'Rook' - About the history of smoking

Huis van Alijn, Ghent

Current - August 18th 

Allow me to take you on a journey to somewhere that never existed: after all, these are the best places to go. You’re in the South of France, or perhaps the Hollywood Hills - who cares? It’s warm, the mountains are beautiful, and you can see the ocean glistening in the distance, like a blue sapphire calling your name.

You look down between your legs to see a 1948 Vincent Black Shadow, it’s a beautiful black motorbike, old school, sleek, fast. You twist the throttle harder and roar forwards. The wind ruffles through your hair, no need for a helmet in your dreams. The collar on your black leather jacket sticks up at the perfect angle of effortlessly cool, your blue jeans are tight but not uncomfortable, and your Cuban heeled boots, well, words can't describe that level of sex appeal.

Andy Williams “Music to watch girls by” plays in the backgrounds as you fly through the mountain roads down towards the beach, and for some reason, inexplicably, a limp cigarette hangs in your mouth.

Why? Well, who knows? The folks at Huis van Alijn, that’s who. 

Until the 18th of August Rook: About the history of smoking aims to give you a comprehensive history of smoking, and why we all think those cancer-ridden sticks are so god damn cool. The exhibition shows us how smoking became such an intense part of our culture, and explains its demise into becoming socially unacceptable. From advertising to the tobacco industry’s more filthy tricks, they aim to explain how smoking became so intrinsically linked with the concept of cool.

(Painting by Adam Riches, 2019 - @adamrichesart.)

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