Les Demoiselles de Bruxelles
In the photographs, installation, and book project that comprise Les Demoiselles de Bruxelles, the color images of African prostitutes seem at first to dominate the exhibition.
The women have selected their own poses, which range from the statuesque to the come-hither. Marie reclines on a park bench, Miranda veils her face with her hair, Solange leans provocatively against 250 Avenue Louise. Alongside these brass-framed photographs of prostitutes are monuments, buildings and interiors photographed, as the women were, by night along Avenue Louise in Brussels, and developed by Augustijnen into a portrait of the city assembled from traces of Leopold II’s colonial memory. For each live woman who poses for Augustijnen’s camera there is a statue such as, Ixelles honors its colonial pioneers. The former offices of the Colonial Lottery make an appearance, as do the King’s gardens, and a seemingly abolitionist sculpture by Louis Samain, L’Esclave repris par les chiens (1898) 6. Alfredo Morelli, an employee at the Office de Sécurité sociale d’outre-mer (OSSOM) is pictured near an image of Leopold II that hangs in his office. The bearded OSSOM worker and King could be long lost brothers.