Hugo Roelandt Projects

(c)Estate Hugo Roelandt
De 4 seizoenen / The 4 Seasons, 1977

< 1977, New Reform, Aalst

< 1977, R.O.H.K., Brussels

< 1977, University Institute, Antwerp

Hugo Roelandt organises the performance ‘The 4 Seasons’ together with Narcisse Tordoir, Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven and Jan Janssen. It is based on the influencing of natural elements by artificial and scientific means. The artist imposes his own reality with the help of artificial means resulting from scientific evolutions. ‘Autumn’ is created by Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven, ‘summer’ by Narcisse Tordoir, ‘spring’ by Jan Janssen and ‘winter’ is a collaboration between all three. Hugo Roelandt is responsible for the general concept. Under the title ‘Ontwerpen voor uitvoering’ (Projects to be Executed) the performance is presented (along with work from several other artists, including Reindeer Werk) by Roger D’Hondt in the courtyard of the RHOK evening academy in Etterbeek-Brussels. A footnote on the poster explains: “these are projects for performances which will be executed in July of this year (1977 – mh) in the city archive of Kassel, W. Germany, in the margin of Documenta 6”.

Later on Roelandt declares: “At that moment I profoundly disliked anything related to nature. (…) I wanted to replace nature. I tried to make it rain, to produce mist and that was o.k. But replacing the sun didn’t work. That was too expensive.
– Interview with Pol Moyaert, Vooruit, 3 October 1978

Narcisse Tordoir remembers in 2002: “The meeting with Hugo Roelandt was very important because I knew little of ‘performance’ and he was the only artist in Flanders who was doing them. His performances ware rather ‘theatrical’, he focused on the performing a number of actions. In contrast to for example the work of Ulay and Marina Abramovic which was more bodyoriented, so called ‘body art’, Roelandt thought it necessary to work around a theme and to invite people for that. They could express the theme according to their own view on it. Like with ‘The 4 Seasons’, a theme which didn’t really interest me, but I could do my thing and that was OK for Hugo.”
– Interview with Narcisse Tordoir by Guy Van Deuren, 19 June 2002

Roelandt: “I was thinking as a real band leader and thought my people didn’t have enough ‘live experience’, so I decided to organize a small ‘tour’. At RHOK the cause of the split found its origin. Tordoir and Janssen saw the work of Reindeer Werk and told me that was what they wanted to do themselves. We had already worked for four months on ‘The 4 Seasons’… but those stubborn asses refused to go to Kassel with it.”
– Interview with Hugo Roelandt by Guy Van Deuren, 21 July 2002

Tordoir: “We performed at RHOK in Brussels during a festival in which I saw Reindeer Werk, and in Aalst in the evening in front of the New Reform. Normally we would go to Kassel with it, but that never happened because we had already quarrelled. The ‘theatrical’ aspect didn’t suit me and neither did the theme of ‘The 4 Seasons’. We had to make rain, that was Hugo’s speciality. He had made a system with plastic tubes, with small holes in it and water was pumped in it so that it sprayed in all directions. And in that rain we did all kind of actions. I painted a black chair white and the rain always ashed of the paint again… There were people lying on the ground, and I painted their silhouette, but they also faded because of the rain. Afterwards we made an installation with the props of the performance.”
– Interview with Narcisse Tordoir by Guy Van Deuren, 19 June 2002

(Abstracts from Hugo Roelandt: Let's Expand The Sky, red. Mark Holthof, Occasional Papers, London, 2016)