The House of Opportunity and Etude in Menen

Micha C3 A Bl Borremans House of Opportunity

The exhibition shows a selection from the collection of S.M.A.K. and explores the 'boundary' in the broad sense of the word. A project between Bastion 10, S.M.A.K. and Cultuurcentrum Menen.

‘The House of Opportunity’ is an exhibition comprised of works from the S.M.A.K. collection that questions or interprets the notion of the ‘border’ in the fullest, broadest sense of the word. Not only geographically but also psychologically, politically, ethnographically, sexually, and so on. During the first three weeks of this exhibition, in the nearby park and garden, you can also visit the visual arts project ‘Etude’, a residency initiative that allows seven artists to create new site-specific work.

‘The House of Opportunity’

The exhibition takes the border city of Menen as its starting point for the theme ‘border’. Since its foundation some 1,000 years ago, Menen’s unique location meant that a variety of rulers found it politically, economically and socially expedient to include it in their sphere of influence. The exhibition is divided into two parts, to be staged at De Steiger Cultural Centre and the City Museum respectively. In the first part in the Cultural Centre, based on a series of contemporary artworks from the S.M.A.K. collection, the focus is on the more negative connotations conjured up by the notion of the ‘border’, such as imperialism, segregation, nationalism, discrimination and so on. This as a kind of contemporary metaphor for the history of Menen as a border city, and the fact that it has a long history of being occupied by a succession of powers. The second part of the exhibition, which will be staged at the City Museum, will focus instead on the opportunities offered by a border – or a border city. Indeed in today’s modern, multicultural and diverse society, a growing number of borders are starting to blur and themes such as nationality, identity, geography, etc. are becoming more and more fluid and are increasingly being questioned.

Borrowing its title from a work by Michaël Borremans in the exhibition, ‘The House of Opportunity’ seeks to build a bridge between the historical reality of the city of Menen on the one hand, and on the other to take a contemporary look at the future, and the various opportunities that this throws up for the town.

Featuring work by artists including: Allora&Calzadilla, David Bade, Michaël Borremans, stanley brouwn, Christo, Michel François, Bernard Frize, Hamish Fulton, Meshac Gaba, Mehkitar Garabedian, Joseph Grigely, Juan Muñoz, Oksana Pasaiko, Peter Phillips, Ante Timmermans, Koen van den Broek, Jan Vercruysse, Angel Vergara, Lois Weinberger, and Lawrence Weiner.

Curators: Iris Paschalidis and Thibaut Verhoeven

Practical information

  • From 12 Sept. to 1 Nov. 2020, Wednesday to Sunday, from 2pm to 6 pm.
  • The opening will take place on Friday 11 September 2020 at 7 pm. Prior reservation is obligatory due to the COVID-19 measures. This can be arranged via
  • De Steiger Cultural Centre and the City Museum (‘t Schippershof)
  • Waalvest 1 – 8930 Menen

In collaboration with Bastion 10
12 Sept. to 27 Sept. 2020
Residency project at the Parktuin in Menen

Curator Philippe Van Cauteren (Director of S.M.A.K., Ghent) sees the project as a tribute to the recently deceased artist Philippe Van Snick, whose work will also be exhibited. During a residency in Menen, seven artists will make artistic interventions in a separate park and garden close to the museum (the Parktuin). These private grounds are characterised by an intimate monumentality, bordered as they are by an old arm of the Lys river, vineyards, casemates and historic ramparts. The residency will become an artistic exploration of either the place itself, or the added value of art in the romantic beauty of the park and garden. What can be added to a site that might almost be described as an ‘artwork’ in its own right? The question can be answered by approaching the project artistically as an exercise, a study, or – to use a musical term – an étude. The park and garden with the newly created works will be accessible to the public from 12 to 27 September inclusive. This presentation opens at the same time as the collection exhibition ‘The House of Opportunity’ and runs concurrently for three weeks.

Participating artists: Bart Lodewijks, Henk Delabie, Leyla Aydoslu, Rein Dufait, Nadia Gerroui and Koba De Meutter.

Practical information

  • From 12 to 27 Sept. 2020, from 2 pm – 6 pm.
  • Park and garden (Parktuin) in Menen. Oude Leielaan 5, Menen
  • Free entry.

This project is being staged in collaboration with Bastion 10 and with thanks to their initiators Ghislain Verstraete and Henk Delabie.

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