Collective session



    visit with an introduction by curator Karen Verschooren
    Friday 23 June 2023 / 14:30-16:30 / STUK

    About this exhibition

    In the West, accounts of ecstatic experiences are usually associated with and limited to the context of religion, sex or drugs. However, The Ecstatic Being takes a much broader scope, looking at ecstasy as a self-chosen state of metamorphosis, a transformation. Sometimes described as a loss of self or ego, it is perhaps better understood as a heightened form of subjectivity; a super-clear awareness of one’s own mind and body stripped of dominant cognitive filters. It is primarily an ’embodied experience’, a bodily experience that is felt rather than thought-through.

    An ecstatic experience temporarily overrules the dominant frameworks of knowledge that help determine how we view ourselves and the world. In the West, our knowledge system is mainly characterised by a cognitive, linear way of thinking and reasoning. It broadly involves a rational understanding expressed mainly through language. An ecstatic experience allows us to understand in a different way what lies beyond this dominant framework of knowledge. The ecstatic experience provides access, as it were, to another form of knowing and understanding.

    This exhibition aims to look at these mind-bending practices and altered states of consciousness with an open mind, without judgment, but with an attentiveness to the conditions that make us crave them and the complex and multi-layered ways in which they are present within our society. In The Ecstatic Being, it is the artworks that give insight into what might exist outside of what we think we know. And perhaps this changes the way we give meaning to all that is inside and outside of us.

    With work by Julius Bockelt, Fia Cielen, Laurie Dall’Ava, Nan Goldin, Tom Hannes, Hanne Lippard, Henri Michaux, Warre Mulder, Matt Mullican, Laure Prouvost, Ben Russell, Selkie, Jeanne Susplugas, Emma Talbot, Myrthe Van der Mark and Sophie Whettnall.

    Practical Information

    Friday 23 June 2023
    Time: 14:30-16:30
    Venue: STUK (Leuven)
    Tickets: it’s free to attend, but on registration only (limited space)
    If you would like to attend, please email us at