In November 2002, three artists and critics from Brussels journeyed to Palestine for a ten-day visit. The knowledge they possessed about the unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine was about as much as any westerner who watches news on TV and reads newspapers. On arrival though, they witnessed first-hand the complexities of daily life in the region, a reality that does not fit into slick media sound bites. Two years later, they have published a book on that journey, with photos and texts: Time Suspended. The time they needed to comprehend the situation was long, particularly at a time when images and reports on the conflict zones across the globe compete on an almost daily basis.

The trio have put together an exhibition for Work In Transit, using the same title. New individual works engage in a dialogue with works created in the last few decades of the twentieth century. The clash between the past and the present enables the clarification of a personal perspective from engaged outsiders. The distance between here and there seems to be constantly shifting, what seems far away becomes a close-up and vice versa. The works on show diametrically oppose the familiar media hype and sketch the ‘timeless’ nature of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

To date, at the end of 2004, everything but nothing seems to have changed in the ongoing crisis. 1948, 1967, 1987, 1993, 2000: a never-ending parade of dramatized moments with devastating consequences for Israeli and Palestinian citizens. The images from the past are the images of today. Military prowess, armed resistance, check points, road blocks, houses destroyed, bloody murderous attacks, fatherless sons, motherless daughters, Sharon and Arafat. They may be the same images but they hit harder, are more harrowing and heinous.

Pressure is rising and at the same time everyone is on hold in the waiting game. Waiting for a passport; waiting at the border; waiting in the transit zone; waiting at the check point; waiting for the next curfew. Waiting for the next attack. For the next reprisal. The reprisal in return for the reprisal. Waiting for a political solution to resolve this side, the other side, no side, all sides. And finally, waiting for it all to pass. As if time were suspended.

Time Suspended [Uitgestelde Tijd]
Concept: Herman Asselberghs, Els Opsomer, Pieter Van Bogaert
Photos: Els Opsomer
Text: Herman Asselberghs, Pieter Van Bogaert
English/Dutch, colour/black-and-white, 256 pages, 25 euro
A publication by: SQUARE vzw (
ISBN 90 8088 391 3
Exhibition design: Ann Clicteur

Time Suspended and Transit are on view at the Bergen KunstHall,, from 21 January to 20 February 2005.

Opening Friday 21 January, 8 p.m.

A project by Herman Asselberghs, Els Opsomer, Pieter Van Bogaert, in collaboration with Ann Clicteur.