ADMA 2020-2021


Chris Rotsaert & Elien Ronse

Manoeuvre's (in)visibilities

The video shows a mix of footage made in and by manoeuvre in 2020-2021. Some images are part of a finished work, others are more documentary or shot for personal reasons. The footage is interwoven with texts or spoken word, coming forth out of observations, thoughts, conversations, writings, hesitations,...

We can have a peek into the work of manoeuvre through the perspectives from Rony Codoychuran, Elien Ronse, Anand Lardot, Chris Rotsaert en Gulseren Van Dort Mustafova. They were the people holding the camera.


Gulseren Van Dort Mustafova: ‘Manoeuvre is an artist, we are everything and we are everywhere. In earlier years we were mainly sewing, knitting, embroidering, crocheting, … nowadays we make all kinds of work, including things like screen print, performance, works with charcoal and paint and so on.’

Chris Rotsaert: ‘We are an artistic practice that shares existing, new and hidden knowledge, crafts and forms of communication, in togetherness. The home of our practice lies in the Rabot neighbourhood in Ghent, where most of us also live.’

Elien Ronse: ‘For me it is a place where I seem to have accidentally landed. I arrived there as an artist, but my role in the collective now feels mainly as a person-relating-to-others.’

Rony Codoychuran: ‘Manoeuvre is a place where you don’t really go to work but you go and work together. It is an open studio in the city, sometimes nomadic, and sometimes on location outside of Ghent. It is not a real workplace, rather an open platform. Everyone is welcome and before you know it, you’ve learnt something new there. This happens through inviting an artist, a designer or collective to co-create with us, to develop work with us in a collaborative way.’

Rae Sita Pratiwi: ‘I would say manoeuvre is a serendipity: discovering valuable things unintentionally, by chance. At a personal level, I feel very much at home and at ease here. At a professional level, manoeuvre has immensely helped me with the artistic practices that I am trying to develop. As a foreigner in Belgium, having trustworthy, supportive and genuine organisations who help you tackle the challenges and along the way also trust you to experiment, is a crucial part for building a quality life. And in return, I can then give back to society.’

Chris Rotsaert: ‘Embedded in the everyday life of superdiverse communities, with different generational and cultural backgrounds, manoeuvre commits itself to the unknown. These unpredictable encounters generate critical and poetic reflections, interventions, performances and manoeuvres in artistic, public or alternative spaces, and they invite us to embrace alternative ways of living.’

Gulseren Van Dort Mustafova: ‘I am always in manoeuvre. Even if I’m ill, I’ll always go there. We talk a lot with each other and people listen to me.’

Rony Codoychuran: ‘The work is meditative and because of that we are not thinking about the problems we have at home. Once I start to work on something, after a while my sad feelings disappear. There is a lot of social positivity, for example when something breaks it is not a problem at all. Others trust me in what I do just like that.’

Elien Ronse: ‘While working with others I am learning to be slower, to question the dominant visual contemporary art language, to re-use something, to accept what I would see as mistakes when I am working on my own, …’

Ada Van Hoorebeke: ‘I first came to manoeuvre because I wanted to share my artistic process. I experienced how manoeuvre communicates through doing. Many hands and minds at the same time. Sometimes mimicking one another, sometimes independently trying out things. In no time a concept is explored in all possible ways. This evolved into wanting to develop a work together that requires a multitude of people to become a whole.’

Rony Codoychuran: ‘Everyone is special at manoeuvre, because everyone has talents and they become visible when we create work together. We use a lot of different materials. We each experiment from our own backgrounds, techniques, talents, things that we are able to do, and that grows into a joint process and work.’

Gulseren Van Dort Mustafova: ‘The people at manoeuvre work a lot. There are many people with roots in Turkey, Morocco, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Iran, Egypt, Mauritius, Afghanistan, ... I have been here for ten years, and there are always so many different people. Sometimes they leave and then return after a while. I think everyone and everything is beautiful and good.’

Rony Codoychuran: ‘Sometimes two projects are running simultaneously and you can’t join both of them, which can be a real pity. But equally, if one of us is unable to come to the studio, then manoeuvre comes to us.’

Elien Ronse: ‘I remember a time in the early stages when I hung up some photos in a room and then a few children came in and drew penises in between the photos. At first it made me angry, but then C. reacted: “Let us draw some vaginas as well”. That was mind-blowing to me.’

Chris Rotsaert: ‘Manoeuvre is a place where people who would normally not meet each other, are encouraged and enabled to come together. We stimulate and engage each other to let these encounters last throughout artistic collaborations. These commitments turn into a common shared practice where interdependence is central and necessary.’

Maartje Fliervoet: ‘Last year, our children started sending each other cards with shapes they called ‘secret language’, and they copied each other’s curls and dashes. Sometimes they reminded me of pictograms, but there was no need to make “sense” of them, as the children were communicating, contacting each other, regardless of a set meaning. I felt so connected to everyone in Ghent, even though we were not able to travel and create these shapes together, like we used to. I enjoy how the work at manoeuvre can never be planned, as things happen in the moment.’