Archive for Antwerpen

That magnificent man and his flying machines: Panamarenko retrospective, M HKA (Antwerp)

Posted in art, sculpture with tags , on October 4, 2014 by Utopia Parkway

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It reminded me of the days I was fascinated by Apollo and Saturn spacecrafts, was building Airfix airplanes and was playing with an ‘electronics for kids’-set. A boy’s thing, this exhibition? I don’t think so. It’s simply impossible not to like Panamarenko, one of Belgium’s most peculiar artists, now 74, and a man who has stopped creating new work in 2005. Panamarenko Universum (through February 2, 2015) is his unique comeback to Antwerp, the city where he was born. The retrospective at M HKA comprises some 40 key works, and lots of drawings, maquettes and objects, presented in 7 thematic clusters, and is bound to be a hit with a broader audience. Can’t make it to Belgium? Then order the English version of the wonderful catalogue (published by Ludion) or check M HKA’s online platform where you’ll find 1.750 Panamarenko related items. My favorite? That fragile, helpless looking robot called Arlikoop. If I could, I’d adopt him. Oh, and the title of this post? A respectful nod to that 1965 British comedy about flying machines I used to love as a kid.

The artist as a collector: Vaast Colson, Koenraad Dedobbeleer and Rinus Van de Velde present their art collection (LLS 387, Antwerp)

Posted in art, painting, sculpture with tags , , on September 30, 2014 by Utopia Parkway

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Want another example of the vibrant, alternative Antwerp art scene? Check out A Pair Is Not A Collection, an offbeat exhibition (through October 19) presenting the art collection of six artists, at LLS 387, a nonprofit space for contemporary art. As to be expected with artists such as Vaast Colson and Koenraad Dedobbeleer, this is a show of the quirky kind. Two artists present their collection in a more traditional setup, the four others present their treasures in the unusual setting of the gatehouse of the former Military Hospital across the road, an old building awaiting renovation. Climbing the narrow stairs and entering the dilapidated rooms you feel as if you are walking into a gloomy fairytale world. Look closely and you’ll discover works by Jimmie Durham, Louise Bourgeois, Jeff Wall, Jonathan Meese and Adrian Ghenie. But you’ll also come across catalogues and plenty of strange stuff. The other participating artists are Rinus Van de Velde (the title of the show is taken from one of his drawings), Anne Daems, Henk Visch and Kurt Ryslavy. Definitely worth checking out.

Where does the work of art end, and the building begin? BORG biennial (Antwerp) presents work by more than 80 artists

Posted in art, painting, sculpture with tags , , , , on September 28, 2014 by Utopia Parkway

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Interesting. Now that Brussels has become the place to be for the established contemporary art scene, could it be that Antwerp (after having lost a couple of galleries that have moved to Brussels) will become the city for more fringy, edgy initiatives? Just what I was thinking as I was visiting a couple of venues of BORG, the 2014 edition of a biennial of contemporary art in the Borgerhout district of Antwerp. A rather exciting project comprising exhibitions in some 20 venues. Some unexpected (an old bank and an old post office; you often wonder where the work of art ends and the building begins), some more traditional (galleries Base Alpha and Zeno X). BORG was initiated by a couple of gallerists, and curators Pieter Vermeulen and Hole Of The Fox, and presents work by more than 80 artists. It can still be visited today, and from Wednesday till Sunday October 5. It ends with the inauguration of a new work of art in a public space by Lodewijk Heylen. Want to stay informed about the Antwerp art scene? Subscribe to the newsletter of the revamped Antwerp Art site, offering information about openings, nocturnes and exhibitions. At the end of January the first edition of an Antwerp Art Weekend will be organised.

A fountain, a rabbit hole, a mushroom and a writer’s island: welcome to ‘My little paradise (Mijn kleine paradijs)’ (Middelheim, Antwerp)

Posted in art, sculpture with tags , , on May 26, 2013 by Utopia Parkway

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We might all still be waiting for that first glimpse of summer in Belgium, the art world is slowly getting into a summer mood. The museum summer exhibitions will open shortly and the outdoor exhibitions are getting readied. A nice one opened its doors yesterday, at that wonderful Middelheim sculpture park (Antwerp). It has become even more worth the trip with an exhibition called Mijn kleine paradijs/My little paradise (through September 15), in the Hortiflora, a garden which was added to the park last year. Put together by Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck and Middelheim curator Sara Weyns it was inspired by the Hortus Conclusus: a secluded garden for contemplation. It became a rather diverse exhibition with works by 7 artists, comprising a fountain (Leon Vranken), a video installation (John Cale‘s Diddiau Du/Dark Days; take your time for this one, as it takes 47 minutes and viewers are asked not to leave the room until it is over) and a sound installation in the woods (Forest (for a thousand years), by Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, already on view last year at Documenta XIII, Kassel).

 

A toreador dancing on a cut-up speech: ‘It’s going to get worse and worse and worse, my friend’ (Lisbeth Gruwez/Voetvolk)

Posted in dance, theatre with tags , , , , , on August 29, 2012 by Utopia Parkway

Although every year again I disagree with the selection they’ve come up with, I nevertheless stay a fan of Het Theaterfestival, presenting the best theatre and dance performances of the past season in Belgium (and Holland). It always enables you to catch one or two performances all your friends have been talking about and you’ve nevertheless managed to miss. Such as Lisbeth Gruwez‘s It’s going to get worse and worse and worse, my friend, one of the performances kicking off this year’s edition at deSingel (Antwerp). Continue reading

Shades of grey wherever you go: Dirk Braeckman at M Museum (Leuven)

Posted in art, photography with tags , , , , on November 1, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

My favorite Dirk Braeckman picture? This one. Because it is hanging at the perfect spot, in the corner of that top room at M Museum (Leuven; through January 8). It is impossible to see, when standing in front of it, whether it’s because of the light from outside (the reflection of it) that you can’t see what’s going on in the top half of the picture, or if Braeckman himself (with his flash) has been responsible for those reflections. Yes, the survey of this Belgian painter turned photographer (on whom the discovery of a book with crime-scene photo’s had a revelatory effect) is a must-see. Even though, with so many of his gloomy pictures brought together, you start noticing his tricks and you wonder if he isn’t overdoing it on some of the recurring themes in his work. Interesting to see as well how, after his analogue years (always that Contax T2) Braeckman is now trying out digital and even colour. Zeno X Gallery (Antwerp) is presenting a couple of his new pictures as well (through November 26). Not familiar with this photographer, who considers his darkroom as a really important tool? More images after the jump. Continue reading

Astro Boy lost on stage: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui aims high but falls short with ‘TeZukA’

Posted in dance with tags , , , , , , , on October 11, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

A guy rolling around on stage with a manga comic-book between his toes, trying to read it. TeZukA‘s opening scene is vintage Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui: inventive, virtuoso and funny. One of the next scenes, with groups of dancers imitating calligraphy signs, is equally wonderful. By then it’s obvious that the Belgian choreographer wants to do one of his great heroes justice, by being as creative as possible. But unfortunately he falls short. Watching TeZukA reminded me of a juggler throwing just too many balls in the air.

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