Société Civile pour l’enterrement de pensées mortes
Opening Sat 19 October 2013, 6-9pm
20 October – 11 December 2013

pablohelguera.net
scplepm.be

PABLO HELGUERA, Société Civile pour l'Enterrement de Pensées Mortes

PABLO HELGUERA, Société Civile pour l’Enterrement de Pensées Mortes

PABLO HELGUERA,  Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013

PABLO HELGUERA, Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013

PABLO HELGUERA,  Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013

PABLO HELGUERA, Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013

PABLO HELGUERA,  Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013

PABLO HELGUERA, Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013

PABLO HELGUERA, Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013, Rectangle, Brussels

PABLO HELGUERA, Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013, Rectangle, Brussels

PABLO HELGUERA, Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013, Rectangle, Brussels

PABLO HELGUERA, Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013, Rectangle, Brussels

PABLO HELGUERA, Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013, Rectangle, Brussels

PABLO HELGUERA, Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013, Rectangle, Brussels

PABLO HELGUERA, Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013, Rectangle, Brussels

PABLO HELGUERA, Exhibition view SCPLEPM, 2013, Rectangle, Brussels

PABLO HELGUERA, SCPLEPM, 2013 (interview)

 

PRESS RELEASE

Société Civile pour l’enterrement de pensées mortes is Pablo Helguera’s first solo exhibition in Belgium. Presented at Rectangle, Brussels, this project pays homage to the history of Belgian civil societies of free thought. Period preceding the first World (1854-1914) war. On the eve of the First World War, there were no fewer than 250 rationalist societies scattered throughout the country, including nearly 25,000 members.

The Belgian rationalists, or freethinkers, exerted a considerable influence on left-leaning parties (liberals and socialists) during the first decades of the XXth Century. Freethinkers essentially campaigned on behalf of the autonomy of human consciousness and toward a secularization of the state and of civil society, including schools and hospitals. Freethinkers sometimes went so far as to replace the rituals of the Church, creating a new secular “sacred”. This spirit was implemented most practically in their civil funerals, which promoted incineration and offered a resting place for individuals outside of organized religion.

The project consisted in the creation of a social network inspired in the ideas and rituals of free thinkers, but instead focusing on burying and warding the vestiges of thought of ideologies, scientific theories and philosophies  that could be deemed superseded, questionable or failed.  A special crypt contained a number of urns guarding the ashes of these ideas and were  only accessible to those who accept to join the society, taking responsibility to become collective guardians of the ashes of one of the dead ideas. The project included a publication inspired on the XIXth century Belgian rationalist newspaper La Libre Pensée, which was available only on printed form and for the exclusive use of those who agreed to join the society.

 

COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE

Société Civile pour l’enterrement de pensées mortes est la première exposition personnelle de Pablo Helguera en Belgique. Présenté à Rectangle, Bruxelles, ce projet rend hommage à l’histoire des sociétés de libre pensée en Belgique sur la période précédant la première guerre mondiale (1854-1914). A l’aube de la guerre, on pouvait recenser près de 250 sociétés rationalistes disséminées dans tout le pays, comptant environ 25 000 membres.

Les Libres-penseurs belges ont exercé une influence considérable sur les partis progressistes (libéraux et socialistes), ont participé à la résistance et apporté un soutien à la population durant la première guerre mondiale. Ils ont essentiellement fait campagne en faveur de l’autonomie de la conscience humaine, vers une sécularisation de l’Etat et de la société civile, y compris la laïcisation des écoles et des hôpitaux. Les Libres-penseurs sont allés jusqu’à remplacer les rituels de l’Église par de nouvelles pratiques laïques “sacrées”, cet esprit se retrouve plus pratiquement dans la « fête de la jeunesse », dans les funérailles civiles par l’incinération, et offre ainsi une alternative aux personnes non croyantes.