August 27, 2008 - Antwerp Art Weekend - Antwerp Sculpture Show
August 27, 2008

Antwerp Sculpture Show

Franz West, Ein Hod, 2008, courtesy Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp.

Antwerp Sculpture Show
Fri 12.09 – Sun 14.09.08 11am – 6pm
Opening: THU 11.09.08 6 – 10pm

Square between Vlaamsekaai and Waalsekaai
2000 Antwerp | Belgium

The annual Whitsun fair, tennis championships, Cirque du Soleil, parked cars, the musical 0110 event in protest at the political climate in Antwerp, which is shifting to the right, ice sculptures, an exclusive trade fair of luxury articles and even more numerous circuses of other origins: the filled-in southern docks between the Vlaamsekaai and the Waalsekaai have in the past played host to a wide variety of events. But only on one occasion has the square been used for contemporary art, in the summer of 2002 when Villanella and MuHKA installed the ‘drive-in wheel’, a huge Ferris wheel for cars designed by the Dutch artist John Körmeling.

The South, with the filled-in southern docks at its heart, has though been surrounded by the visual arts for many years now: historical works in the Royal Museum of Fine Art, contemporary art in the galleries and the MuHKA and FotoMuseum. And yet it was not until 2008 that an idea that had been in circulation for a long time – literally and figuratively filling the square with contemporary art – could be put into action. This was an idea which, with hindsight, turned out to be so obvious that several actors had had it in mind for several years.

In the end it was the galleries that took the actual initiative and put together a proposal for a sculpture exhibition. It seemed to them that, as a form of artistic expression, sculpture had for too long been treated harshly by the institutions; it was high time attention was paid exclusively to this medium. They went in search of partners ‘in crime’. They found them in the first place in the Middelheim Museum, which concentrates on sculpture in the open air, and is also a municipal museum, which meant that Antwerp city council could make use of the expertise regarding art in the public space that it had built up over the years. This in its turn meant that the agreement it already had with the MuHKA could be brought forward a year, and the decision was taken with the MuHKA to embed this show in a broader event, the art festival ‘t Zuid Antwerp Art Weekend’, which had previously been held twice in the autumn. The intention with the Antwerp Sculpture Show is quite simple and without great pretension, but this does not make it any less ambitious: every gallery and every non-profit contemporary art venue was invited to choose an artist to produce a new work or select an existing one for the exhibition. The MuHKA and the Middelheim Museum provide the facilities to make it possible. 19 galleries and non-profit art venues took up the invitation and, with the two museums, 21 works of art have been chosen.

Luc Deleu and his TOP design firm have been entrusted with the task of giving shape to the event: the Waalsekaai and the Vlaamsekaai will be linked by a blue carpet that cuts across the square: on one side of the carpet will be the exhibition infrastructure, two office containers one on top of the other and a tent for the opening, and on the other side the works of art. A daring arrangement based on an open view of sculpture and the city.

The fact that the exhibition will only last four days, and is therefore quite transient, has not prevented the artists from displaying great commitment. The international appeal and the dedication of the various partners involved also give the event a potential future.

An extensively documented publication on the Antwerp Sculpture Show will be published afterwards.

Antwerp Art Weekend
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