From Broodthaers to Braeckman – Photography in the Visual Arts in Belgium


M HKA, Antwerpen

06 October 2016 - 05 February 2017

Through representative examples From Broodthaers to Braeckman. Photography in the Visual Arts in Belgium shows how the medium of photography entered the field of visual arts in Belgium and how it evolved into an independent artistic medium between 1960 and 1990.

Its location between major artistic centres such as London, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf and Paris, and the presence of important collectors and visionary gallery owners, turn Belgium into an important meeting place for the international art world in the 1960s and 1970s. A rising  generation of Belgian artists comes into direct contact with international artistic trends like conceptual art, Fluxus and the Situationist International. Local artistic traditions too influenced their practice. Especially striking is the legacy of the Brussels surrealists, in particular the work of René Magritte and Paul Nougé. Moreover, the strong pictorial tradition of the Low Countries, and by extension Europe, turns out to have had a decisive influence on the work of the artists selected for this exhibition, which is characterised by a constant attention to their surrounding reality.

The exhibition opens with the photographic work of three pioneers of conceptual art in Belgium: Marcel Broodthaers, Jacques Charlier and Jef Geys. Subsequently, the breakthrough of photoconceptualism in Belgium can be seen in the work of Jacques Lennep, Jacques Louis Nyst, Jacques Lizène, Philippe Van Snick and Danny Matthys. Finally, the transition of photoconceptual work to the photographic tableau – the ever growing mixture of photography and painting – is shown by means of the work of Lili Dujourie, Jan Vercruysse, Ria Pacquée, Liliane Vertessen and Dirk Braeckman.

The exhibition From Broodthaers to Braeckman. Photography in the visual arts in Belgium is based on the doctoral research of Liesbeth Decan: Conceptual, Surrealist, Pictorial: Photo-based Art in Belgium (1960s-early 1990s), which appears as a book concurrently with the exhibition as part of the Lieven Gevaert Series (Leuven University Press). 

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