The collection XXVI – The Artefactum years


Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (M HKA), Antwerp

10 September 2010 - 20 February 2011

In this presentation from the collection, the M HKA is taking as its theme the art in Flanders from 1985 to 1995. Its starting point is Artefactum magazine, which presented a defining image of the local art of that period, and the project focuses on both the art produced and the art criticism. The purchasing policy pursued by the then newborn M HKA is also examined, revealing that the magazine played an important part in it. Having previously turned the spotlight on the ICC, the museum is hereby once again looking at a period in its own history. The decade from the mid-80s to the mid-90s was one of hope and vigour in the visual arts in Flanders. It was characterised by increasing internationalisation and growing self-confidence, but also by the expanding influence of the market. The market became the main means of gaining interest, and the art of that time was perfectly suited to this. After the explosive painting of Die Neue Wilden and Transavantguardia, this was now the heyday of sculpture, with its vivid, clearly delineated works. Artefactum magazine was a perfect reflection of that period. It was glossy, eager in its international aspirations, and was the first in Belgium to introduce the extravagant adverts that have come to be part of any successful international art periodical. It balanced text with large, attractive illustrations, and its aim was to present the latest art to a broad readership of art-lovers and buyers. Its 53 issues, which looked at the work of more than 1500 artists, enabled Artefactum to offer a realistic picture of a key period that signalled a new start in the internationalisation of art in Flanders.

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