The Shadow Artist

Episode 1: The Unreliable Protagonist

Episode 1: The Unreliable Protagonist follows, in thought and action, the artistic practices of six artists (Pedro Barateiro, Ghislaine Leung, Daniela Ortiz, Imogen Stidworthy, Jozef Wouters and Andros Zins-Browne).

They appear and disappear as Unreliable Protagonists, as part of an extensive collaboration over two years.

Within this first episode, Edgar Schmitz takes on the role of The Shadow Artist. Netwerk Aalst defines his commission as behaving and acting on the moments where we see institutional habits coming up and where vocabulary settles.

The shadow artist forms a critical backbone to the institution — he creates an awareness of Netwerk Aalst´s own handling and the political and social implications of what we do and how we speak.

Edgar Schmitz inscribes himself in the organisation by acting as an editor of texts and contracts. Seemingly innocent, he replaces terminology, he interferes with the physicality of our environment, and interferes with the distribution of our online content. The infrastructure and modus operandi of Netwerk Aalst form the material of the conceptual practice of Edgar Schmitz.

At the end of the first episode, works by Edgar Schmitz appear in and around Netwerk Aalst.

Demolition Decor, 2018/19

adhesive shatter resistant glass removal safety film, closed-top polyethylene pallet, overall dimensions variable, courtesy Netwerk Aalst


So-called ‘demolition film’ should be applied to a surface in anticipation of its future demolition, or in its place. The film should be applied horizontally inside and out, and centred at 120 cm from the ground.

It should be installed as soon as the demolition has been agreed, or slightly before then. The Netwerk Aalst version supplies enough film to wrap around the entirety of the building once inside and out.

greenville plug, 2015/19

c-print, dimensions tbc, framed, edition of 1 + 2 artist’s prints, courtesy Netwerk Aalst


The Greenville plug surfaced outside a Hyatt in South Carolina in 2015 and is bordered by astroturf, petals and woodchip.