In Aalst, renovated NW Reopens With 'Ritual in Transfigured Time' Exhibition

Following over a year’s renovation, NW will unveil its new centre for contemporary art and film on the 22nd of March in Aalst, Belgium. Previously known as Netwerk Aalst, NW is an open house fostering artists' growth, nestled in a former textile factory along the Dender's right bank.

Launching the renovated NW is the exhibition "Ritual in Transfigured Time," inspired by Maya Deren's 1946 short film of the same title. This exhibition sets the tone for NW's upcoming venture, exploring the themes of dialogue, collaboration, experimentation, and boundary-breaking. Works by artists such as Carlotta Bailly-Borg, Gaëlle Choisne, Darius Dolatyari-Dolatdoust, Maya Deren, Onyeka Igwe, LA(HORDE), Ula Sickle, and Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca highlight the evolution of artistic practice through dialogue and experimentation.


© SDB | © Iwein De Keyser 


Laura Herman and Godart Bakkers, NW artistic directors explain, "Maya Deren, with her independent and entrepreneurial spirit, a lifetime driven by a penchant for freedom, has played an enlightening role in shaping our exhibition and film programme, as well as in developing the principles for our renovated house". 


Left: Carlotta Bailly-Borg, Clogged, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Praz Delavallade. Right: Gaëlle Choisne, Temple of Love - Atopos, La larme arc-en-ciel, 2021. © Photo Aurélien Mole © MAC VAL, Courtesy the artist and Air de Paris, Romainville.


Rituals hold significance within NW's context, symbolising its transition from Network Aalst to NW, with a new building, identity, and programme. The artistic directors add that "many life changes are accompanied by rituals. The ritual marks the liminal phase, the moment between two positions or roles. At the threshold moment between the old NW and the new NW, we celebrate the radical metamorphosis. Here, in this place, we invite artists to question, counter and transform realities, whether through enchantment or protest".


 Onyeka Igwe, Specialised Technique, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and BFI National Archive.


The opening exhibition also illustrates how NW transcends the boundaries between contemporary art and film, both figuratively and literally. It provides a comprehensive exploration of NW's renovated space, where each section offers unique experiences and where everything is connected. 


The exhibition “Ritual in Transfigured Time” will open NW on the 22.03 at 6 pm, and will be on display until 26.5.2024.


Cover image:  © Iwein De Keyser