The Horrors of Archiving, Natalia Skobeeva’s first exhibition in Belgium, focuses on the life of the once renowned Antwerp citizen Libera Carlier (1926–2007). A man of many talents, Carlier was a sea captain, composer, self-taught pianist, book and screenplay writer, world traveller and political activist. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for the script of De blijde dag (1980) by Stijn Streuvels; was an active member of the Socialist Party; and was offered knighthood by the Belgian Royal Family, which he declined.
Using film footage and documents from the Carlier family archive, Skobeeva produces an unsettled portrait of a now largely forgotten figure. Yet Skobeeva’s interest in Carlier’s life is more than an attempt at archival reconstruction. It is a meditation on the archive as a space of heightened subjectivity and illusion, where every document, every signature refers to other, often missing documents and signatures, opening up a mnemonic abyss.
Natalia Skobeeva is a London-based Russian artist who lived for many years in Antwerp, where she came to know Libera Carlier personally. Her multi-media work bears the traits often attributed to transnational art: multiplicity, liminality and hybridity. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include Bristol Biennale (2016), Fourth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary art (2011), 15th Media Art Biennale WRO, Wrocław (2013), and Festival Miden 2013, Kalamata.
With thanks to Marc Carlier, Karel De Bondt, Johan Vanhecke and Herman & Rolande De Backer.
Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.