René Daniëls

At the end of the 1970s, René Daniëls set the tone for 'new painting' in the Netherlands. Despite changes in style, certain compositions, motifs and titles recur repeatedly in his work. Initially he limited himself to simple geometric forms, in which sometimes figurative motifs can be recognised. Words and titles play an important role.


year and place of birth: 1950, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
whereabouts: Eindhoven, the Netherlands

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Guy Mees

Guy Mees’ works assume a wide range of forms, including painting, sculpture, paper reliefs, installations and films. However varied they may be, they always contain references to painting. Using such means as colour, plane, line, frame and depth, he explored the boundaries of painting: how far can you go within the medium of painting and where are the borders between painting and other disciplines?


year and place of birth: 1935, Mechelen, Belgium
whereabouts: +2003, Antwerp, Belgium

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Claude Rutault

Claude Rutault’s oeuvre can be situated in the spirit of the Fundamental Painting of the 1970s. These painters focused on the formal and fundamental principles of abstract painting, their only purpose being research into the basic elements of the medium: dimensions, format, form, plane, line, colour, texture, material and method. The painting was stripped of all its illusion and viewed as an essentially flat plane covered with colours arranged in a particular way. Fundamental Painting refers only to itself. Any less is hardly imaginable.


year and place of birth: 1941, Les Trois-Moutiers, France
whereabouts: Vaucresson, France

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Sol LeWitt

Sol LeWitt was one of the most important minimal and conceptual artists. He was one of the founders of the radical, rationally-oriented aesthetic that was deployed as a reaction to the emotionally-oriented American Expressionism of the 1950s and 1960s. In Minimal Art, the form of the artworks is reduced to the extreme. Conceptual Art went one step further by making the concept or underlying idea of an artwork more important than its beauty or physical form. A major element of both movements is that the artist, as a maker of art, fades into the background.


year and place of birth: 1928, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
whereabouts: +2007, New York City, USA

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Ettore Spalletti

Although he takes inspiration from the colours of the sea and mountains of the Abruzzo landscape where he lives, Ettore Spalletti is not concerned with the depiction of reality or with conveying a message, but with the presentation of pure, simple, aesthetically enjoyable forms and colours


year and place of birth: 1940, Cappelle sul Tavo, Italy
whereabouts: +2019, Spoltore, Italy

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Kris Martin

Kris Martin studied architecture and in about 2000 he switched to visual art. His now internationally recognised artistic oeuvre manifests itself in a variety of media including sculpture, installation, drawing, collage, photography and performance. Martin’s works often possess a playful element or subtle humour and make reference to conceptual art, as well as early art history and its religious roots. They are quite often oriented towards the physical properties of materials.


year and place of birth: 1972, Kortrijk, Belgium
whereabouts: Ghent, Belgium

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Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol (Andrew Warhola), the son of Czech immigrants to the US, rose to become the most famous figure associated with American pop art. He was fascinated by celebrities from an early age and collected signed photos of film stars, amongst other things. After completing his studies, he moved to New York, where he hoped to become rich and famous. This dream became a reality with the infamous ‘New Realist’ exhibition in New York in 1962, in which Warhol presented a series of ‘Marilyns’. The exhibition definitively launched the pop artist’s stellar career. Warhol is known for his simple representations of commercial products, film stars and photos from newspapers, which he depicted with emotionless objectivity. From the 1960s onwards, he created an increasing number of mechanically-produced serial prints.


year and place of birth: 1928, Pittsburgh, USA
whereabouts: +1987, New York, USA

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Stefaan Dheedene

Stefaan Dheedene’s sculptural ‘situations’ arise out of an artistic process in which he uses, imitates or recombines everyday objects or transforms them into new forms and connections. His specific interest in ‘the aesthetic and political relations between forms’ is expressed chiefly in installations and sculptures.


year and place of birth: 1975, Kortrijk, Belgium
whereabouts: Ghent, Belgium

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Michael Sailstorfer

Michael Sailstorfer transforms everyday situations by presenting them in a different, unexpected way. By means of simple but well thought out interventions such as exaggerated proportions, he gives rise to alternative meanings and lets us join him in looking at the world through his poetically astonished gaze.


year and place of birth: 1979, Velden/Vils, Germany
whereabouts: Berlin, Germany

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Michael Dean

Michael Dean has displayed a particular fascination with language ever since he made his debut as an artist about ten years ago. Yet the language he employs in his installations and sculptures is not immediately recognisable as language in terms of sound or writing. He deliberately opts to give plastic expression to language in his work, in the form of a three-dimensional ‘alphabet’ he devised himself.


year and place of birth: 1977, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
whereabouts: London, United Kingdom

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Mario Garcia Torres

Mario Garcia Torres reworks projects from the history of conceptual art in his own personal way. He examines what influence these projects have on today’s art and society. In Garcia Torres’ projects you do not re-experience the original conceptual work, but your attention is drawn to the change of meaning it has undergone in the course of time.


year and place of birth: 1975, Monclova, Mexico
whereabouts: Mexico City, Mexico

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Loek Grootjans

In his oeuvre, Loek Grootjans emerges as both an artist and a collector, an academic and an archivist. The artist thematises his personal experiences, thoughts and social environment in various forms, with a meticulousness that verges on the obsessive. One of the ideas on which Grootjans bases his work is that thinking in terms of major works and masterpieces is outmoded. He had already turned his back on painting, his first love, because of its associations with master craftsmanship.


year and place of birth: 1955, Arnemuiden, the Netherlands
whereabouts: Breda, the Netherlands

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Klara Lidén

Klara Lidén trained as an architect. Her field of study is the urban landscape. It is mostly images of the city that provide the backdrop for her usually pointless and contrary actions. She asks questions about the separation of private and public space and the rules of behaviour that go with them. She flouts these rules in rebellious, disruptive punk actions in which she challenges everyday routine.


year and place of birth: 1979, Stockholm, Sweden
whereabouts: Berlin, Germany

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Kai Althoff

Kai Althoff creates installations, drawings, videos and collages, and is a musician and performer. In imaginary scenes he presents stories, but only reveals a fraction of them. He is inspired by subcultures, historic events and religious imagery. The materials and techniques he uses are a reminder of his childhood. For example, Althoff makes figures out of clay and cardboard and draws with felt-tip pens or coloured pencils.


year and place of birth: 1966, Cologne, Germany
whereabouts: Cologne, Germany

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Hamza Halloubi

Many of Halloubi’s works revolve around inner pain and sorrow and the silent desire for the mitigation of this pain. Exile, solitude and melancholy are themes that run through his oeuvre. Halloubi’s extremely personal video poems are inspired by his own experiences. He grew up in Tangiers, but emigrated to Brussels to study art and has since lived in Brussels and Ghent. Without ever making it concrete, his work touches on the boundary between Europe and Africa.


year and place of birth: 1982, Tangier, Morocco
whereabouts: Brussels and Ghent, Belgium & Tangier, Morocco

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Gerry Bibby

The sculptor and writer Gerry Bibby lets words and things exert their influence on each other and in this way mixes together values concerning gender, origin and art. In doing so, he plays with such notions as identity, illegibility and transparency.


year and place of birth: 1977, Melbourne, Australia
whereabouts: Berlin, Germany

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Denicolai & Provoost

Simona Denicolai & Ivo Provoost present themselves as a duo of artists. In this way they indicate their interest in what is different, in the encounter, in friction and exchange. In their work they try to disrupt our habitual ways of thinking and our routine behaviour. Denicolai & Provoost work in a varied range of disciplines. For each project they choose a specific discipline that helps define the significance of the result.


year and place of birth: 1972 & 1974, Milan, Italy & Diksmuide, Belgium
whereabouts: Brussels, Belgium

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Mimmo Rotella

The Italian Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Rotella is counted as an adherent of Nouveau Réalisme, although he never signed the manifesto of that movement. Unlike American Pop Art, which took aim at the consumer society on the basis of a visual idiom derived from popular culture, the intention of Nouveau Réalisme was to introduce reality into the image itself by means of collages and assemblages. In this way, the new realists transformed the ‘ordinary’ observable reality into a more abstract and socially-critical image of it.


year and place of birth: 1918, Catanzaro, Italy
whereabouts: +2006, Milan, Italy

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Andreas Slominski

Andreas Slominski is one of a new generation of German sculptors who, in his postmodern-oriented work, has since the 80s reacted against Minimal Art and Conceptual Art.


year and place of birth: 1959, Meppen, Germany
whereabouts: Werder, Germany

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Douglas Huebler

As from 1967, Douglas Huebler focused entirely on Conceptual Art and became one of its most important practitioners. Huebler aims for images that consist entirely of their present, the visual experience of which coincides with the experience of the actual environment that is the source of these images. For this reason he gives his work the form of documentation of the reality he is depicting, while what appears to be documentation material is in fact the ‘original work’.


year and place of birth: 1924, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
whereabouts: +1997, Truro, Massachusetts, USA

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Alighiero Boetti

Since around 1965 Alighiero Boetti has been working on a stylistically very diverse oeuvre, initially counted as Arte Povera. He investigates the notion of duality in couples of opposites such as order and chaos (\"ordine e disordine\" is the title of a series of works), nature and artefact, coincidence and system. He sees these as merely linguistic conventions. After all, each thing encompasses its opposite. In a playful confrontation between \"objective\" orders such as geometry, numerical proportions, grids and the chaotic environment, he questions the Western system of thought. Thinking in categories, according to him, undermines the possibility of understanding the world.


year and place of birth: 1940, Turin, Italy
whereabouts: +1994, Rome, Italy

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Pipilotti Rist

Pipilotti Rist belongs to the first generation to have grown up with art in which electronic media played a part. This artist opted decisively to engage in video art as from the mid-1980s. She often uses familiar music so as to appeal to our collective memory. In her later videos she uses sound more as a sort of soundscape.


year and place of birth: 1962, Grabs, Switzerland
whereabouts: Zurich, Switzerland

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Marie-Jo Lafontaine

Marie-Jo Lafontaine is one of the pioneers of Belgian video art and has already been using this medium for its aesthetic qualities since the late 1970s. What characterises her video work is that it takes the form of an installation: by combining several elements, it is as if she were creating ‘video sculptures’. The thread running through Lafontaine’s work is the focus on the great themes such as ‘eros and thanatos’, ‘passion’, ‘violence’ and ‘sexuality’, the most extreme human emotions. The artist emphasises the inescapable nature of the emotions represented.


year and place of birth: 1950, Antwerp, Belgium
whereabouts: Brussels, Belgium

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Kristof Van Gestel

Within his artistic practice Kristof Van Gestel investigates the possibilities of art as a model of experience and reflection. It was on the basis of his background in sculpture that he sharpened up his sense of process, intuition, chance and residual space. As part of his oeuvre, he develops models of creation whereby his audience is able to actively gain experiences in these areas. They are part of 'Knowing by Doing', the umbrella platform for participatory art projects that the artist founded at KASK/Hogent. In 2016, Van Gestel was artist-in-residence in S.M.A.K. This gave him the opportunity to apply his research within a museum context.


year and place of birth: 1976, Turnhout, Belgium
whereabouts: Antwerp, Belgium

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Michael Ross

Michael Ross’ first works were conceptually inspired, but his attention soon shifted to sculpture. He assembles precise and minuscule wall constructions using everyday objects and a variety of materials. He gives each work an elaborate and evocative title. Because of his expertise with diminutive objects, an international exhibition-maker once called him ‘the scientist of the kingdom of the tiny’.


year and place of birth: 1954, Buffalo, New York, USA
whereabouts: New York, USA

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Pascale Marthine Tayou

Pascale Martine Tayou is an autodidact. After various wanderings around Europe, he now lives and works in Ghent. In his work he confronts personal aspects of his life in Cameroon and Europe with such universal themes as economics, identity and migration. He often uses his work to raise thorny socio-political questions concerning cultural and national identity. Africa, and his native country of Cameroon in particular, are virtually always present in his work. “Cameroon is my registered trade mark, the basis from which everything started. I find it important to show this in my work so that everyone there who keeps track of me can see that anything is possible”.


year and place of birth: 1966, Nkonsamba, Cameroon
whereabouts: Ghent, Belgium and Yaoundé, Cameroon

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Philippe Van Snick

Philippe Van Snick developed a simple pictorial form of language that is related to minimalism. He relied on binary logic and on patterns in the dynamics of the cosmos and daily reality to develop formulae. Van Snick thus created a decimal system with which he makes the reality around him manageable and which concomitantly forms the core of his palette consisting of ten colours: red, yellow, blue, orange, purple, green, white, black, gold and silver. The artist uses these colours to render observations and feelings in a systematic way.


year and place of birth: 1946, Ghent, Belgium
whereabouts: +2019, Brussels, Belgium

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Javier Téllez

As a son of psychiatrists, Javier Téllez grew up in an environment where the mentally ill were part of his daily life. In his film projects, he engages in potent collaborations most often with groups who are 'invisible', such as psychiatric patients or people with disabilities. On the basis of both documentary and fictitious elements, the participants rewrite, in collaboration with the artist, classical myths, collective memories and historical chronicles. By actively involving the marginalized, people without basic rights, 'outsiders' in his work process, Téllez creates a worthy, non-stereotypical image of them. The artist gives them a voice and questions the notion of normality and pathology in our society.


year and place of birth: 1969, Valencia, Venezuela
whereabouts: New York, USA

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Jean Pierre Raynaud

Jean Pierre Raynaud first started a collection of objects during his military service. In 1962 he discovered the art world and came into contact with the nouveaux réalistes Niki de Saint-Phalle and Jean Tinguely. In this period he became obsessed with everyday materials, such as white tiles and flowerpots - which are found all over the world. This ‘mania’ goes so far that the artist identifies himself with his materials. Despite the fact that Raynaud uses mundane everyday objects to express his presence in the world, his oeuvre acquires an existential dimension.


year and place of birth: 1939, Courbevoie, France
whereabouts: Paris, France

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Lee Kit

Lee Kit is not a political artist, but in 21st -century Hong Kong, depicting the everyday, both human and domestic, was sufficient to be considered political. His work can be seen as an aesthetical examination of human emotions that he considers as the unique common denominator in a world that is both globalized and yet divided. With his ‘situations’ or ‘settings’ Lee Kit discards the traditional painting of his training. He goes beyond the two-dimensional aspect of it and introduces light, colour, perspective, composition and texture – also characteristic components of painting – so that spatial installations come into being. In Lee Kit’s work the pictorial space found in a painting becomes a real space.


year and place of birth: 1978, Hong Kong, China
whereabouts: Hong Kong, China and Taipei, Taiwan

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Verlust der Mitte (curated by Christoph Büchel)

‘Verlust der Mitte’ presents the artworks that were purchased during the formation of S.M.A.K. They are the foundation of the museum’s collection and the result of more than fifty years of collecting by various parties: the Museum of Fine Arts (from 1957 to ‘75), the Association for the Museum of Contemporary Art (from 1957) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, which has been known as S.M.A.K. since 1999 (from 1975). In his speech on the occasion of the first presentation of the museum’s collection, curator Henry Lecube described it as follows: “The collection is unique of its kind. It has nothing to hide, knows no secrets and owes nothing to anyone except its founders.”


year and place of birth: 1966, Basel, Switzerland
whereabouts: Iceland

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Narcisse Tordoir

Since the 1980s, Narcisse Tordoir has been exploring the boundaries and possibilities of painting with stubborn determination. Tordoir studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, but soon shook himself free of the constraints of his classical education. He is constantly exploring new things, and mixes styles and media with apparent ease. Tordoir's works are simultaneously both subtle and direct. As no other, he interweaves romance with harsh reality, history with current events, static images with those in motion, lunacy with seriousness. He elevates painting to an act, a performance. Tordoir is one of Belgium's most important artists, and one of the few who revived painting after it had been ostracized.


year and place of birth: 1954, Mechelen, Belgium
whereabouts: Antwerp, Belgium

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Pierre Alechinsky

Pierre Alechinsky was one of the Belgian pioneers of the Cobra movement, a group of artists with members from Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands that was active from 1948 to 1951. They attempted to combine abstract and figurative as an alternative to the geometric abstraction seen in Europe. The artists endeavoured to achieve the freest possible expression, taking inspiration from, among other things, the drawings and paintings of children and the mentally ill, which they considered to be the peak of spontaneous creation.


year and place of birth: 1927, Schaerbeek, Belgium
whereabouts: Paris, France

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Alicja Kwade

For the last ten years, Alicja Kwade has been modifying everyday objects such as brooms, wall-clocks and doors. She quite literally bends them by means of complicated technical processes. This gives a new and peculiar form to things that are familiar and recognisable. Alicja Kwade’s oeuvre, which consists mainly of sculpture and installations, looks as if it has come from a parallel world where different physical laws apply. Her works defy logic and prompt us to take a dynamic approach to such concepts as reality, space and time.


year and place of birth: 1979, Katowice, Poland
whereabouts: Berlin, Germany

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James Welling

James Welling is one of the most innovative visual artists in the world working with photography. He draws on all the technical possibilities that the medium has to offer him, with both digital and analogue processes. In doing so, the artist traverses traditional genres and styles, such as portrait, landscape, abstraction and documentary; additionally he involves other artistic disciplines such as painting, architecture, sculpture and dance. Often, autobiographical material forms the starting point for new projects, whether or not it comes from his immediate surroundings.


year and place of birth: 1951, Hartford, USA
whereabouts: Los Angeles, USA

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Shikh Sabbir Alam

Shikh Sabbir Alam studied at the Oslo Academy of Fine Arts and at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda, India. Freehand drawings are the starting point from which his reflections take on a more permanent form, mostly as paintings. Recurrent themes in his work are our perception and the way in which our brains influence our observations. The artist also questions the boundary between reality and fiction. Flora and fauna are his key sources of inspiration.


year and place of birth: 1982, Kushtia, Bangladesh
whereabouts: Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Orla Barry

Orla Barry’s work is about language. She works with different media, such as video, text, sound and photographic installation. Her oeuvre moves on the border between portrait, monologue and short story and floats to the rhythm of Irish poetry and music. Having lived in Brussels for sixteen years, Barry returned to her native region, the remote and rural county of Wexford on the coast of Ireland, where she currently lives and works. Many of her pieces refer to how people – as linguistic beings – feel alienated from nature.


year and place of birth: 1969, Wexford, Ireland
whereabouts: Wexford, Ireland

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Christo

On Sunday the 31th of May 2020, the Bulgarian-American artist Christo died in New York City. Christo was active as an architect, sculptor, installation artist, painter and drawer. With his 'wrapping art' he gained international fame. In 1956, following his studies, he fled the communist regime in Bulgaria and settled in Paris, where he started making his first wrapped objects. He soon established links with the Paris art scene and the nouveau réalistes, with whom he is often associated. But although he too combined everyday objects in assemblages, his conceptual focus was elsewhere. He saw his work not so much as social criticism, but as a means of exploring aesthetic issues concerning concealment versus disclosure and restriction versus openness.


year and place of birth: 1935, Gabrovo, Bulgaria
whereabouts: +2020, New York, USA

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Tamara Van San

Van San studied sculpture at Sint-Lucas in Antwerp. She soon abandoned the classical technique of sculpting from a model and experimented with all manner of non-classical materials and shapes in vivid hues. For several years now, she has primarily been working in clay with brightly-coloured glazes. She makes sculptural spatial installations for both indoors and outdoors, but in addition also creates small-scale sculptures for a more intimate setting. In her work, she plays a spontaneous game with the basic sculptural elements of volume, form and colour.


year and place of birth: 1982, Antwerp (Belgium)
whereabouts: Appelterre (Belgium)

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Birde Vanheerswynghels

In her studio in Brussels, Birde Vanheerswynghels constructs monumental charcoal drawings of sumptuous landscapes. In addition, she often embroiders onto previous work in order to gradually unfold new compositions. During this process, she makes use of Polaroids and photos taken with her mobile phone. This is because photography allows her to see more clearly what is missing from her drawings, or rather, what can be changed. The artist recently utilised the resulting archive of Polaroids and detailed images to create new work.


year and place of birth: 1986, Roeselare (Belgium)
whereabouts: Brussels (Belgium)

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Gil Shachar

Gil Shachar has a preference for images from the collective memory, such as fairy-tale figures, and for universal themes such as the father-son relationship. This recognisability leads to multiple associations in his oeuvre, which Shachar sees as enriching each piece and lending it greater meaning. The artist often begins with pre-existing two-dimensional images, such as illustrations or photos, which he converts into three-dimensional sculptures.


year and place of birth: 1965, Tel Aviv (Israel)
whereabouts: Duisburg (Germany)

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Jason Rhoades

The American artist Jason Rhoades is known for his associative, life-sized sculptural installations in which he combines conceptual strength with a touch of humour. He utilised an astonishing array of materials and objects from everyday American culture. Rhoades did not allow himself to be pigeonholed as an artist and would flout all of the art world’s aesthetic conventions and rules. His installations were never finished. He treated every piece as a life-long project, continuously adding or removing parts.


year and place of birth: 1965, Newcastle (California, USA)
whereabouts: Los Angeles (California, USA)

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Mandla Reuter

As a sculptor and installation artist, Mandla Reuter explores the ambiguous relationship between art and the notion of ‘place’. His interventions, which are subtle but at times also radical, call into question typical artistic notions such as ‘art production’ and ‘presentation context’. Reuter often bases his work on the specific characteristics of the space in which he is exhibiting. He sometimes appears to entirely detach this from the real world, evoking an alienating atmosphere in which fiction proliferates.


year and place of birth: 1975, Nqutu (South Africa)
whereabouts: Berlin (Germany)

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Navid Nuur

Navid Nuur devised the term ‘interimodules’ to describe his highly divergent works, which range from installations, performances, drawings and texts to sculptures and paintings. These ‘interim objects’ can be situated somewhere between the idea of the artist and its implementation in the form of an artwork. Many of Nuur’s works have a fleeting existence, and are only preserved in a publication after the event, or as documentation. Moreover, many of the materials with which the artist works (such as light, water, air or even ice-cream) are by nature transient. Although his oeuvre initially appears to be conceptual, it often draws upon a lyrical, sometimes almost romantic poetry. Thus apparently impossible phenomena are made possible, or vice-versa.


year and place of birth: 1976, Teheran (Iran
whereabouts: The Hague (The Netherlands)

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Joseph Grigely

Joseph Grigely, who has been deaf since the age of ten, explores language and communication. He has studied the art of conversation between deaf and hearing people. The starting point for his installations is his personal archive, which contains remnants of discussions with people who can hear. This can include scribbles on serviettes, small drawings, photos of hands in the act of writing, and half-smoked cigarettes. He uses these residual elements to shape everyday discussions and encounters in a conceptual way.


year and place of birth: 1956, Longmeadow (Massachusetts, US)
whereabouts: Chicago (Illinois, US)

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Markus Degerman

In his artistic practice, Markus Degerman combines and reconstructs elements from visual art, architecture and design. He removes them from their context and charges them with fresh meanings. His interventions often experiment with the spatial design of public, urban or institutional environments. As well as being active as an artist, he is also Dean of The National Academy of the Arts in Oslo.


year and place of birth: 1972, Stockholm (Sweden)
whereabouts: Stockholm (Sweden)

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Lawrence Weiner

During his early years as an artist, Weiner made paintings from which he removed the corners and objects from which he cut away squares. In these works, the removal of matter took precedence. Familiarisation with the art and ideas of Sol LeWitt proved to be a turning point for Weiner. The artist’s interest in the external appearance of artworks diminished. Further still, he considers text to be equivalent to art executed in material form and uses language both as a ‘sculptural material’ and as the principal medium for his visual practice. After all, language is ‘the most objective thing’ (the least object-like thing) invented by man, a purely abstract phenomenon that can capture and express an idea. In 1968, Weiner created an exhibition in the form of a booklet with short texts describing artworks that readers could imagine in their minds.


year and place of birth: 1942, New York, USA
whereabouts: Amsterdam, the Netherlands and New York, USA

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Jan Vercruysse

Vercruysse’s entire oeuvre is an investigation into the role that art and artists can play in our society. Furthermore, he always took a specific question as the starting point for a new series of works. From the mid-1970s, the artist mainly made photo (self) portraits. In series such as ‘Chambres’ (1983-86) and ‘Atopies’ (1985-87), his attention shifted to sculptural still lifes that reference the theatre and architecture. Columns, furniture, frames and mirrors form strange ensembles that evoke a sense of desolation. ‘Atopie’ literally means ‘non-place’ and, in this case, it seems to be the opposite of ‘utopia’, a highly resonant term in a world of empty ideals. Vercruysse also emphasised absence in his series ‘Tombeaux’ (1987-94). He exhibited chairs and plinths that, despite being empty, suggest the presence of a person or an artwork.


year and place of birth: 1948, Ostend, Belgium
whereabouts: +2018, Bruges, Belgium

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Paul Thek

Paul Thek made his debut as a traditional painter in the 1950s, but later evolved into a sculptor and installation artist. Around 1967, after an earlier trip through Europe studying art, he once again crossed the Atlantic Ocean. He started to build large, temporary environments with transient materials. Several museums immediately showed an interest. When Thek returned to the United States in 1976, his groundbreaking work from the 1960s had been forgotten. Unlike in Europe, his work in America remained under the radar of the art world. It was not until the early 2000s, which saw a revival of interest in the artist’s personal mythology, that Thek’s work began to exert a profound influence on a new generation of artists.


year and place of birth: 1933, Brooklyn, USA
whereabouts: +1988, New York, USA

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Dennis Oppenheim

Around 1967, shortly after he graduated from art school, Dennis Oppenheim made his first ‘Earthworks’. Like fellow land artists such as Robert Morris, Michael Heizer and Robert Smithson, Oppenheim commented on the private inner world in which art is usually presented (galleries, museums, etc.). These artists sought to demystify the artwork and restore its link with the outside world by exhibiting natural materials in the classic places where art is presented or by creating artworks in natural landscapes. Oppenheim also went on to make body art, which he saw as a logical step since the ‘wounds’ he ‘inflicted’ on the landscape were like the scars left on his body by the performances. The artist also created temporary and permanent installations, sculptures and public projects.


year and place of birth: 1938, Electric City, Washington, USA
whereabouts: +2011, Manhattan, USA

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Reinhard Mucha

Reinhard Mucha belongs to a generation of artists who, in the last quarter of the 20th century, developed a new European, post-minimalist style of sculpture. Like Thomas Schütte, among others, Mucha is often called a ‘model builder’ because of the maquette style of his constructions. His attitude towards the art shown in museums and galleries is critical. Indeed, in many of his shows, he makes exhibiting a theme in its own right. As building blocks for his works, he uses not only everyday objects, but also items that are characteristic of exhibition techniques and the presentation of art.


year and place of birth: 1950, Düsseldorf, Germany
whereabouts: Düsseldorf, Germany

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Wesley Meuris

Wesley Meuris makes installations, sculptures and drawings around architecture, which may or may not be imaginary, and the human need to classify things. Initially he builds scale models, but they quickly grow to their real size. Meuris’ earliest works mainly depict public sanitary facilities and swimming pools. Each time, forms are reduced to their essence and stripped of their original context and function. The artist does not so much investigate standardised utility architecture and its formal language as our conditioned gaze.


year and place of birth: 1977, Lier, Belgium
whereabouts: Antwerp, Belgium

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Alberto Garutti

Since the mid-1970s, Garutti has been exploring how artworks can initiate contact and change. In the run-up to his first public commission in 1994, he argued that greater attention must be paid to the social responsibility that should underpin all artistic decisions. He adopts a critical attitude towards the art system and continues to look for the aesthetic form that expresses his radical artistic position as clearly as possible. He seems to get closest to this in his works for public spaces, which encourage encounters between artist, artwork and viewer. In addition, Garutti tends to take private aspects of his personal daily surroundings and make them public.


year and place of birth: 1948, Galbiate, Italy
whereabouts: Milan, Italy

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Jean-Marc Bustamante

Bustamante is a photographer, painter, sculptor and designer. The majority of his works combine several of these disciplines and are thus hard to categorise. Research into strategies around the site-specific nature of artworks and the way in which a particular place can function – formally, spatially and physically – is a common thread running through his oeuvre. However, Bustamante’s practice is often described as ‘place-sensitive’ rather than ‘site-specific’. His works are discrete and are not altered by the artist to fit a specific exhibition space, but they do change under the influence of the space that directly surrounds them. This means that they have different connotations each time.


year and place of birth: 1952, Toulouse, France
whereabouts: Paris, France

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Dirk Braeckman

After graduating from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent in 1982, Dirk Braeckman established ‘Galerie XYZ’ with his photographer colleagues Carl De Keyzer and Marc Van Roy. The gallery, which was the only one in Ghent ever to focus on international photography, closed its doors in 1989. Braeckman initially focused predominately on (self-)portraits, but in the early nineties his style changed dramatically. His images became increasingly autonomous, taking a distance from photography as a medium and its typically reproducible character. By leaving fully-shot rolls of film untouched for years, the artist detaches his photos from their moment of conception. Thus he collects a rich archive of potential works, from which time and time again he draws new images and reworks existing ones. This repeatedly results in ‘original’ versions of photos which, due to their conceptualised ‘reproducibility’, seem to reduce themselves to almost nothing, as though imploding.


year and place of birth: 1958, Eeklo, Belgium
whereabouts: Ghent, Belgium

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Maurice Blaussyld

Maurice Blaussyld occupies a unique position in contemporary postmodern French art. He makes sculptures, videos, installations and drawings that reject almost every reference to anything external. In contrast to the many artists who charge found objects with new meaning, Blaussyld strips ready-mades of their content. He gives them back their status as ‘indisputable objects’ and places them in a state of non-communication. In this sense, they are related to the ‘still life’ (in French: ‘nature morte’) since their ability to convey meaning is not ‘dead’ but ‘stopped’.


year and place of birth: 1960, Calais, France
whereabouts: Roubaix, France

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Surasi Kusolwong

In recent years, Surasi Kusolwong has built remarkable installations in museums and galleries all over the world, among other things an actual market with stalls, a lottery kiosk and a massage parlour. These room-filling creations, usually arising out of personal memories, often express the artist’s interest in popular culture, but not only that. His main point is that we, the onlookers, should be actively involved. As he emphasises: “No public, no art”.


year and place of birth: 1965, Ayutthaya, Thailand
whereabouts: Bangkok, Thailand

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Ann Veronica Janssens

Since the early 1990s, Belgian artist Ann Veronica Janssens has explored the possibilities of the art of sculpture. She applies intangible phenomena such as light, colour and sound, to develop new forms of perception. In the process she attaches greater importance to the physical-sensory effect of her sculptures than to their actual forms. The atypical, ephemeral materials Janssens uses allow her to manipulate us more easily in sensory and optical terms. The play on space and our gaze has become increasingly important and more refined over the course of her career.


year and place of birth: 1956, Folkestone, United Kingdom
whereabouts: Brussels, Belgium

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Annika Larsson

Over the last twenty years, Annika Larsson has generated a surprisingly coherent oeuvre. Many of her videos revolve around the way people behave in our rigidly defined and highly stratified social world. In her work, trivial actions assume an almost ritual nature and take place in an oppressive atmosphere of domination and suppression. Larsson focuses almost exclusively on the body language of the characters and films the actions they perform meticulously and in fine detail. In doing this she makes frequent use of the visual codes of cinema, including close-ups, zooming in, slow-motion shots and precisely composed framing. In addition, a variety of camera angles succeed one another, though the scenes are never seen in their entirety.


year and place of birth: 1972, Stockholm, Sweden
whereabouts: Berlin, Germany

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Louise Lawler

Louise Lawler uses photography to study the value, meaning and use of art. By photographing artworks in museums and other spaces and situations, she reveals hidden mechanisms in the art world concerning production, distribution, consumption and storage. Without making any judgement, Lawler points out that there is no neutral way of exhibiting art and that the meaning of artworks is determined by the context they are presented and viewed in.


year and place of birth: 1947, New York, USA
whereabouts: New York, USA

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David Hockney

David Hockney is considered one of the most symbolic personages of British pop art in the 1960s. British pop art originated in the 1950s and was characterized by satire focused on mass culture and consumerism. Hockney developed his own figurative style and painted everyday scenes with an uncomplicated, realistic and flat painting approach with vibrant colours. Often aspects of his personal life determined the subjects for his work. His homosexual nature became a theme of his early work and later the lifestyle of the well-to-do American society was likewise often a theme.


year and place of birth: 1937, Bradford, United Kingdom
whereabouts: Bradford, United Kingdom

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Heide Hinrichs

The works of Heide Hinrichs are fragile and subtle. It is not possible to decipher them quickly. They demand time and attention, and invite us to observe them in silence. Tactility is an important starting point. Hinrichs collects all kinds of materials and assigns them a new identity. Or in her own words: "By listening closely, I intend to set them free". Her oeuvre examines the relationship between the body and space, and how it can be depicted. The standpoint we adopt as the observer, determines what we see. When we walk around her work we see ever-changing perspectives. Something that appears fixed is constantly changing.


year and place of birth: 1976, Oldenburg, Germany
whereabouts: Brussels, Belgium

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Jac Leirner

Jac Leirner creates art with everyday items such as stickers, rulers, plastic bags, business cards, bank notes and cigarette paper. She combines them into new configurations arranged by size, colour or shape. Employing formal elegance and humour, Leirner gives the objects meaning and value and links them with social problems in her homeland or her personal life. Through this versatile oeuvre, the artist mainly examines notions of repetition, obsession, addiction and value, at material, economic and artistic levels. After her participation in Documenta IX in 1992, directed by Jan Hoet, Leirner received international acclaim. Today she is one of the most important South American conceptual artists.


year and place of birth: 1961, São Paulo, Brazil
whereabouts: São Paulo, Brazil)

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Bernd Lohaus

The German sculptor Bernd Lohaus trained at the art academy in Düsseldorf from 1963 to 1966, where Joseph Beuys was his mentor. He moved to Antwerp in the mid 1960s. Lohaus was involved in the happenings of Wout Vercammen, Panamarenko and Hugo Heyrman. Between 1966 and 1976, he ran  the ‘Wide White Space’ gallery in Antwerp with his wife, Anny De Decker, and showed the work of James Lee Byars, Joseph Beuys, Carl Andre and Bruce Nauman, amongst others. Lohaus did not focus exclusively on his own work until 1976.  He found all the materials he needed on the banks of the River Scheldt: from heavy wooden beams to scraps of metal and cords. The artist added random words, text fragments and sentences to his sculptures and drawings. In this way, he gave his work a semantic and existential stratification.


year and place of birth: 1940, Düsseldorf, Germany
whereabouts: d. 2010, Antwerp, Belgium

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Karin Hanssen

Karin Hanssen

(b. 1960, Antwerp, Belgium; lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium)

 

In the early ‘90s Karin Hanssen was pivotal in regenerating an increased appreciation for painting. She bases her paintings on photographic and film material from the ‘50s and  ‘60s, regularly incorporating art-historical references. Hanssen views this image “recycling” as a flashback. Her images appear immediately recognizable but nevertheless remain anonymous because the provenance of the source material has been lost. Interpreting Hanssen’s work is hindered by her neutral painting style and because the characters defy identification, combined with the fact that the landscapes are generalized and the period indeterminate.


year and place of birth: 1960, Antwerp, Belgium
whereabouts: Antwerp, Belgium

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David Hammons

David Hammons is one of the most important Afro-American artists of our time. The urban reality of his home base New York and his Afro-American roots are important aspects in his oeuvre. Hammons developed his own vocabulary using symbols from everyday life – often rubbish and banal objects – that he associates with the urbanised Afro-American life. In his installations, videos, drawings, paintings and performances he mixes this personal vocabulary with references to Western art history, which affords many of his works an ironic charge.


year and place of birth: 1943, Springfield, USA
whereabouts: New York, USA

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Mark Manders

Manders originally wanted to become a poet and write a self-portrait, but he quickly came up against the limitations of language. So he dreamt up a ‘self-portrait as a building’, an imaginary construction in which he went on to collect his works, ranging from drawings and spatial installations to monumental sculptures, and present them in ideal conditions. Many of Manders’ installations can be understood as ‘imagined poems’ or ‘poem images’, in which everyday logic has made way for a parallel reality. In terms of mood his installations often lean strongly towards the 19th-century Gothic aesthetic, of which the writer Edgar Allan Poe was a well-known representative.


year and place of birth: 1968, Volkel, The Netherlands
whereabouts: Ronse, Belgium

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Werner Mannaers

Werner Mannaers’ oeuvre has been developing since the 1980s and can be read as a highly personal pictorial investigation. His improvised working method leaves scope for playful associations of motifs, signs and language. Mannaers does not disguise the trial and error involved in the creative process. On the contrary – it is an essential part of his aesthetic. In his drawings this is expressed in the deliberate retention of crossed-out fragments of text. Mannaers peppers his painting with a range of art historical references, which he subsequently links to philosophical quotes or elements from popular culture. Through this ‘sampling’ technique, a multi-layered context is created that allows the artist to soften the often existential subject matter with irony and self-mockery.


year and place of birth: 1954, Schoten, Belgium
whereabouts: Antwerp, Belgium

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András Halász

As a student András Halász called together several avant-garde artists to take a stand against the enforced communism. They opposed the artistic limitations that the regime had thrust upon them. Halász displayed his work in private houses, community centres and alternative clubs. He experimented with different art forms such as photograms, conceptual work and performances. In 1978 he left Hungary and from then on worked frequently both in Paris and New York, thus escaping the restriction of artistic activities in his homeland. Since 1990, the artist has been able to visit his native country legally and since 2005 has been living once again in Budapest, where he teaches at the University of Fine Arts.


year and place of birth: 1946, Budapest, Hungary
whereabouts: Budapest, Hungary

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Danny Matthys

Over the years, Danny Matthys has harnessed a variety of media to lend form to his lifelong study of human perception. With the support of Karel Geirlandt, Matthys rose to fame in the 1960s as a Belgian pioneer of photo and video art. In the 1970s, he emerged as a conceptual artist and received international recognition. Following this period, in which he chiefly created conceptual work, Matthys turned to more traditional disciplines, such as assemblage, collage and painting. Shortly after participating in Jan Hoet’s ‘Chambres d’Amis’ in 1986, the artist became fascinated by Australia and aboriginal art. Since 2000, Danny and (his wife) Danielle Matthys have been operating from Australia as an artistic duo. In 2017, the conceptual photographic work ‘Brabantdam 59, Downstairs-Upstairs’ (1975) was exhibited at the Fridericianum in Kassel during ‘Documenta 14’.


year and place of birth: 1947, Zottegem, Belgium
whereabouts: Gentbrugge, Belgium

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Raymond Hains

“Traditional resources have been exhausted. The only possible reaction is to abolish the painting." These words from 1960 originate from the first ‘Manifeste du Nouveau Réalisme’, written by the art critic Pierre Restany. The French artist Raymond Hains – along with Yves Klein and Daniel Spoerri – was one of the eleven signatories. The new 'realists' viewed the world as a painting. Since 1957, Hains had taken posters glued on top of one another, from the street scene, removed their communicative function in his studio and presented the remaining compositions in an artistic context. He did not create collages, but 'décollages'. Hains flirted with Pop Art for a while in the late Sixties with his enlarged versions of, for example, matchboxes. In 1997, his oeuvre was honoured with the Kurt Schwitters Prize.


year and place of birth: 1926, Saint-Brieuc, France
whereabouts: d. 2005, Paris, France

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Bjarne Melgaard

Bjarne Melgaard grew up in Oslo, where he studied visual arts. In the 90s he broke into the art world limelight with neo-expressionist work permeated by desire and fear. He depicts a chaotic world of sado-masochism, drugs, homosexuality and perverse violence, in which words, paintings, drawings and sculptures form installations that immerse us in an utterly overwhelming experience. In these installations Melgaard presents himself as an outsider and homosexual. Since 2009 he has been living and working in New York and although he no longer fits the romantic image of the lonely artist in his studio, his oeuvre remains an obsessive, incessant stream of ideas about social exclusion and the need for individual freedom.


year and place of birth: 1967, Sydney, Australia
whereabouts: New York, USA

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Henri Michaux

The oeuvre of painter, writer and poet Henri Michaux is generally associated with informal art. This is a collective term for post-war abstract art movements in which artists sought out and employed their ‘pure’, intuitive and spontaneous creative impulses. During his travels through Asia, Michaux became acquainted with Eastern culture and developed an interest in calligraphy. This also led to a predilection for East Indian ink. Finding it impossible to communicate what he wanted to say via language, the poet began to paint. A breakthrough came in 1948 – a few years after the tragic death of his wife – when he sought refuge in hallucinogenic substances. In 1978, Henri Michaux was given prestigious retrospective exhibitions at the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.


year and place of birth: 1899, Namur, Belgium
whereabouts: d. 1984, Paris, France

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Robert Gober

Robert Gober created his first sculptures in the late Seventies: meticulously accurate doll’s houses, entirely hand-made, even the wallpaper. This originated from his fascination with what a 'house' symbolises. In the Eighties, Gober, who came out as gay relatively early, supported the actions of the Aids Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP). His 'sinks' from this period stand for 'the impossibility of cleansing yourself'. Gober subsequently focused on other details associated with the home: from beds and doors to drains. He makes them by hand, but due to the high degree of precision he applies, his imitations are virtually indistinguishable from their industrially produced 'models'. Gober's hyper-realistic reproduction evokes a peculiar feeling.


year and place of birth: 1954, Wallingford, USA
whereabouts: New York, USA

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Oscar Murillo

Oscar Murillo's artistic career was launched less than ten years ago. He was discovered at an exhibition in Miami in 2012, the year he completed his studies. It was not long before his works were selling for several hundred thousands of dollars. To the artist's frustration, the spectacular figures detracted from the actual work, which is much more complex and in which other, less tradable values such as experimentation, process and community building take precedence. Murillo's solo exhibitions, which are usually accompanied by performances, are social statements. His work is about displacement – he emigrated from Columbia to the United Kingdom as a child –and makes connections between diverse worlds. Murillo aims to expose the feelings surrounding displacement and to ultimately overcome them through community building.


year and place of birth: 1986, La Paila, Colombia
whereabouts: London, United Kingdom

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Adrian Ghenie

In the Romanian city of Cluj, a special generation of artists was formed around the turn of the century. Adrian Ghenie became the most influential driver of this group of young painters who denounced the dark past of their country. In his tactile paintings, Ghenie conveys a contemporary vision of major political stories and universal themes such as the abuse of power and oppression, but he also casts light on the individual human struggle. He processes elements from the huge image reservoir of our collective memory into artistic material but employs an alternative setting. Cogitating figures and events that both fascinate and haunt him, he creates a metamorphosis between fact and fiction, and thereby shows that history can be interpreted in more than one way.


year and place of birth: 1977, Baia Mare, Romania
whereabouts: Cluj, Romania and Berlin, Germany

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Bruce Nauman

Bruce Nauman is one of the most influential post-war artists. In 2009, he was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. Nauman made his debut as a performance artist in the mid-1960s but his oeuvre is now extremely diverse, including videos, films, installations, drawings, sound compositions, sculptures, graphics, photography and neon sculptures. Yet Nauman always describes himself as a sculptor. This can be explained by the fact that he considers the medium to be of secondary importance in his work. Nauman does not regard an artwork as a finished product. Rather, it is an activity or process in which we, the viewers, are also involved.


year and place of birth: 1941, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
whereabouts: Galisteo, New Mexico, USA

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Joris Ghekiere

“It’s just a painting”. Irony and the ability to put things into perspective came naturally to Joris Ghekiere. What he did take seriously, however, was his lifelong research into the possibilities of painting and the status of the image in our society. With his virtuoso painting style and mastery of materials, Ghekiere liked to lead us up the garden path. Because his images are usually entirely artificial and often contain a ‘wrong’ interpretation of classical ideals of beauty. Motifs are a common thread running through this pseudo-aesthetic: anything from plants, webcam girls and folk dancing to abstract patterns. Ghekiere also critically questioned the importance of the authenticity of his technical mastery by experimenting radically with materials and his working method.


year and place of birth: 1955, Kortrijk, Belgium
whereabouts: d. 2016, Klein-Willebroek, Belgium

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Carsten Nicolai

Carsten Nicolai connects art with science in his visual work. Under various pseudonyms, he is also active as a sound artist, sometimes in collaboration with others. Nicolai regards sound as something that can be visualized and take spatial shape in terms of images, installations and compositions of mixed art forms. He combines different sensory perceptions and makes them perceptible to both ear and eye. The connection between art, music and science is a common thread in both his visual and sound artistic endeavours.


year and place of birth: 1965, Karl-Marx-Stadt, Germany
whereabouts: Berlin and Chemnitz, Germany

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Sophie Nys

Sophie Nys’ oeuvre consists of photographs, videos, sculptures and drawings. Out of her interest in philosophy, (art) history and the fabric of society, Nys questions both the law of cause and effect and  the tension between transience and continuity. In a playful and humorous way, she combines a minimal visual language with a conceptual working method. Time and time again, Nys departs from intuitive and associative research into specific contexts or personal experiences. By removing objects and images from their everyday context, transforming and thus redefining them, she not only reveals and undermines the underlying mechanisms of the art world, but also invites reflection.


year and place of birth: 1974, Borgerhout, Belgium
whereabouts: Zurich, Switzerland and Brussels, Belgium

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Oswald Oberhuber

For the past seventy years, in addition to working as a visual artist, Oswald Oberhuber has been a gallerist, editor, professor, rector and exhibition maker. This versatility is also reflected in his artistic practice. His refusal to limit himself to a single artistic discipline or to develop his own style lies at the heart of the Austrian’s unruly oeuvre. Oberhuber was already alternating abstract sculpture with figurative painting in the 1950s and 60s. He consciously experimented with diverse forms of artistic expression in order to allow his art to evolve. Oberhuber was given a solo exhibition at S.M.A.K. in 1984. Two years later, he also participated in Jan Hoet’s cutting-edge exhibition ‘Chambres d’Amis’ with ‘Eine Chambre d’Amis für Victor Servranckx’.


year and place of birth: 1931, Meran, Italy
whereabouts: Vienna, Austria

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Jef Geys

To Jef Geys art did not exist independently but was intertwined with everyday life, from 'his' village of Balen to the whole wide world. Geys resolutely opted for the anti-elitist side of art. In 1971, he proposed blowing up the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp at the end of his solo exhibition held at the very same museum. As of 1957, he developed art from his 'archive of the everyday', a storage space of traces of what had happened in his life and immediate environment. This grew into a widespread tangle of associations. At regular intervals the artist distilled them to produce new syntheses from which he questioned fixed patterns of thought about art and life. Since 1969, Jef Geys produced an edition of the publication ‘Kempens Informatieblad’ and/or ‘Kempens Informatieboek’ for each of his exhibitions. This newspaper was originally a local publication that disseminated local news. It also acquired an artistic function after Geys took it over. The newspaper played an essential role within the oeuvre of the artist as a democratic form of exhibition catalogue.


year and place of birth: 1934, Leopoldsburg, Belgium
whereabouts: +2018, Balen, Belgium

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Saskia Olde Wolbers

One of the motifs in the work of Saskia Olde Wolbers is spaces that deviate from normal environments. They often appear to be closed virtual worlds, a setting for endless wandering. Yet the opposite is true. Recognisable objects and materials appear occasionally, leading one to suspect that Olde Wolbers’ work is more closely related to reality than would appear at first sight. Unlike the current culture of films and games, for which the most unimaginable dream landscapes are designed digitally, the artist creates the sets for her videos by hand. Nevertheless, these ingenious models, in which she films her videos using a miniature camera, evoke a world like science fiction.


year and place of birth: 1971, Breda, The Netherlands
whereabouts: London, United Kingdom

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Tatjana Gerhard

Tatjana Gerhard made the human figure the central point in her paintings. Her work is recognizable yet simultaneously alienating: it attracts and repels. The artist is not interested in the perfect, pleasant exterior but in what lies beneath it. What is going on in our heads? And why do we behave differently according to the context? Oil paint is the perfect medium for Gerhard to address these questions. Her work is created completely spontaneously, without knowing where it will lead. Sometimes her paintings are playful and full of fun: sometimes they have the aura of a nightmare.


year and place of birth: 1974, Zurich, Switzerland
whereabouts: Ghent, Belgium

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Henrik Olesen

The artistic projects of conceptual artist Olesen are based on well-founded research and cover a wide range of subjects, such as legislation, natural sciences and history. He links these subjects to art historical facts and gives them form by means of posters, flyers, text and collages, sculptures made from found objects and spatial interventions. Since the mid-1990s, Henrik Olesen has been researching homophobia and racism within the patriarchal logic of European democracy.


year and place of birth: 1967, Esbjerg, Denmark
whereabouts: Berlin, Germany

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Mekhitar Garabedian

Mekhitar Garabedian, who has lived in Ghent since his youth, explores the position of the individual and the development of his/her identity in our society shaped by migration. Using very diverse media he examines how the split that migration creates continues to determine the present and how, accordingly, 'language' forms the position and the psyche of the migrant. Garabedian reflects on the conceptual possibilities of the artwork. His work is layered, as is his personal history as a migrant. It contains many references to literature, music, philosophy and visual art.


year and place of birth: 1977, Aleppo, Syria
whereabouts: Ghent, Belgium

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Meret Oppenheim

Meret Oppenheim is regarded as one of the most important female artists of the 20th century. Her artistic production was extremely versatile and included design, collage, sculpture, literature, photography and painting. As a key figure within the Surrealist movement, Oppenheim became famous for her playful yet alienating assemblages in which she juxtaposed everyday objects, often drawn from the domestic sphere. Fascinated by the analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung and inspired by dreams and myths, Oppenheim addressed themes such as metamorphosis, the cosmic and the supernatural and explored the tension between life and death. She often alluded to the female identity and sexuality.


year and place of birth: 1913, Berlin, Germany
whereabouts: d.1985, Basel, Switzerland

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Manfred Pernice

Sculptor Manfred Pernice is recognized for installations in which he brings together his architectonic sculptures. He derives the scale, material, aesthetics and methodology from architecture. Pernice invokes association. Nowhere do we get the feeling that his installations are complete or definitive. Shapes, objects and materials coalesce into one spatial experience that the artist himself describes as a 'mush'. His art is a manifestation of reality and gives substance to diverse ideologies and global concepts. However, he regularly leaves his installations open to interpretation.


year and place of birth: 1963, Hildesheim, Germany
whereabouts: Berlin, Germany

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Urs Pfannenmüller

Urs Pfannenmüller makes paintings, drawings, installations and projects in the public space. His view of the world focuses on the periphery, or what he himself calls ‘the frayed edges of cities and landscapes’, places that can be found on the edge of every major city. In his view, the word ‘periphery’ also applies to the marginal position of artists in society. In this sense, that spot in the periphery does not have to be negative. It can also be a sanctuary, a place where artists and others can develop new visions that run counter to the prevailing values and norms.


year and place of birth: 1943, Basel, Switzerland
whereabouts: The Hague, the Netherlands

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Nicolas Provost

Nicolas Provost is an artist, photographer and film-maker. In his video works, photos and films he uses the visual idiom of the cinema to influence and manipulate the prevailing interpretation of images and stories. Provost appeals to our collective film memory and, almost like a sculptor, misleads it by remoulding aspects such as time, visual codes and form into new storylines that link visual art to cinema. In so doing, Provost plays on the boundary between fiction and reality, so that his works come across as both recognisable and odd and challenge our expectations in an aesthetic game of tension, mystery and narrative abstraction.


year and place of birth: 1969, Ronse, Belgium
whereabouts: New York, USA

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Royden Rabinowitch

In Royden Rabinowitch’s early period, the relationship of his sculptures to the viewer and the space played a central role. Although his work may appear to be linked to it, the artist denies any affinity with the minimal art of the 1960s and 70s. He emphasises that his fascination for the contrast between concrete space on the one hand, and abstract or geometric space on the other, was a personal development that is independent of any art historical trend. In 1982, Rabinowitch made the acquaintance of Jan Hoet. Two years later, the sculptor was given a solo exhibition at S.M.A.K. Rabinowitch’s friendship with Hoet and his fascination with the Van Eyck brothers’ ‘Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ have meant that the Canadian has lived and worked in Ghent on a part-time basis since 2005.


year and place of birth: 1943, Toronto, Canada
whereabouts: Ghent, Belgium

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Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter is considered one of the most important artists after WWII. His oeuvre is unique and cannot be classified. In the catalogue compiled by the artist himself, Richter divides his body of work into two major groups: abstract paintings and paintings based  either on his own photographs or photographs he discovered produced by others. Around the end of the 60s, Richter began to reproduce paintings based upon both black and white and colour photographs. Later his work became more lyrical and abstract in shades of grey or mixed colours, where he applied the paint in a variety of ways.


year and place of birth: 1932, Dresden, Germany
whereabouts: Cologne, Germany

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Meggy Rustamova

Meggy Rustamova’s roots lie in Georgia, but she has lived in Belgium since the mid-1990s, when she was in her early teens. In the last few years she has made an impression with videos, performances and photographic works that take both language and image as their subject. Rustamova’s work lies on the boundary between fiction and reality and in most cases starts out from a personal or historical story. Its characteristic features are subtle humour, a gently melancholy undertone and sometimes an absurd exuberance.


year and place of birth: 1985, Tbilisi, Georgia
whereabouts: Brussels and Sint-Niklaas, Belgium

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Sam Durant

Sam Durant makes photographs, sculptures, drawings and installations. His oeuvre touches on a wide variety of themes, ranging from the Civil Rights Movement, to rock music, to modernism. All his works have a historical, social, political or art historical dimension. They draw attention to themes that relate to the link between art, culture and politics.


year and place of birth: 1961, Seattle, USA
whereabouts: Los Angeles, USA

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Marlene Dumas

The Dutch artist Marlene Dumas creates collages, drawings and paintings and also writes poems, essays and statements about her work. She belongs to the select group of painters who revived figurative painting in the 80s and 90s. Dumas mainly makes portraits of human figures, which she executes in a drawing-like, expressionistic style, in sombre shades and with strong contrasts between light and dark. Most of the portraits depict women and are based on mass-media photographs or her own Polaroids. Dumas’ work is firmly rooted within her personal milieu and experiences, and deals with such charged themes as sexuality, love, eroticism, death and guilt. She often refers to art history, popular culture and current events.


year and place of birth: 1953, Cape Town, South Africa
whereabouts: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Rein Dufait

Rein Dufait's youthful oeuvre explores the grey zone between nature and culture. In this, the creation and growth processes are necessary steps to transform an idea into a work. Although they are sometimes constructed from heavy cumbersome materials, Dufait's organic works are fragile and transient. They are not static but are evolving and make us aware that time is passing. Alongside this and in an outside space, the artist creates works that undergo a metamorphosis and gradually merge into their surroundings.


year and place of birth: 1990, Ostend, Belgium
whereabouts: Ostend, Belgium

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Peter Downsbrough

Since 1989 the American artist-architect Peter Downsbrough has been living and working in Brussels. In his study of the relationship between space and language he has broadened the spectrum of minimal and conceptual art. Using a much-simplified visual language, consisting of black letters and lines, he makes us aware of perspective in interior and exterior spaces. His visual language permeates installations, photographs, drawings, adapted postcards and artists’ books.


year and place of birth: 1940, New Brunswick , USA
whereabouts: Brussels, Belgium

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Jim Dine

In 1959 Jim Dine settled in New York, where he and other artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Allan Kaprow and John Cage developed the ‘happening’, a predecessor of performance art. In parallel with his happenings, he did paintings into which he incorporated concrete objects; these were his ‘combine paintings’. Although their highly graphic style, vivid colours and simple, popular visual elements often led to their being associated with Pop Art, Dine saw his work on canvas more as a continuation of Robert Rauschenberg’s collages and the work of Jasper Johns and the neo-dadaists. Unlike Pop Art, which is intended to represent modern society, Dine made use of personal images from his everyday surroundings.


year and place of birth: 1935, Cincinnati, USA
whereabouts: Paris, France, New York and Walla Walla, USA

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Johan De Wilde

Since the mid-nineties, Johan De Wilde has been making pencil drawings. In the periphery of this, he also creates prints, photo series, graphic art, collages and texts. His meticulous, labour-intensive style is the antithesis to the fast pace of life and the transience of our overly saturated digital visual culture. De Wilde’s drawings are built up like paintings: layer upon layer. They consist of horizontal and vertical lines between which the suggestion of shapes or numbers is interwoven. With graphite and coloured pencils, the artist chiefly draws on archival cardboard. He usually works in A4 format because he wants his drawings to be as universal as possible; this is quite simply the most commonly used paper size. De Wilde’s oeuvre is never straightforward. His images are more likely to trigger our associative powers than to impose well-defined meanings.


year and place of birth: 1964, Zele, Belgium
whereabouts: Ghent, Belgium

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Nikolaas Demoen

In his drawings, sculptures, collages, poems and film installations Nikolaas Demoen explores the boundary between human, often artistic actions and their end result, which may or may not be visible. In one of his videos we see the artist walk through his studio taking long strides. He isn’t heading anywhere, but there is the unspoken promise that something will happen. Demoen plays the role of the artist and the artistic process, a quest during which he sometimes vanishes behind serene, poetic objects.


year and place of birth: 1965, Ghent, Belgium
whereabouts: Ghent, Belgium

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