Part of this year's OFF program is CAPS (Contemporary Art Projects), an art platform with a specific focus on Belgian artists. CAPS operates as a nomadic initiative that settles in various locations in Flanders and Brussels and often develops temporary initiatives in collaboration with other organizations and galleries.

During the Antwerp Art Weekend, they inhabit the top floor of a prestigious 19th century building with their group exhibition 'Ensor en Sortie'. The exhibition departs from the oeuvre of James Ensor (1860-1949), our country’s earliest avant-garde artist. Ensor continuously experimented with light, colour and form. Fierce, indomitable, innovative. He used to paint, draw and etch intriguing interiors, glowing marines, wry caricatures and macabre masks. He explored all the new paths that art would take in the 20th century.

The twenty-two contemporary Belgian artists that participate in 'Ensor en Sortie' somehow have something in common with James Ensor. Not necessarily in the form of a direct influence, but more in terms of an Ensorian atmosphere and 'esprit'. Quite a few artists seek artistic freedom: they are unruly, individualistic, idiosyncratic in their use of colour and choice of materials and are difficult to pigeonhole. They love humour – sometimes sardonic, sometimes tongue in cheek – and let their imagination run wild. These are all characteristics that we find in Ensor’s work: in that respect he is a kind of founding father. On the occasion of this exhibition a book/catalogue in Dutch & English will be published: 'De erfenis van Ensor / Ensor’s legacy' by curator Eric Rinckhout (Pelckmans publishers). This exhibition is kindly supported by Sabam for Culture.

On May 16 at 19:00, curator Eric Rinckhout will give a lecture on James Ensor. Please register in advance by e-mailing to The admission is 5 euros, and includes a drink.