p], 10 min. 7 sec.
Raven Chacon - violin
Candice Hopkins - drum

Raven Chacon and Rob Thorne - Earth Mother / Father Sky
2021, digital video with sound, [ProRes 1080p], 30 min. 18 sec. / dual-channel
Raven Chacon - whistles, electronics
Rob Thorne (Ngāti Tumutumu / Tainui) - pūtōrino, kōauau toroa, pahū kōhatu

Raven Chacon and Cannupa Hanska Luger - Watȟéča :: Ch’iyáán Yiskáago
2022, digital video with sound, [ProRes 1080p], 21 min. 51 sec.
Raven Chacon - voice, bells, electronics
Cannupa Hanska Luger - ceramic calls, bowls
Laura Ortman - on-site audio recording

Wed 9 Oct 2024 18:00 - Sun 15 Dec 2024 18:00


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