Through the world exhibitions, the visual artist Ives Maes creates an image of the world's greatest expectations for the future: sometimes fulfilled with flying colours, but often not. That is what makes Cosmorama a fascinating journey from 19th century London to contemporary Shanghai.

Ives Maes photographs the heritage of the world exhibitions. And he records the architectural remains of these short events and their building sites. These images show an ironic contrast between the utopian expectations of the future and today's urban reality.

Ives Maes argues that the World's Fairs emerged together with the invention of photography. Thanks to the veracity of the medium, organisers were able to provide evidence of their temporary pavilions. Maes' eerie images begin with the first exhibition in London in 1851 and end in Milan, at the 2015 Expo. They are ‘afterimages’, remnants of fading dreams. For many of these structures were made only to disappear. Often they remained standing, like forgotten ruins. Others were indeed built to stay. And have survived wars, earthquakes and pandemics. The Dubai Expo 2021-22 was to leave behind the enigmatic Museum of the Future. The question remains if this is another panoramic dream or a fair world?

Ives Maes is an artistic researcher to KASK School of Arts Ghent and the Hogent Arts Research Fund.

Stripped to the bone, fully restored and with a brand-new museum section to boot. The KMSKA has been through the most spectacular renovation in its history. Relive its finest moments with us.

Thanks to the master plan the museum is completely equipped for the 21st century. State of the art and forward-looking. This is what makes the KMSKA so much more than a house for the arts. It is a work of art in itself, where mastery and craftsmanship meet. Get inside the heads of the architects and designers. And look over the shoulders of the restorers, decorators and of craftsmen of all kinds. The timeline gives an overview of the entire renovation. With a lot of attention for the finest projects. From the closure to the reopening, from demolition to reconstruction. Models, designs, videos, photos and interviews make the gigantic restoration tangible and visible.

Meanwhile, the KMSKA remained very active behind the scenes. Follow the restorations of paintings and sculptures. Or how the collection travelled around the world. And which artists were thoroughly inspired by the museum.

A ticket is required to visit the exhibitions at KMSKA.
Get your ticket here.