MHKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp

‘The M HKA is a museum for contemporary art, film and visual culture in its widest sense. It is an open place of encounter for art, artists and the public. ‘ (MHKA, 2017)

Reflecting on my visit to this museum my initial disappointment turned into fascination for a couple of the artist (collectives). Some of the expositions started stimulating my mind after reading more information. In one of the opinions in a news paper article on Joseph Beuys, part of the exposition, the writer criticises, loosely translated, the inability of modern artists to bring a message across with their art. Maybe that’s my problem with a lot of contemporary photography. Looking at a picture often isn’t enough. I need to read background information to even try to understand the photographer.



Joseph Beuys – Greetings from the Eurasian. ‘The exhibition Joseph Beuys – Greetings from the Eurasian will seek simultaneously to consider Beuys’ activities in Antwerp during the 1960s and ‘70s, alongside considering his relevance to a new generation.’ (MKHA, 2017)

Fascinating!. I saw a newspaper article in the collection which basically asked the question that came up with me as well, ‘charlatan or genie’? What I saw was ridiculous, but what I read made it meaningful. I have to read more about this person. I want to understand better what he was doing. I can understand a large part of his philosophy and his explanation of what he considers art needs additional study as well.

‘Joseph Beuys was active in Antwerp during the 1960s and 1970s through his relationship with Wide White Space gallery, for whom he was a key reference. Amongst his many exhibitions, it is here that he also made his performance Eurasienstab (Eurasian Staff) in collaboration with Henning Christiansen on 9 February 1968……..

The exhibition will also consider Beuys as a figure who worked in a way that was contrary to the logic and hegemony of Modernism……….’ (MKHA, 2017)

‘Joseph Beuys was a German Fluxus, happening, and performance artist as well as a sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist, and pedagogue. His extensive work is grounded in concepts of humanism, social philosophy and anthroposophy; it culminates in his “extended definition of art” and the idea of social sculpture as a gesamtkunstwerk, for which he claimed a creative, participatory role in shaping society and politics.’ (Wikipedia, 2017)

Some other expositions:

  • IN SITU: Lifepatch – The Tale of Tiger and Lion.
  • Jef Geys: Names.
  • Ping Pong – Philippe Van Snick
  • LODGERS #12 Art Paper Editions
  • INBOX: Lise Duclaux – L’observatoire des simples et des fous
  • Urgent Conversations: Antwerp – Athens, Part IV: Dealing with Catastrophe, The Flow of the World


MHKA (2017) At: (last visited 10/12/2017)

Wikipedia (2017) At: (last visited (10/12/2017)


MAS | Museum aan de Stroom

‘In the MAS | Museum aan de Stroom you’ll become acquainted with Antwerp in the world and with the world in Antwerp. Use all your senses to discover the city’s rich past, the river and the port. Enjoy breathtaking views of the city and be surprised by the many large and small details of this architectural gem.’ (MAS, 2017)

What a waste of money! The view of the city was nice, and the building architecturally a gem, but those were free of entrance.

‘The city and the world meet in the MAS. As a city on a river, Antwerp has attracted people from all over the world for centuries. Throughout the centuries, people met exchanging ideas and goods. Traces of these encounters are collected in the MAS.’ (MAS, 2017)

City Photographer. ‘The MAS asked curator Kaat Celis to make a selection from 15 (city photographer) portfolios and to create one huge, inspiring and surprising look at the city. This results in a visual love letter for Antwerp, an associative narrative on the love-hate relations with the city from a photographer’s point of view.’ (MAS, 2017) The pictures hang on the walls next to and above eight escalators going to the roof of the building. Not the best place to look at them, They just can give a feel. And I think that’s the purpose. But for me the feel on most of the escalators is not related to Antwerp. The concept and presentation are original.

Art from Pre-Columbian America. As I have noticed more often lately these kind of statements in magazines, museums, books, are interpreted without limitations and therefor sometimes misleading. One exposition was for example P. Janssen-Arts collection. This collection ‘tells us about the extraordinary relationship between man and the world of gods, ancestors and spirits in America before the conquest of Europe.’ (MAS, 2017) What’s the relation with Antwerp?. I’ve visited museums and archaeological excavation sites in Latin America and the condition of the items displayed in this expo seemed almost unreal because of the excellent state they were in.


Antwerp à la carte. Today, over half of the world’s population lives in cities. Antwerp, for instance, has more than 500,000 inhabitants. That’s half a million mouths to be fed every day. How do we manage to do this now, what will we do in the future, and does the past offer any inspiration? (MAS, 2017). Some interesting facts of the current world of food production and ongoing initiatives.

Some other exhibitions:

  • Visible storage
  • Display of Power | Prestige and symbols
  • Life & Death | Gods and mankind
  • World Port | Trade and shipping



MAS (2017), At: (last visited 10 December 2017)


The Embarrassment of Riches

The Embarrassment of Riches is a book by Simon Schama. It’s an interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age.

‘At the apogee of its powers in the seventeenth century, Holland was a tiny island of prosperity in a sea of want, Its homes were well-furnished and fanatically clean; its citizens feasted on 100-course banquets and speculated fortunes on new varieties of tulip. Yet, in the midst of plenty, the Dutch were ill at ease. In this brilliantly innovative book-which launched his reputation as one of our most perspicacious and stylish historians- Simon Schama explores the mysterious contradictions of a nation that invented itself from the ground up, attained an unprecedented level of affluence, and lived in constant dread of being corrupted by its happiness.

Drawing on a vast array of period documents and sumptuously reproduced art, Schama re-creates, in precise and loving detail, a nation’s mental furniture. He tells of bloody uprisings and beached whales, of the cult of hygiene and the plague of tobacco, of thrifty housewives and profligate tulip-speculators. He tells us how the Dutch celebrated themselves and how they were slandered by their enemies.’, Schama (1987)

I learned several things from the book:

  • I’m Dutch. It was interesting to read about the background of some still existing cultural habits in the Netherlands.
  • How art is a reflection of its time and why you therefor have to decode art.


Schama, S. (1987), The Embarrassment of Riches, New York: Vintage Books

Aperture #227 Platform Africa

In a previous post I was very negative about Aperture #226 and the magazine in general. Although a lot of those comments still stand after reading Aperture #227, as the magazine claims to be more than it is, I think the title suits the content much better this time. Also did I find this edition’s theme and execution very inspirational and educative.

In separate posts I will put the spotlights on some of the featured African artists.


Aperture #227 Platform Africa (2017), New York City: Aperture Foundation

Graspop Metal Meeting

Graspop Metal Meeting is an annual metal festival in Dessel, Belgium that has taken place each year since 1996. Per metal and hard-rock genre nostalgic, new and the world’s biggest bands are scheduled. Over the years I have visited the festival many times almost on a yearly base. Besides the usual reasons to visit a music festival: music, relaxation, fun, escape from daily life, etc. I added a couple in recent years.

I admire the creativity and energy of the metal bands. They motivate and inspire me.

The line up of 2017:

Thursday June 15
Marquee Metal Dome Jupiler Stage
Brides Of Lucifer
The Covering
King Hiss
Wolves Scream
Hexa Mera
Born From Pain
Off The Cross
Friday June 16
Main Stage 01 Main Stage 02 Marquee Metal Dome Jupiler Stage
Dee Snider
Black Star Riders
Blue Öyster Cult
Battle Beast
Metal Church
Comeback Kid
Evil Invaders
Brides Of Lucifer
Rotting Christ
The Dillinger Escape Plan
Psychotic Waltz
King’s X
The Devil Wears Prada
Motionless In White
Every Time I Die
As It Is
Saturday June 17
Main Stage 01 Main Stage 02 Marquee Metal Dome Jupiler Stage
Deep Purple
Alter Bridge
Danko Jones
Axel Rudi Pell
In Flames
Five Finger Death Punch
A Day To Remember
Max & Iggor Cavalera: Return To Roots
Devin Townsend Project
Monster Magnet
Red Fang
Coheed And Cambria
Of Mice & Men
While She Sleeps
Code Orange
Crown The Empire
As Lions
Sunday June 18
Main Stage 01 Main Stage 02 Marquee Metal Dome Jupiler Stage
Steel Panther
Ugly Kid Joe
The Raven Age
Rob Zombie
The Charm The Fury
The Black Dahlia Murder
The Monolith Deathcult
The Dead Daisies
Grave Digger
Like A Storm
Sum 41
Suicidal Tendencies
Suicide Silence
Chelsea Grin
Touché Amoré


Graspop website, At: (last visited 09-09-2017)

Graspop, At: (last visited 09-09-2017)

Exercise 3.3

The human way of seeing is different from the way a camera records.

Interesting books to read in this regard are:

  • Livingstone, M. 2014. Vision and art. The biology of seeing.  A book about how we see and how our brain processes that information.
  • Arnheim, R. 2004. Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye. The book casts the visual process in psychological terms and describes the creative way one’s eye organizes visual material according to specific psychological premises. 


U2 – The Joshua Tree

I’ve seen multiple shows of U2. Their shows always have the same elements: Good music, new technology and a political message. At moments the political message hinders the musical experience, a show stopper.

This show had all elements again, but it had also something extra: a brilliant concept! Besides the build up of the setlist, with as act 2 the integral and in sequence playing of the Joshua Tree album, there was the art work of Anton Corbijn. Since the 80’s the famous Dutch photographer and movie director has been involved in the development of the visual image of U2. He is the one responsible for the album cover art of the Joshua Tree.

For this tour the band let him do the development of the visuals on stage. An amazing 60 meters wide 8k video screen with brilliant videos expressing the Joshua Tree album content and political landscape. The band, the music, the stage, the message it all became one.


Act 1
Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Year’s Day
A Sort Of Homecoming
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Act 2
Where The Streets Have No Name
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
With Or Without You
Bullet The Blue Sky
Running To Stand Still
Red Hill Mining Town
In God’s Country
Trip Through Your Wires
One Tree Hill
Mothers of the Disappeared
Act 3
Miss Sarajevo
Beautiful Day
Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
I Will Follow