The collective Denicolai & Provoost / Antoinette Jattiot / Nord / Spec uloos, selected by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and Wallonie-Bruxelles International, presents Petticoat Government to occupy the Belgian Pavilion at the 2024 Venice Biennale.


Bringing together the disciplines of art, curatorial practices, architecture, typography and cartography, the collective seeks to take up the exhibition format while working in collaborative and transdisciplinary mode to transform and explode it, in a fiction-like work in successive chapters that traverses time and space. Joining together here to make effective a crossing of boundaries both physical and symbolic, the members of the collective were already linked by long term collaborations and their role as mediators and critics in their respective fields, artistic or otherwise. It is from this position that they now propose to examine the ways we understand popular, alternative forms of collective organization and their modes of participation.


For the 2024 Venice Biennale, the collective has developed a multidisciplinary scenario based on the participation of processional giants from different communities in Belgium, France, Spain. Their journeys to Venice, which see them cross the Resia Pass in the Alps on March 9, 2024, and their subsequent journey northward to Charleroi and Dunkirk in 2025, inject a joyful disturbance into reality through a variety of effects of scale, highlighting tensions between the human and the non-human, landscape and architecture, borders and transgressions. Unlike a finished work, the project treats the Belgian Pavilion in Venice as a point of transit, representing the journey so far and yet to come in kaleidoscopic perspective. The elevated staging of the giants and the accompanying sound installation create an ungrounded space, a terrain of freedom where emphasis on the oral and the co-construction of narratives invites reconsideration of both ancient tales and modern myths.


An English phrase meaning government by women and hence an inversion of customary relations of power, the title is intended to allude to a continuing disruption. The project proposes a paradigm shift in blurring the frontiers between disciplines and between artistic and popular cultures. The collective and their many collaborators seek to realize the potential of the mixing of genres and attitudes as a means of exploring complexity and making present the worlds they are engaged with. Rather than a critique of the notion of the author per se, the project selected for the Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of 2024 is intended to highlight the potential of collective making and doing together as a vector of transformation.

The collective

Petticoat Government could be described as a choral work, the manifestation of a collective body brought into being by seven people who came together to form a multidisciplinary collective: Sophie Boiron, Valentin Bollaert, Simona Denicolai, Pauline Fockedey, Pierre Huyghebaert, Antoinette Jattiot and Ivo Provoost. Maintaining the intimate interweaving of aesthetics and politics, the members of the Petticoat Government collective are united in their sensual approach to the world and their questioning of the notion of the artist/producer as creative individual. The forms that they develop on the basis of borrowings from popular culture, interrogated in terms of both form and content, allow the emergence of other languages that combine doubt, narrative, and even flight into magic as possible vehicles of emancipation.

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