IMAGINE (Art in time of pandemic) / la Galerie Imaginaire

IMAGINE (Art in time of pandemic)
la Galerie Imaginaire
August 8, 2023


la GALERIE IMAGINAIRE, I/WE/1 (Invitation)
Initiated in Brussels, in 2015 by Sébastien Delire upon an invitation from artist Nico Dockx.
Phone: +34 692 935 715
Location: Southern Spain

la GALERIE IMAGINAIRE is seeking a museum
or institution to house its archives permanently, preserving them as seeds for future generations. 

For further details, please feel free to get in touch.

(Art in time of pandemic)
2020 – Ongoing
Started during the pandemic in Ecuador, artists are invited to submit an audio file including the word ‘imagine’.
Audio recordings:

01 – Elena Bajo
02 – Matthieu Laurette
03 – Oliver Ressler
04 – David Horvitz
05 – Nico Dockx
06 – Alexandra Cuesta
07 – Davide Bertocchi
08 – Andrea Franco
09 – Ryan Gander
10 – Alec Soth
11 – Yann Sérandour
12 – Suwan Laimanee
13 – Henrik Plenje Jakobsen
14 – Anaïs Chabeur
15 – Carsten Nicolai
16 – Endre Tôt
17 – Luca Vitone
18 – gerlach en koop
19 – Tercerunquinto
20 – Adrien Missika
21 – Quynh Lam
22 – Julien Bismuth
23 – Dennis Tyfus & his imaginary friends
24 – Pedro Torres
25 – Warren Neidich
26 – Vivienne Griffin
27 – Vlaktka Horvat
28 – Viriya Chotpanyavisut
29 – Iñaki Bonillas
30 – Yue Yuan
31 – Ian Waelder
32 – Lynne Sachs


In 2010, in collaboration with Grégory Thirion, the D+T Project Gallery opened its doors in Brussels, where I was responsible for artistic selection and exhibition organization. Just a month after its inauguration with artist Gianni Motti, a significant moment occurred when artist Nico Dockx, invited by myself, entered the gallery with his skateboard in hand, marking the beginning of an exceptional journey. This pivotal encounter took place at 4 Rue Bosquet in Saint-Gilles. During our conversation, I shared my admiration for his artistic work and vision, thus initiating a genuine artistic connection. Animated by our exchange, Nico Dockx spontaneously proposed to take the reins of the gallery for a year. Enthusiastic about the idea, even though I was prepared to agree, I encountered resistance from my associate, leading to the shelving of this proposal. Nonetheless, my connection with Nico Dockx endured.

In 2012, due to disagreements with my associate regarding the direction and radicalism of the gallery, I made the decision to leave the D+T Project Gallery and open the Delire Gallery, located near the Xavier Hufkens gallery at the Rivoli Building. Success quickly smiled upon this new project, yet a sense of stagnation began to envelop me. My in-depth exchanges with artists like Gianni Motti, especially Nico Dockx, took a new turn, and on January 23, 2015, I received a letter that would forever change my life. This letter proposed that I close the doors of the Delire Gallery and embark on new artistic explorations through an imaginary gallery. For him, my ideas could flourish without the need for walls… I quickly grasped the letter’s significance. I embraced the artist’s proposal and made the radical choice to abandon my gallery, my home, family, friends, and the art world. In an instant, I let go of everything. I contacted art critic Claude Lorent and invited him to join me, along with Nico Dockx, at the  bar “La Fleur en Papier Doré”. On February 27, 2015, Claude Lorent officially announced the opening of la GALERIE IMAGINAIRE through the columns of the press.

This was followed by an almost monastic retreat from the art world, where I significantly reduced my interactions and spent extended periods alone, immersing myself in meditation within a Sivananda ashram. This ashram provided a space for spiritual practice and teachings, and also during the satsangs, for the exploration of the intersection between science and consciousness.

During my stay in the sacred mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, I gained a profound understanding of the wisdom held by the Kogi tribe, renowned for their deep spiritual connection with the natural world, as well as through my encounter with an American anthropologist who introduced me to the world of the Kogis. This unique convergence of spiritual and scientific contemplation, coupled with the profound reverence for nature among the Kogis, has further shaped my personal vision and the essence of la GALERIE IMAGINAIRE itself.

Over an extended period, I undertook a deeply introspective journey that led me to one of the oldest cities in the world: Varanasi, the city of Shiva. Nestled along the banks of the Ganges, this sacred city emitted a unique aura, steeped in ancient spirituality and a profound connection with the divine. Each day, I bore witness to timeless rituals where the bodies of the departed were cremated on the ghats, the steps descending to the sacred river. This scene, both striking and revealing, immersed me in the impermanence of life, gradually dissolving the veils that often obscure our perception of the world.

Varanasi offered me a space to meditate on the fragility and transience of existence, prompting me to challenge my own notions of reality. The timeless rhythms of life and death that unfolded daily along the Ganges’ shores acted as a reflective mirror, casting back to me the very essence of our humanity.

It was during this time, at the outset with the reception of the letter, that I came to a profound realization: this was a journey with no plans to return, not just from my physical location but also from the life I had known in Belgium. The call of exploration and the embrace of the unknown had become the guiding forces of my life. I had let go of everything, understanding that my path forward was an open-ended odyssey of creativity, spirituality, and personal growth. This understanding was further confirmed during my time in India: this was a journey with no plans to return.

The months spent in this sacred city profoundly influenced my vision. They broadened my horizons, leading me toward a deeper understanding of impermanence and the constant transformation that underlies all forms of creation. My immersion in Varanasi was a pivotal experience, a journey into the heart of millennia-old wisdom, and an essential pillar in the construction of la GALERIE IMAGINAIRE and its unique philosophy.

Over the years, la GALERIE IMAGINAIRE gradually took shape, flourishing day by day, evolving from an initially blank web page into an archive. Years of wandering ensued, with just a backpack, a mobile desk, and endeavors that could emerge anywhere and at any time. Over time, a group of artists, a family, joined this endeavor, contributing to its shaping. By February 2025, the initiative will already be celebrating its ten years, with Nico Dockx transforming these archives into a catalog. My son, Umi, born in Ecuador as a result of this adventure, will then be five and a half years old. Umi and I currently reside in the southern region of Spain, where we continue to explore new horizons and embrace the unfolding journey ahead.

Sébastien Delire
Pego, August 13, 2023