The latest exhibition at MIMA Museum, Brussels, is the very definition of immersive. Dream Box, involving five European artists, is the visual representation of too much late night gouda; a mind-bending, kaleidoscopic dreamscape of optical illusion and trompe l’oeil.

The conceptual premise of Dream Box is to challenge intuitive thought – the mental process that accounts for 90 per cent of all human action and makes the world comprehensible. With immersive floor-to-ceiling installations, Dream Box pushes the idea of reality to its limits and jump-starts our imagination. Of course, there are head nods to the op-art movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s, but it never reaches the conceptual stuffiness of that period, offering instead a riotous, magical waltz along the tightrope of perception.

I realise the futility of trying to describe artwork where the very intention is to challenge perception and be difficult to grasp, but I’ll give it a go if you’re still on the fence. In Felipe Pantone’s installation, you enter a scene from Bill Gates’ ‘90s anxiety dreams; a darkened room full of giant CD-roms floating in a technological dystopia. When you walk through Elzo Durt’s open-mouth doorway, you step into the album cover of a ‘70s psychedelia compilation, complete with added multi-mirror madness.

It is rare that art exhibitions like this succeed, more often than not falling too far on the side of gimmick. But Dream Box manages with aplomb, balancing conceptual heft with great dollops of fun, in a show that is enjoyable for all.

Dream Box is on show at MIMA Museum, Brussels, until 1 September 2019.

Matt Antoniak is a visual artist and writer living and working in Newcastle, UK. He works mainly in painting and drawing and is a founding member of the art collective M I L K.


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