Jef Geys

Year and place of birth: 1934, Leopoldsburg, Belgium Location: +2018, Balen, Belgium

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.

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