WIELS presents: 'The Absent Museum'

19.05.2017 - Editorial board
© Kristien Daem – Jamie Cameron in The Absent Museum – BELGIANBOUTIQUE

Celebrating its ten-year anniversary in April, WIELS has launched a large-scale exhibition 'The Absent Museum' that is intended to continue promoting Belgian contemporary art, together with its ally Kunstenfestivaldesarts. Taking place in the refurbished Blomme building and its two adjacent buildings - also formerly part of the Wielemans brewery site - the exhibition's name is a nod to the decisive influence that symbolist, ‘mystical-mysterious’ thinking has had and continues to have on Belgian modernity. In wanting to be 'the WIELS Museum', the belgian insitution has decided to use this temporary exhibition to set out a substantive framework for a possible museum of contemporary art in the European capital.

Ellen Gallagher, Abu Simbel © Ellen Gallagher, Hauser & Wirth and Gagosian Gallery - BELGIANBOUTIQUE

WIELS - as well as the yearly Kunstenfestivaldesarts - is an important platform for artistic creation and for exchanging ideas and reprensents therefore a strong ally for the museum's project. 'The Absent Museum' will be both a look-back at the journey that WIELS has made so far and an exploration of its future development. In the process, this local discussion will be anchored within an international perspective of art and globalization. How can artists maintain the tension between the globalization’s paradoxes and history’s turbulences, with their individual sensibilities and voices?

© Kristien Daem – Mark Manders, installation view in The Absent Museum - BELGIANBOUTIQUE

Inlight of these issues and recent turbulent historical developments, it is striking to see how absent the art museums remain in urgent, public debate. Although museums – especially those that dedicate their time and energy to contemporary art – have never been as popular as they are today, they are still strongly absent from the public space and their voice goes unheard in the formation of public opinion. Existing works and new productions by about 45 contemporary and historical artists will face, translate and interpret the challenges that face museums today, as well as the communities they inspire.

© Kristien Daem – Lucy McKenzie, In My Area (For Kato) – BELGIANBOUTIQUE

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