Val Carman

  • main galleries
  • artist in residence


Between August 2014 and August 2018 the British artist Val Carman had the installation Assembly travel throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. The installation consisted of five church chairs from the church of Passchendaele and a large register drawn from IFFM's List of Names, with the more than 174,000 names of the dead from the United Kingdom and Ireland who fell on Belgian soil during the First World War. The installation visited 23 locations and made a total journey of 7600 km. At each location the public was invited to write down the story of their relationship with World War I on the opposite white page of the register, with names they knew, or with others.

From 24 August to 9 November 2018 Assembly can be seen in the In Flanders Fields Museum. Next to Journey, an account of Assembly's journey, Val Carman shows a second installation at the Artist in Residence in the museum: Regret, a silent, poetic space about the intimate grief of the stricken families, the empty spaces (chairs) left behind in the houses, but on a global scale. For the last time, the large book with the 174,000 names and the many hundreds of stories that have been entered in the past four years can also be seen here. Once again, the public will have the opportunity to add their story. Afterwards, the register will be kept in the Research Centre.

Assembly will experience its apotheosis, Memorial Chairs, in the closing weekend of the century commemoration. The perspective of the United Kingdom and Ireland then shifts to the whole world. From each of the more than 120 countries in the world from which people died in Belgium during the First World War, one chair makes the journey to Ypres. The chairs are delivered worldwide by people who want to be part of this unique project. They are picked up by the international freight forwarder DHL, who helped to support this project. The chairs will be assembled at the IFFM and on 9 November they will go from the courtyard in procession to the Astridpark, north of the cathedral, where they will form the unique installation Memorial Chairs, together with lanterns that illuminate them like in a vigil. This third installation is part of the programme of the closing weekend of the Flemish government's century commemoration.

The catalog is available in the webshop.