If you consider Belgian art as a whole, a startling array of different masters, styles, media, and points of view become apparent. The evolution of Belgian art has been dynamic, and is characterized by dramatic shifts and developments.
It is not so surprising that Belgian art is characterized by sudden changes, in that Belgian art reflects the turbulence and upheavals of Belgian history. Belgium is a young nation that has been in existence since only 1830. But these 187 years are marked by seismic changes.
Our turbulent history has been shaped by industrial revolutions and colonial expeditions. The Belgian nation was born out of the violent period in Europe at the end of the 18th Century, and this inception has of course left its mark. The wars were followed by difficult years of economic, social, and political upheaval. However, Belgium got back on her feet and introduced both political and economic reforms. All of these events in our history have left their mark on our art.
In this exhibition, Belgian artworks from The Phoebus Foundation’s collection provide a glimpse of Belgian history and Belgian history of art. There is a particular focus on the artists’ own inspirations and preoccupations. The exhibition allows us to explore a number of questions. How did Belgian artists define ‘art’ and its role at different stages of Belgian history? Did contemporaneous events in Belgium influence Belgian artists’ understanding of art? How do present-day Belgian artists interpret this national history of art? The pertinent question is not so much what art is, or what ‘Belgian art’ is, but rather of what art has meant to Belgian artists throughout Belgian history.
The exhibition consists of art from the collection of The Phoebus Foundation, supplemented by loans from various artists.
The ground floor is entirely devoted to temporary exhibitions of guest artists’ work. The first guest artist will be Lindert Paulussen (www.lindertpaulussen.com).
Katoen Natie, as a Flemish company, feels a close affinity with contemporary Flemish artists who look far beyond national borders and work internationally. The splendid work of Wim Delvoye, Panamarenko, Kobe, Marc Janssens and others can be found not only at headquARTers but also at the Burcht Singelberg office complex.