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, USA
whereabouts: Galisteo, 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: d. 2018, Genk, 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: 1947, 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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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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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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Wim Delvoye

With a number of scatological pieces, such as the notorious ‘Cloaca’ (2000), Wim Delvoye was able to profile himself as one of the most controversial artists of his generation. The artist's model which he employed to do so, is that of the 'super'-artist: the businessman-entrepreneur that remains firmly in control. Characteristic of these types of artists is that they respond like no other to current political, economic and cultural models, and in particular to the mechanisms that drive the art world and the art market. At the same time they respond quickly via their multimedia work to corny assertions about the artistic practice and artwork. Delvoye presents himself as an autodidact who, assisted by experts and experienced craftsmen, continuously expands his knowledge of new techniques and tests their limits.


year and place of birth: 1965, Wervik, Belgium
whereabouts: Gentbrugge, Belgium

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Luc Deleu

The architect, urbanist and artist Luc Deleu sees architecture as a form of visual, sculptural and political thinking concerning the relationship between public and private space. In 1970 he founded ‘T.O.P. office’: a firm for the study of urban development and architecture. The firm’s motivation and goal were to question architecture and urban design and their position and function in society. Deleu soon became convinced that in many respects our cities would be improved if we built less. In his view, the rapid evolution of communication and mobility should make it possible to lead a more nomadic life again. His initial projects therefore emphasised the wealth of potential of mobility as against the rigid immobility of physical buildings. They argued against the privilege that immovable property enjoys as places to live and work. Together with his wife Laurette Gillemot (1946) and a few members of staff, Deleu is still generating visionary ideas on urbanisation, sometimes with a utopian tendency, which respond inventively to the ecological, economic, cultural, social, geographic and administrative-political reality and future.


year and place of birth: 1944, Duffel, Belgium
whereabouts: Antwerp, Belgium

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Raoul De Keyser

Raoul De Keyser is considered to be the discrete master among Belgian painters of the past fifty years. His oeuvre is idiosyncratic and tactile, consistently process-based and created without any obvious plan. In his early work he experimented with the fundamentals of painting: colour, paint and canvas. His visual idiom later became more fluid and new motifs emerged. The artist enjoyed exploring the field of tension between reality and abstraction. Painting was a game to him, a study of the possibilities painting offered. He mainly painted small, often rather curious canvases. Playful and serious, seductive and unruly.


year and place of birth: 1930, Deinze, Belgium
whereabouts: d. 2012, Deinze, Belgium

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Christoph Fink

Christoph Fink has been travelling since the beginning of the 1990s as part of his artistic endeavours. He keeps very precise records of these journeys (notes, photos, sound recordings), which he works into drawings, timelines, graphs, (wire) sculptures, slideshows and soundscapes. Fink's work demonstrates how complex the movements of the individual human being, or even more of humanity, in time and space are. In 2000 he bundled together objective recordings with subjective observations in his ’atlas of movements’. These movements take on a more social dynamic in his later work. In this vein Fink analyzes data about the movements of aircraft, historical facts about a city and historical periods relating to the earth, which he displays on ceramic discs.


year and place of birth: 1963, Ghent, Belgium
whereabouts: Brussels, Belgium

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Belu-Simion Fainaru

Belu-Simion Fainaru emigrated to Israel in 1973: currently he lives and works both in Haifa (Israel) and Antwerp. His work is profoundly influenced by his emigration. As an artist and curator he broaches political and social issues such that his work examines the Jewish-Romanian cultural history, the Hebrew language, and philosophical and mystical questions concerning identity and territory. In this, Fainaru plays off contrasts one against the other, such as past and present, sacred and secular, or body and soul. In expressive terms his ideas are interpreted through sculptures and installations as well as videos.


year and place of birth: 1959, Bucharest, Romania
whereabouts: Haifa, Israel and Antwerp, Belgium

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Koenraad Dedobbeleer

Koenraad Dedobbeleer experiments with a variety of media. For the last ten years he has been creating work that combines everyday materials. Many of his sculptures and installations examine the shifts of meaning that occur as a result of the way something is exhibited. In his opinion, the significance of an object depends substantially on the way it is presented and in which context. He therefore considers, among other elements, that the space in which something is shown plays a crucial role. His works respond to these spaces and in their turn the spaces dictate the meaning of the work.


year and place of birth: 1975, Halle, Belgium
whereabouts: Brussels, Belgium

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Jan Fabre

It was through his uncle that the young Fabre learnt about the work of the French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre, who became one of his personal heroes. In the late 1970s Fabre gave small-scale performances. He also did insect and blood drawings, made theoretical models and films of his short actions. Marcel Duchamp is one of his sources of inspiration. In about 1975 Fabre started writing plays, first as an extension of performance art, and later focusing on ‘the falsehood of theatre’. In the 1980s he made his international breakthrough with drawings in and objects coloured with blue ballpoint. In the 1990s his insect drawings evolved into sculptures. In 2002 Fabre created the work ‘Heaven of Delight’ on a ceiling in the Royal Palace in Brussels using scarab wing-cases. In between times he also designs iconic sculptures for public spaces.


year and place of birth: 1958, Antwerp, Belgium
whereabouts: Antwerp, Belgium

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Thierry De Cordier

Thierry De Cordier is a philosopher, author and visual artist. He describes himself as romantic and melancholic. His work emanates from his personal quest: he strives to understand his own being and being human. ‘Back to nature' is (also) De Cordier's motto. There he is able to distance himself from our consumer society and there he tries to escape it. For a long time his garden represented the ultimate place where he found peace to reflect and work, in harmony with nature. He later went to live by the sea. Escaping the world and loneliness are recurring elements in De Cordier's dark sculptures, drawings and paintings.


year and place of birth: 1954, Oudenaarde, Belgium
whereabouts: Alpujarras, Spain

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Joana Escoval

The delicate works of Joana Escoval resemble remnants from the pre-industrial past or objects from the distant future. Her sculptures of earthenware and metal and her installations with moss, feathers, stones, seashells and tropical leaves blur the boundary between culture and nature. Inspired by nature’s motifs, alchemy and cultures such as that of the American Navajo, her creations refer to ritual implements and transitional places. They have the momentum of conductors or a current of energy that interweave form and content, living and dead matter, the concrete and the spiritual, the visible and the invisible. In Escoval's world nothing is decreed, everything is entwined and connected.


year and place of birth: 1982, Lisbon, Portugal
whereabouts: Lisbon, Portugal

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Berlinde De Bruyckere

Berlinde De Bruyckere’s work is figurative and therefore very recognisable, but underneath this first layer lies a powerful, poetic visual language. In search of a translation of the vulnerable moment when two beings are one, De Bruyckere unites opposites such as life and death, love and suffering, and cruelty and tenderness within one image. Her vocabulary includes blankets, equine anatomy, distorted bodies and antlers in wax. The shapes and materials with which she works have been consistently chosen for their metaphorical power. Berlinde De Bruyckere is a key figure within the contemporary art landscape in Belgium but has also achieved international recognition for her unique oeuvre.


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

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Anri Sala

Anri Sala points out to us that there is no such thing as a political reality, nor any unambiguous image by which to portray it. He converts personal experiences into stories and images – including films, sculptures and installations – and makes use of their power to connect past with present.


year and place of birth: 1974, Tirana, Albania
whereabouts: Berlin, Germany

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Wilhelm Sasnal

Wilhelm Sasnal is one of the most important painters of his generation. As a student he was a member of a painters' collective that delivered ironic commentary about academicism in the art of painting. This artistic mentality laid the foundations for the stylistic diversity in Sasnal's later painting and video work. Since leaving the collective in 2001, Sasnal has become, in his own words, 'a more realistic painter' and 'a more engaged artist'. He might still focus on his everyday environment, but in a less ironic manner. When designing his exhibitions he applies as much stylistic diversity as he does in his artistic work itself; he appears to highlight a different aspect of his oeuvre in each new exhibition.


year and place of birth: 1972, Tarnów, Poland
whereabouts: Krakow, Poland

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Franky D.C

Franky D.C does not create new images but instead recovers and edits existing images. With this approach he not only brings into question the unique authorship, but also the originality of the artwork. D.C's probing takes place principally during his daily city walks, a kind of quest through neighbourhoods in constant change. He captures this rumination process in photographic and film material and stores it in an archive.


year and place of birth: 1957, Izegem, Belgium
whereabouts: Brussels, Belgium

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Michael E. Smith

Michael E. Smith’s work consists mainly of videos and sculptures made from rubbish, corpses, junk and other remnants of our consumer society. The artist recovers found (visual) material, isolates natural products and man-made things from their original contexts, makes interventions and, in so doing, shifts their meaning and/or function. Smith’s absurd, alienating, and sometimes even morbid assemblages spring from his reflections upon the social, economic and ecological challenges of the 21st century. In this sense, his artistic practice can be seen as an archaeology of contemporary humanity that looks at both the present and the past.


year and place of birth: 1977, Detroit, USA
whereabouts: Rhode Island, USA

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Nedko Solakov

Nedko Solakov plays with the symbols of art and of the art world, but he is also critical of its context within society. He links his personal experiences as a Bulgarian artist in the ‘old’ communist system with typical western, capitalistic artistic strategies. Ironical-humorous texts mostly form the underlying impulse for his drawings and installations. They often convey an absurd tone and thus undermine the plausible conceptual seriousness of his work. In his deceptively simple narratives and drawings, drenched in a slightly melancholy shrewdness, Solakov pokes fun at himself, his artistry and the entire art world.


year and place of birth: 1957, Cherven Briag, Bulgaria
whereabouts: Sofia, Bulgaria

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N. Dash

The oeuvre of the photographer and sculpture-painter N. Dash is based on the daily repetition of a kind of ritual. For over ten years she has been photographing pieces of cloth, which she always carries around with her and continuously caresses, rips and kneads as if it is an obsession of sorts. This endless contact transforms the pieces into a tangle of loose ends and knots, resembling 'unstable, changing sculptures'. By producing greatly enlarged photographs of them, independent artworks emerge from this continuous 'creative process'. In her arte povera-related 'sculpture-paintings' Dash also handles pre-industrial, organic materials such as jute, linen, rope, graphite, pigment and loam in an almost ritualistic manner. She 'kneads' them 'into' their carrier, e.g. linen painter's canvas, until geometric-abstract sculptures form.


year and place of birth: 1980, Miami Beach, USA
whereabouts: New York, USA

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Leo Copers

“A new idea every day.” With this pronouncement, made towards the end of the 1960s, Leo Copers distanced himself from his conceptual contemporaries. For Copers it is not the consistency of ideas that is central, but rather their unpredictable volatility. In contrast to conceptual artists, he does not believe that the creation of an artwork ends with the discovery of a new idea. He regards its material elaboration as essential. Copers is known for his critical and often ironic commentary on the art world. Assemblages of everyday objects are a common thread running throughout his oeuvre. By combining these in a surprising way and barely altering their context, Copers engenders an alienating effect and creates new, provocative meanings.


year and place of birth: 1947, Ghent, Belgium
whereabouts: Wetteren, Belgium

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Bart Stolle

In his artistic practice Bart Stolle combines animated film with painting, drawing, sculpture and sound. Since his début, he has connected his artworks under the title ‘Low Fixed Media Show’: a fictional advertising agency for the artist and his work on the one hand, and an artistic alternative firm that specialises in entertainment on the other. In our fast-paced time and reality, in which our empathetic and creative capacities groan under the burden of the endless stream of digital stimuli, Stolle opts for an artistic practice that encompasses analogue as well as digital elements, and in which the slow pace inherent to the practice of an artisan craft plays a key role.


year and place of birth: 1974, Eeklo, Belgium
whereabouts: Ghent, Belgium

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Chuck Close

The American Chuck Close is one of the pioneers of photorealism. This art movement, which became popular in the late Sixties, used photography as the basis to create hyperrealistic images in other media, including painting and graphic media. Close became known for his larger than life portraits and self-portraits created using the most diverse techniques. In each case he began dividing up the photograph by means of a grid, which served as the starting point. He subsequently reproduced an enlarged format of the image square by square on the canvas. The grid gradually disappeared over the course of the creative process. The resulting portraits are 'more than realistic' and virtually indistinguishable from photographic portraits.


year and place of birth: 1940, Monroe, USA
whereabouts: New York, USA

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Nina Canell

Nina Canell’s sculptures are anything but static or finished. Instead, they explore the dynamic and inexhaustible potential of the materials from which they are made. Canell’s visual world consists of combinations of concrete objects and immaterial substances, which tend to be altered by unseen energetic forces. Her sculptures change colour, evolve and/or become mobile under the influence of processes such as heating, evaporation, electrical impulses, magnetism and exposure to fluctuations in temperature or moisture. Canell’s work is often described as a kind of contemporary alchemy. Aesthetically, it corresponds with Arte Povera, Minimalism, and the pseudo-scientific pleasure in experimentation taken by artists such as Marcel Duchamp.


year and place of birth: 1979, Växjö, Zweden
whereabouts: Berlin, Germany

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Tove Storch

Tove Storch explores the complex relationship between material, form and colour within the medium of sculpture. In doing so she focuses intensely on the relationship between her work and the space in which it is presented. In general, Storch seeks ways to balance contrasts. She combines soft, fragile silk with hard metal, delicate sensuality with cool, sleek minimalism, and solid weight with the lightness of wafer-thin textile. In 2013, Storch's solo exhibition was shown in the ‘KunstNu’ hall at S.M.A.K.


year and place of birth: 1981, Denmark
whereabouts: Copenhagen, Denmark

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Walter Swennen

Although Swennen always had a love-hate relationship with (painting) art, he was already artistically active in his parental home in the late 1960s. He made rather absurdist paintings and objects bordering on Dadaism. However, it took until the early ‘80s before he actually appeared on the art scene. In the last thirty-odd years Swennen has developed a very heterogeneous artistic methodology, experimenting with various substrates and all kinds of painterly motifs and styles, whether or not in combination with word and language constructions. When speaking about painting, Swennen increasingly saw himself as a searching orator and 'intuitive theoretician'. His unwavering exploratory mentality, based on the assumption that everything is meaningless, makes Swennen one of the most striking painters of his generation.


year and place of birth: 1946, Brussels, Belgium
whereabouts: Brussels, Belgium)

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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: 1967, Yaoundé, Cameroon
whereabouts: 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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Robert Therrien

In the 1980s and 1990s, Robert Therrien examined the so-called 'ready-made' objects and the way they were viewed in post-modern sculpture. His early sculptures breathe echoes of Pop Art and Minimalism, but because of their domestic aesthetics and their limited size range they remained 'on a human scale'. From the nineties on, Therrien began scaling up his 'household sculptures', embodying them with a monumental aura of alienation. Therrien's enlargements of everyday objects had a somewhat similar effect to the imposing sculpture of totalitarian regimes, but provided a critical commentary on western people, who had become slaves to their daily routine, while totalitarian regimes often benefit from routine. Therrien's sculptures symbolize the underlying drama of our banal but universal existence.


year and place of birth: 1947, Chicago, USA
whereabouts: Los Angeles, USA

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Kathe Burkhart

Kathe Burkhart makes videos, collages, photos, performances and paintings. She teaches at various art schools and also writes haikus, novels and art criticism. Her practice is influenced by popular culture, conceptual art and the artistic strategies of appropriation. Burkhart is a pivotal figure in the ‘bad girl’ art movement and has focused on the female image since the early 1980s. In the wake of the first feminist media and art criticism, she deals with themes like sexuality and gender identity. In so doing, she mixes fiction with non-fiction, word with image, and political subjects with personal themes. This is partly why her oeuvre contains so many allusions and intimate autobiographical elements.


year and place of birth: 1958, Martinsburg, USA
whereabouts: New York, USA

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Sven ‘t Jolle

Sven 't Jolle creates tragicomical sculptures, works on paper and installations. The artist’s socio-political commitment at the core of his work results in a critical, humorous oeuvre. The artist meticulously removes superfluous details from any allusions to history, politics and social events and then incorporates them into his work. Some of his assemblages refer to almost forgotten artisanal techniques; this conscious link strengthens Jolle’s social message.


year and place of birth: 1966, Antwerp, Belgium
whereabouts: Melbourne, Australia

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Narcisse Tordoir & Vincent Geyskens

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: Narcisse Tordoir: 1954 / Vincent Geyskens: 1972, Narcisse Tordoir: Mechelen, Belgium / Vincent Geyskens: Lier, Belgium
whereabouts: Narcisse Tordoir: Antwerp, Belgium / Vincent Geyskens: Brussels, Belgium

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Luc Tuymans

In 1992, Jan Hoet invited Luc Tuymans to take part in Documenta IX. At the time the painter had already made something of a name for himself in Belgium, but participating in the exhibition in Kassel, organised every five years, also resulted in Tuymans' big break on the international scene. Since then he is considered to be one of the most pioneering Belgian artists, and as one of the important representatives of 'New European Painting'. His work is exhibited all over the world.


year and place of birth: 1958, Mortsel, Belgium
whereabouts: Antwerp, Belgium

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Adam Vačkář

Adam Vačkář focuses on current societal and social topics. His conceptually-oriented oeuvre is extremely varied in both form and content. ‘The Indefinite Continued Progress of Existence and Events…’ shows the artist’s interest in elusive and changeable phenomena such as time.


year and place of birth: 1979, Prague, Czech Republic
whereabouts: Prague, Czech Republic

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Englebert Van Anderlecht

Englebert Van Anderlecht was not a member of ‘La Jeune Peinture Belge’, but his post-war quest to break free of painting was close to what this group had in mind. Encouraged by the painter Serge Vandercam and the poet Jean Dypréau, Van Anderlecht devoted himself from the beginning of the 1950s to the representation of deep primal passions. His aim was to revive a collective sensitivity and to express an age-old universe from which he and his contemporaries were in danger of becoming alienated. Van Anderlecht created ever larger informal canvases using broad brushstrokes and colours with an almost explosive beauty. Shortly before his premature death, he joined two Flemish renewal movements: the Antwerp-based ‘G58’, or ‘Group 1958’, and the New Flemish School.


year and place of birth: 1918, Schaarbeek, Belgium
whereabouts: d. 1961, Schaarbeek, Belgium

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Koen van den Broek

Koen van den Broek converts many things, including motorways, curbs and parks, to planes and broad lines: he distils the essence of images. His work has an abstract character, which seems to distance itself from reality. The artist does not necessarily intend to convey a message, indeed his thoughts are fully focused upon colour, composition, shape, paint, canvas and painting surface.


year and place of birth: 1973, Bree, Belgium
whereabouts: Antwerp, Belgium

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Ricardo Brey

Ricardo Brey is one of the most important contemporary Cuban artists. He moved to Belgium following his participation in Documenta IX in 1990. He takes inspiration for his hybrid conceptual work from the wealth of Afro-Cuban culture, personal memories and the myths, legends and stories of various cultures. Although his roots lie in Cuba, he sees himself as a Flemish artist who takes the European art tradition as his starting point.


year and place of birth: 1955, Havana, Cuba
whereabouts: Ghent, Belgium

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Jan Van Imschoot

The extent to which Jan Van Imschoot places every facet of human existence under the microscope is unparalleled. He often approaches his – sometimes historical – themes with a smile, but he is always serious, critical and refreshingly sharp-witted. The Ghent-based painter, who moved to France in 2013, never dances to the art circus’s tune. His style, which he once described as ‘anarcho-baroque’, fluctuates according to his subject matter.


year and place of birth: 1963, Ghent, Belgium
whereabouts: Noncourt-sur-le-Rongeant, France

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Herman Van Ingelgem

Witty, absurd and full of signs of sharp collapse. This is how the art of Herman Van Ingelgem can be described. His site-specific installations with sculptures, scale models, videos and many genres of intervention utilizing everyday items, shake their surroundings, our familiar world, probing to discover what lies behind and beneath it. The artistry of Van Ingelgem has a radical character, something typically Flemish. Van Ingelgem’s artistry comes from a do-it-yourself attitude whilst nevertheless being very precise.


year and place of birth: 1968, Blankenberge, Belgium
whereabouts: Mechelen, Belgium

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Charbel-joseph H. Boutros

Charbel-joseph H. Boutros was born during the Lebanese civil war. The political history of his homeland and disquietude with today’s society resonate in his work, in which personal and political musings are entwined. His melancholic oeuvre extends from installations through sculptures to video work.


year and place of birth: 1981, Bickfaya, Lebanon
whereabouts: Beirut, Lebanon and Paris, France

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Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven

The extensive oeuvre of Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven, in short AMVK, is very diverse. Nevertheless, her work is immediately recognizable: colourful, layered, feministic and strongly socially critical. She establishes links between technology, sex and imaging in our current society. She draws on various sources of inspiration, from research to artificial intelligence through alchemy to soft-pornographic images, bringing them together in a new universe. Strong, self-assured women are pivotal in this, to counterbalance the classic female nude in traditional art. She deploys materials and techniques from commercial graphics: hard Perspex, plastic and bright colours. In combination with schematic black and white contrasts, another graphics element, fascinating images come into being.


year and place of birth: 1951, Antwerp, Belgium
whereabouts: Antwerp, Belgium

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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: Brussels, Belgium

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Richard Venlet

Richard Venlet's earliest works consisted of untitled abstract wall sculptures constructed from basic geometric shapes. It wasn't long before Venlet began to consider not only these objects as part of his work but also their presentation, the exhibition concept and the spatial context. These factors gradually began to dominate. Venlet's work could increasingly be read as visual statements that explored the archetype of the white exhibition space. Venlet was soon being asked to design sets for exhibitions of work by other artists, and began incorporating art by others in his exhibitions.


year and place of birth: 1964, Hamilton, Australia
whereabouts: Brussels, Belgium

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Marinus Boezem

Marinus Boezem is an important figure in Dutch conceptual art. His early work was characterized by the link between Marcel Duchamp's ready-made art and the land art. From 1960 Boezem, like Sol LeWitt, sold works of art that were simply an idea on paper. He strove to bring the visual arts outside the confines of museums. From the mid-‘70s, Boezem began to develop his conceptual ideas sculpturally. He combined light, air, sound and movement with a formally refined, minimalistic visual language. In the ‘80s landscapes were once again featured in Boezem's work.


year and place of birth: 1934, Leerdam, The Netherlands
whereabouts: Middelburg, The Netherlands

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Henk Visch

A human being is clearly present in many works by Henk Visch. Not as a character but through activities such as walking and standing still, resting and lying, thinking and dreaming. The leg is often featured, in different shapes and sizes. "In fact, all my work is related to standing", the artist once said. "You could call that a kind of theme. All my images stand on a foot or are supported by something. Standing, just as you yourself stand, is part of your existence. Feet with which you stand on the ground – no, not on the ground but on the earth. The earth has no ground.”  


year and place of birth: 1950, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
whereabouts: Eindhoven, The Netherlands and Berlin, Germany

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Wolf Vostell

Up to 1958 Wolf Vostell, was principally active with 'décollage', an artistic composition in which existing images are taken apart, thus in a sense form the opposite of a 'collage'. In the years that followed, the artist was noted for his work with happenings and installations in the public space. He frequently incorporated TV sets into his work and in this way questioned (public) manipulation by the medium. In the early 1960s, Vostell became one of the driving forces behind Fluxus, an art movement that elevated everyday things to art, thus campaigning against the elitism of the art world. Vostell gained fame with spectacular performances, for example he publicly poured concrete over cars. He recorded many of these performances on video, a new medium that he immediately considered to be a fully-fledged art form.


year and place of birth: 1932, Leverkusen, Germany
whereabouts: d. 1998, Berlin, Germany

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Michaël Borremans

Michaël Borremans is one of Belgium’s most important artists today. In his paintings, drawings and films, he immerses us in the difficult to grasp beauty of strange-versus-familiar situations that are essentially illogical. The characters present in his work are trapped in an indeterminate time and space. Oblivion or institutional suppression seems to be their lot. The radical preference for inexplicable alienation and confusing beauty makes Borremans relevant in international contemporary figurative painting, in which the desire for strictly defined semiotics and conceptualization still prevails.


year and place of birth: 1963, Geraardsbergen, Belgium
whereabouts: Ghent, Belgium

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Lois Weinberger

Lois Weinberger grew up in rural Tyrol and thinks of himself as an 'agricultural worker'. Plants on fallow ground form the impetus for drawings, sculptures, photographs, texts and installations. Weinberger makes a conscious choice for what he himself calls ‘second-rate nature’ with a pivotal role for wild plants. The romantic image of nature as the primitive counterpart to culture is, in his opinion, a misconception.  He allows the border between nature and culture to become blurred. Weeds symbolize the endangered free spirit and, for the individual who cherishes his individuality and imagination, it goes against the grain.


year and place of birth: 1947, Stamms, Austria
whereabouts: Vienna and Gars am Kamp, Austria

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Zhang Peili

Zhang Peili has been making an important contribution to contemporary art in China and beyond since the mid-1980s. His artistic pursuits include painting, text, video and digital media. The artist examines the narrative potential of these artistic media and the ease with which they can be transformed into and used as propaganda. Often he manipulates the aesthetics of the mass media and popular entertainment. Zhang Peili's work comments on and responds to the social, political and cultural climate in China.


year and place of birth: 1957, Hangzhou, China
whereabouts: Hangzhou and Shanghai, China

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