D.A.T.E. 2017: Antwerp Art Gallery Tour, the report
Antwerp exudes creativity – ranging from Rubens, the Antwerp Six, right through to Luc Tuymans. During a tour of the city, you will come across late Classical masterpieces, contemporary delights and anything in between. Many cities would kill for such a course. During day three of D.A.T.E. 2017, Jason Poirier from PLUS-ONE Gallery showed our 13 international guests a few of Antwerp’s top galleries and the renovated M HKA, Antwerp’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
Jason Poirier started one of the first internet agencies in Belgium, back in 1998. After having worked for communication companies like Amphion, Square Melon and Haven Can Wait, he is now Creative Strategist at Mirror Mirror, a multi-disciplinary branding & visual communication studio based in Antwerp. And two years ago, he also started his own art gallery: Plus One, located in Berchem, in the same building as Mirror Mirror.
“Two years ago we moved into this building”, he told us. “This used to be the warehouse of a shirt manufacturer. It is great to be in the same building as Mirror Mirror. They do the artwork of the gallery, they can use the space for events and they get to know a lot of artists, which leads to new opportunities. We believe in networking.”
Ben of Mirror Mirror joined the group a little later. He showed the group some flags that were made by friends and artists, for the occasion of the move to this building. We saw great work by Ellen Van Engelen and Kastaar, amongst others. Collaboration sure pays off.
In Plus-One, a contemporary art gallery that represents and exhibits a mix of Belgian and international artists, the group admired the work of French painter Antwan Horfee.
During the walk and bus ride to the next gallery, the D.A.T.E guests talked about their experience in Antwerp. “This city feels so relaxed”, someone said. “Yesterday’s bike ride was fantastic” was another quote, “there are so many different neighbourhoods in Antwerp and they all have a unique feel.”
Next stop was Tim Van Laere gallery in Het Zuid. This gallery is known for the work of Rinus Van de Velde. The current exhibition features paintings of Anton Henning, from Berlin. We admired oil on canvas paintings, presenting classic themes (flowers, still lifes, nudes) in a very atypical way.
A short walk later we arrived at M HKA, Antwerp’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum has been renovated completely earlier this year. The ground floor now features a new permanent exhibition which is free, a new ticket desk and a beautiful library with a very long table. The space was designed by Axel Vervoordt, a famous Belgian interior designer. Two striking accomplishments of Vervoordt are his work for a penthouse of Robert De Niro in New York and the fact that he bought the Vlaeykensgang, Antwerp’s famous hidden alley, when he was only 21. Talking about a visionary mind.
M HKA’s permanent collection features works by Luc Tuymans, Marina Abramovic and Panamarenko. After a while, the whole group of D.A.T.E guests found a seat at the long table in the library to talk about the adventures of the day and the previous days.
Final stop was the second Plus-One gallery in Antwerp, located in Nieuw Zuid, an exciting and ambitious urban development in the southern part of the city. This gallery is a collaboration between Jason and Sofie Van de Velde. They came to this idea because they wanted to embrace new possibilities and chances, for their galleries, their artists and the art scene in Antwerp. If you want to see some rad art in a newly developed neighbourhood, this is the place to be.
So yeah... Antwerp’s art scene has been thriving for centuries now. And there’s absolutely no doubt it will keep doing so.
Where them art galleries at?
Léon Stynenstraat 21
Text by Igor Daems
Pics by Niko Caignie for This is Antwerp