As you have said, you’ve developed a non-hierarchical or “horizontal” dynamic at your gallery. Could you explain what that entails?
First of all, we do not favor collectors, institutions, or ourselves over anybody else. We try to create a dialogue between all parties involved in a project. We are engaged not just in financing production but in figuring out how we can make something happen in the best way possible for everyone.
Secondly, in my experience, most galleries have stars and non-stars. For example, there are galleries that sell two artists to sustain the whole gallery or there are gallery websites where one artist gets all of the traffic. With me, there is no “me” with a capital M. The artists are required to share their ideas and their resources with each other and with me. Everything is on the table. We have lots of dinners where I cook for everybody, and we have long conversations. We do things as a community, we're a family, and we flourish by talking and challenging each other. I almost choose the artists by the skills we lack in the group. For example, I'll say "we have no welders in the gallery", so we find the perfect person who can weld and who wants to be part of this engagement. And we all benefit from this.
How do you see your gallery evolving?
There is always going to be this pressure to grow, but in terms of the scale of my gallery, I don't want to expand. You can go that big commercial route and forget about the fun, but I want to keep it fun and creative, and to do that a smaller scale has to be maintained. It's not that I don't have ambition, but I feel that we can build a lot of things in this tier. We are absolutely able to exist and subsist through rigor and conviction rather than expanding and converting to the formulaic format. I've always looked at my gallery as something completely independent; it has never followed a traditional model.
Your willingness to break with tradition brings us to Independent Brussels which is attempting reframe the art fair model. Could you tell us more about what you will present, and in particular, Julie Béna's work?
Julie will do a performance on the ground floor. Then in the booth, I will present objects that will provide the viewers with a kind of baroque way of entering the performance. The objects are not directly related to the performance, they aren't props, but they will act as a guide to the viewers.
What is interesting about Julie's performances is that they work almost in chapters so her presentation at Independent will be linked to previous and future works. Through performing, she confronts events from her past, her family and personal history. When she incorporates a song or a text in her performance, she takes on someone's persona deeply, deeply, deeply. She becomes almost possessed. I find it very heartfelt and important.