For two consecutive years Antwerp Art was granted one of the pavilions sited next to the MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom), building upon our further cooperation with the city of Antwerp. After an internal open call among its members, Antwerp Art hosted the space under the name Pavilion, or Antwerp Art Pavilion, and set out to bring an eclectic mix of exhibitions and art events, sprouted from its pool of members and affiliates, focusing on strong presentations which could be viewed through its vitrines.
So, let's enter the Pavilion and see what happened there in between May 2018 and February 2020.
Antwerp Art Pavilion 2018
Antwerp Art invited Xavier Mary and Track Tracy
The Pavilion opened during the Antwerp Art Weekend of 2018, inaugurated by then alderwoman of culture, Caroline Bastiaens, with a solo exhibition by Brussels based artist Xavier Mary inside the space and an outside light installation and ongoing project by Daems van Remoortere, called Track Tracy, an algorithm controlled spotlight that followed people who were crossing the square in front of the MAS.
Open Studio's by Studio Start and NICC
The Pavilion was used as a central point of information for Open Studio's, accompanied by an exhibition with artists Michiel Albers, Kitty Kamp, Stef Van Looveren, Lore Van Roelen and Patries Wichers. Open Studio's is an event where professional artists all over the city of Antwerp will let you peek inside their work space.
The tagline for that year was ‘OPEN STUDIOS 2018, Antwerp, made by artists’, at its fourth edition, the professional studio route highlighted the presence of visual artists and creative entrepreneurs in the city, arising questions such as "What is the importance of artists and of space for artistic development and presentation in a city?" and "How can artists and the city work together on affordable creation and presentation places for professional practices with an international potential?".
Studio Start invited Stef Van Looveren
Stef Van Looveren's practice translates itself into video installation, performance and sculpture. He uses the installations as an attempt to reflect and dismantle the performativity of our human behaviour, primarily within the notion of gender. Playfully mimicking our social conducts along with visual culture, his work moves towards a surreal gesture.
At the Antwerp Art Pavilion, Stef Van Looveren presented his now iconic 'DPA bags' for the first time.
Annie Gentils Gallery invited Hans Theys
Artist Hans Theys brought together sculptures and drawings by Dries Van Laethem, Kasper De Vos, Leendert Van Accoleyen, Robert Soroko and Simon Masschelein, circling around sculptures by Vic Gentils, in a group exhibition titled: The Old In & Out & Up & Down.
valerie_traan gallery presented The Common Denominator
The Common Denominator was a group exhibition with works by Katleen Vinck, Octave Vandeweghe and Timo Van Grinsven. The three artists worked around and were inspired by the permanent collection of the MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom), which stands right next to the Antwerp Art Pavilion. The common denominator, reoccurring in each artist's work was archive-artifact-digsite.
Sofie Van de Velde presented Pendant Pair
‘Pendant Pair’ was a duo exhibition by Tom Callemin (°1991, Ostend) and Anouk De Clercq (°1971, Ghent). In 2017 the two artists collaborated on the video ‘It’ and in 2018 they made the two-channel video ‘Pendant Pair’. In addition to these collaborative works, the exhibition showed photographic work by Tom Callemin and the 16mm film ‘Atlas’ by Anouk De Clercq.
A clear similarity in the oeuvre of both artists is the play between darkness and light, and an attention for “slowness”, inviting the spectator to perceive time. At the Antwerp Art pavillion, Callemin and De Clercq researched and explored the boundaries of the medium of photography and film in the perspective of our zeitgeist.
Anouk De Clercq is a founding member of Auguste Orts and is represented by Gallery Sofie Van de Velde. Tom Callemin is represented by tegenboschvanvreden Amsterdam and Galerie Zink Waldkirchen.
Antwerp Art Pavilion 2019
Frans Masereel Centrum presented There is a Storm, Copy That
Frans Masereel Centrum took over and hosted a number of events and live performances at the Pavilion, searching for the boundaries between printmaking and sound art, under the name 'There is a Storm, Copy That', with artist talks and performances by Peter Fengler, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson and Fien Robbe, Thomas Meinecke, Kris Latoir and Eva Moulaert, Thorsten Soltau and Dominik 't Jolle, Boris Van den Eynden and Gerard Herman, John Duncan and Erwin Van Looveren, Stijn Wybouw and Marthe Van Dessel.
AIR Antwerpen (AAIR) and Kooshk residency invited Pantea Rezaee Shayesteh
Where Are You From?
I am from the universe, the infinity universe, I was born in the immortal world that is mine. In the midst of my universe. I move my body in the most righteous way because I am dissolved in my world and the world is solved in me. /you/? What did /you/ solve? Where are /you/ from?
Dancer and choreographer Pantea Shayesteh (°1984, lives and works in Tehran) was invited for a residency of one month in AAIR as part of an annual exchange with Kooshk Residency Iran. This exchange program is organized in collaboration with BOZAR and EUNIC.
At the Antwerp Art Pavilion, AIR Antwerpen resident Pantea Shayesteh (IR) envisioned evocative emotions based upon encounters in Belgium. Her five-day during performance included visual translations and deliberate inter-actions with passers-by.
ooooo - Networks with an Attitude
Networks with an Attitude was a work session to think of the future of Internet, organized by Constant from 7 to 13 April 2019 at various locations in Antwerp, aongst them the Antwerp Art Pavilion.
The internet is dead, long live the internets! In 2025, the internet will consist of either gated communities or decentralized independent instances. For those who want to be connected while choosing their own dependencies, there is no other option than to draw up new networks and experiment with both historical and innovative protocols. During this intensive week, Networks with an Attitude stretched the imagination of what a network is, and what it can be.
Extensive documentation can be found at Constant.
Antwerp Art invited Manuela Gernedel and Fiona Mackay
Manuela Gernedel and Fiona Mackay met at Glasgow School of Art and have been collaborating since 2007 and painting together since 2009. For their European Painting Tour they spread themselves over walls, ceilings, windows and floors, merging separate individual ideas into one, for one moment of time. The exhibition PORTIKO at the Antwerp Art Pavilion, began the second orbital cycle of the 2018/19 tour.
Culturel Partners of Mechelen during AAW19
The Malines contemporary art sector temporarily settled in Antwerp. During the Antwerp Art Weekend of 2019 you could get a taste of the variety of art the Dijlestad has to offer. Participating artists were Virginie Bailly, Arne Bastien, Karel Breugelmans, Johan Creten, Luc Dondeyne, Wouter Feyaerts, Claudy Jongstra, Monique Mbeke Phoba, Chloé Op de Beeck, Maarten Vanden Eynde in collaboration with Musasa and Bram Van Meervelde. The exhibition was realized by Academie Mechelen, Cultuurcentrum Mechelen, De Garage, kunstencentrum nona (Contour Biennale), Galerie Transit and Museum Hof van Busleyden.
Antwerp Art invited Radio Centraal
Radio Centraal was able to present an immense line up of artists in the short amount of time they inhabited the Pavilion. From Saturday, June 22 til Saturday, July 13, Radio Centraal literally stayed over and were using the space as their temporary broadcasting base of operations. Radio Centraal hosted musical performances by Aluda Lextherni, Lonesome Shack, Wagonman + Blaastaal, Enzo Kreft, Bombay Lunatic Asylum, 2BarsLimitation, Kaska DKO, Sint Anna Bay Coconuts, Groovecats, Tissue and Ponykamp and Che Nu Che La Che, a TV Centraal Night, an Afro & Latin Fiesta and the Antwerp Schmerror Corps Party.
Sadly, we have yet to find visual documentation of Radio Centraal's presence at the Pavilion, which makes their stay all the more legendary.
Pedrami Gallery presented The Colour of Water
The Colour of Water was a group exhibition that brought together the work of seven artists, Nasser Bakhshi, Eileen Cohen-Süssholz, Gil & Moti, Mohammed Eskandari, Wendy Krochmal, Roghyeh Najdi and Naomi Süssholz, all geographically or culturally connected to the Middle East, and who are part of the gallery’s program. The title of the exhibition referred to a passage written by twelfth century Sufi mystic, poet and philosopher Ibn Arabi, in which he made the following claim: that an understanding of the expression ‘the colour of the water is the colour of the receptacle’ would lead to an acceptance of every form and object of faith through a recognition of their underlying commonality. This because, as the metaphor suggests, the substance is essentially the same, it is just the manner in which it is conveyed that differs and affects it’s appearance in reality.
The works presented in the exhibition emerged from the various artists’ idiosyncratic art making practices coupled with their situated engagement with wider social concerns.
C A S S T L presented ec · dy · sis
“A body expels itself: as corpus, as spasmic space, distended, subject-reject, “im mundus,” if we have to keep the word. But that’s how this world takes place.” (Jean-Luc Nancy, Corpus, 107)
ec·dy·sis (n). – the molting of the cuticle in many invertebrates of the clade Ecdysozoa. The cuticle of these animals typically forms a largely inelastic exoskeleton, and is shed during growth. A new, larger covering is formed thereafter.
ec · dy · sis was a group exhibition curated by Shirley Morales with works by Skip Arnold, Ron Athey, Anna Garner, Aimee Goguen, Todd Gray, Spencer Lewis and Ilana Savdie, and performances by Rafa Esparza and Gabriela Ruiz.
LLS Paleis presented Dulle Griet (Mad Meg)
More than 450 years after Bruegel painted 'Mad Meg' (1562), a lot of themes present in the painting are still relevant and inspiring today. From October 5th until December 8th, 2019, LLS Paleis organized the exhibition 'Mad Meg: rebellion – provocation – despair – feminism', showing works of art which focus on the ambiguity of the female protagonist.
Taking Bruegel’s painting 'Mad Meg' as a point of reference, LLS Paleis invited Kasper De Vos (1988, BE), Kati Heck (1979, DE), Laure Prouvost (1978, FR), Pipilotti Rist (1962, CH), Tracey Rose (1974, South Africa), Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven (1951, BE), and Erik van Lieshout (1968, NL).
The painting 'Mad Meg' has many enigmatic elements and different layers of meaning. In quite a lot of existing interpretations the protagonist is described as a looting, brutal and raging woman. But would one still see it like that today? Why do most people presume she leads the attack, instead of trying to escape from it? Is she robbing in order to steal, or taking back what has been robbed from her? Why is she aggressor and not victim? She is running away from war and violent scenes, omnipresent in this artwork? Chaos, robbery and murder dominate the whole painting.
The exhibition showed artworks conveying political courage, resistance, activism, and artists expressing emancipation.
Base-Alpha Gallery presented Alexandra Crouwers
The Three Motions of Loom by Alexandra Crouwers was the final exhibition at the Pavilion. The three tapestries of The Three Motions of Loom departed from two fragments of Wildevrouw, Belgian author Jeroen Olyslaegers’ novel-to-be (publication by De Bezige Bij in December 2020). Wildevrouw is set in 16th century Antwerp, on the verge of the Middle Ages and modernity. At the time, The Southern region of The Netherlands was the epicenter of the tapestry industry. The automatic weaving machine, programmed by punch cards, was the predecessor of the computer. In the designs, parts of Olyslaegers’ texts, and hints for future art historians are hidden.
The tapestries were woven at the Textiellab of Textielmuseum Tilburg, with financial support by deBuren (Grensverleggers project), and Kunstloc Brabant’s impulsgelden.
Those two years were a test period for what could have been a longer collaboration between Antwerp Art and the City of Antwerp. Sadly our visions on how to run an exhibition space did not match entirely and after evaluation by both parties, the contract was ended. We are of course immensely grateful for the time and space that was given to us and are still working together closely with the City to ensure the presence of contemporary art in Antwerp in any form.
In total, over the course of 22 months, Antwerp Art hosted an intense program of 16 exhibitions and art happenings, presenting the work of 86 artists. So let’s end with the following: it’s not about what didn’t happen, it’s about what did happen.