Tracing the Future

KU Leuven Committee for Contemporary Art 


Is Thomas More’s Utopia still a source of inspiration for artists today? This project gives an often spectacular answer to this question. The exhibition showcases how artists today treat the concept of ‘utopia’ in their work. Faithful to Thomas More, they depict both the success and failure of the search for an ideal world.

Yto Barrada, Ursula Biemann & Paulo Tavares, The Otolith Group, Martin Le Chevallier, Allan Sekula and Adrien Tirtiaux critically explore the ecological, political and social impact of the contemporary Utopia. In short: 500 years of Utopia in a special, actualized form. What is more, this arts tour is free, so there is an extra reason not to miss this exciting project. It is curated by Stéphane Symons, Hilde Van Gelder and Eva Wittocx.

'Tracing the Future' will occupy all of Leuven

All over Leuven you can see creative interpretations of the contemporary concept of utopia. The works are exhibited at different locations: KU Leuven University Library, the Kadoc Chapel, Leuven City Park and the Anatomical Theatre. These historic locations in Leuven are all stops on the contemporary arts tour. Tracing the Future presents films and installations: both new and older work by leading contemporary artists.

Martin Le Chevallier at KADOC

World premiere 'Münster' (2016)

This film tells of a commune which wrote history in the northern-German city of Munster in 1533. Their kingdom combined a revolutionary faith with a Communist regime until the city was besieged and defeated. In Martin Le Chevallier’s film, two attackers observe the city. Münster is a Tracing the Future coproduction and world première.

Adrien Tirtiaux at the municipal park Leuven

Boven de Muur (2016)

What if a wooden installation connects the park with private gardens on Vlamingenstraat? Can this take the individual closer to the community? This is what Adrien Tirtiaux investigates for Tracing the Future. Where, exactly, can we locate the tension between individualism and collectivism? The residents actively collaborated in the realization of this artwork, from brainstorming to the final design. It is possible for visitors to walk through parts of the work by using its stairs, bridges, and platforms.

Ursula Biemann & Paulo Tavares at KADOC

Forest Law (2014)

Ursula and Paulo Tavares take us off to the Amazon forest in the south of Ecuador, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. Because it is so rich in natural resources like oil and ores, pressure has been brought to bear on the region and it has become the subject of conflicting interests. The artists document several important lawsuits. Thanks in part to these efforts, the forest of the Ecuadorian Amazon has now been granted fundamental rights.

The Otolith Group at the University Library KU Leuven

Medium Earth (2013)

Earthquakes regularly send shockwaves through the south of California. This video installation takes that historical phenomenon as its starting point. To this end the artists’ collective combines powerful images with the beseeching voice of a medium. It listens to the ‘voice’ of the desert, translates what the stones write, decodes the calligraphy of the earth’s crevices and brings to life the pent-up tension in its crust.

Allan Sekula at the Anatomical Theater

Mining Section (Bureau des Mines)

Allan Sekula (1951-2013, USA) was fascinated by Constantin Meunier’s realism. Like that nineteenth-century artist, Sekula explores the world of miners and dockers. For Tracing the Future, we take Sekula’s dialogue with Meunier a step further. A presentation of objects, engravings, graphics, postcards and photographic archive material reveals Sekula’s vision of the world of the mineworker.

Tracing the Future is a double project with an exhibition on Yto Barrada at M - Museum Leuven. It is organized by the KU Leuven Committee for Contemporary Art in partnership with the Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography, Art and Visual Culture at the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Philosophy and M – Museum Leuven. The exhibition is supported by KU[N]ST Leuven, KADOC, the Central Library and the KU Leuven Campus Service. The curator of ‘Allan Sekula: Mining Section ( Bureau des mines )’ at the Anatomical Theatre, with works from the collection of the M HKA, is Anja Isabel Schneider.

Tracing the Future is a double project with an exhibition on Yto Barrada at M - Museum Leuven.

Tip: Visit the free exhibition 'Utopia of a Mission' at the Kadoc Chapel. More information is available in the programme guide.

tracing the future


30.09 - 20.11