Last Sunday we visited one of our favourite musea in Europe; Museum Voorlinden, a private owned state-of-the-art building where not only the stunning own collection blows your mind but also the building itself that immerses you in a world of perfection, embedded in a stunning nature setting.
We visited the powerful solo expo of Belgian artist Rinus Vandevelde (on our socks, 1 hour before the museum opening times and in total silence!) An intense experience.
But we also knew that the short film Head to Head by Flemish actor and director Herwig Ilegems was at view too. In Head to Head, Herwig Ilegems (b. 1962) has a literal tête-à-tête with various animals. He carefully places his forehead on the beak, nose or forehead of an animal. Will it allow this? Ilegems has no idea. He does not want to force the animal, so he first tries to establish a relationship of trust. In the endearing short film, you see how he allows himself to be comforted by an ostrich, nose-to-nose with an alpaca and tries to avoid the horns of a bull.
Head to Head is a touching spectacle by well-known Flemish actor and director Herwig Ilegems who approaches different animals from a position of equality. He does not show the dominant human and the tamed (domestic) animal, but turns – without words – the classic human-animal relationships upside down. With each animal he starts at the same eye level, he seeks eye contact, follows the gaze and copies the behavior. When he notices that the animal is at ease, Ilegems tries to rest his head on the animal’s – and that is not always harmless with a water buffalo, owl or ostrich.
Herwig Ilegems: “As humans, we are getting further and further removed from nature. I noticed that while making Head to Head. With the animals, it felt like I landed in another reality.’
The short film Head to Head is best to be watched more than once to fully absorb its beauty. Museum Voorlinden, where the film had its Dutch premiere, purchased Ilegems’ first art project and is thus immediately included in a museum collection.
Beautiful, very moving, courageous and admirably cleverly done.
On view from Feb. 11, 2023 at Voorlinden.
(con)Text Museum Voorlinden
Credits Head to Head
- Cast: Herwig Ilegems
- Dop: Danny Elsen, Arne Focketyn, Maurice Luyten, Gerd Schelfhout
- Art director: Herwig Ilegems
- Grading: Frank Temmerman
- Editing: Arne Focketyn, Herwig Ilegems
- Sound design: Senjan Jansen
- Produced by: Herwig Ilegems
- Written & Directed: Herwig Ilegems
Based on sculptures by Dirk Hendrikx. Special thanks to De Studio and Annemie Van Hove (Panenka)