Draped curtains, a light box and a little mystery: on discovering the work of Sarah Westphal

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Forget Art Brussels. The most impressive room I walked into over the weekend, wasn’t one in Brussels. It was a room in Ghent at the Museum of Fine Arts. I went there for a book presentation, but got blown away by a temporary installation with a few of the works of the artist: Sarah Westphal. In one of the rooms of the museum the German artist had put a couple of her works next to James Ensor’s Children at their morning toilet: two stools with draped curtains from 1775, one light box and one photograph. Simple and clever.
Standing there, in that quiet and empty room, you could almost feel the invisible threads connecting all of this. Everything made sense. The old museum windows, the light, the curtains, the textures, the old and the new. I wasn’t familiar with Westphal’s work, but I am now. Westphal, an ex-student of HISK (Ghent), received the Aon Award (5.000 euro) yesterday, on the occasion of the presentation of her first monograph, Palimpsest (in Dutch and English). More on Westphal here, on how to get the book here. (Unfortunately, Westphal’s installation is no longer on view at the Museum.)


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