There is no obvious answer to the question why Flanders has shown great artistic productivity in almost all fields and has acquired considerable international acclaim as well. Is it in the genes? Is it the omnipresent history that you can either cherish or break? Is it a legacy from former local icons such as Jan Van Eyck and Pieter Paul Rubens? And more recently, artists such as Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Luc Tuymans, Thierry De Cordier and Philippe Herreweghe? Or designers such as Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Maarten Van Severen? It is a fact that in the 1980s and 1990s, a great deal revolutionary and pioneering work took place. Firstly by individuals and institutions but also by the government that gradually helped to enable an extensive professionalisation of the cultural sector. If Flanders should defend one thing, it is certainly its Cultural heritage and contemporary artistic practices. It is remarkable that Flemish artists do not only challenge themselves but also one another. Far from obvious collabora- tions have become very common. Throughout all disciplines. There are experiments in all media. A visual artist makes a feature film, a philosopher produces a play and a jazz pianist an opera. And some of them do it all at once and at the same time.
Kunsthall: Art & Heritage in Flanders is an imaginary arts hall, a visual rollercoaster showing recent work of artists with activities in Flanders and beyond. It should be considered as an exercise in which one is trying to programme all the artistic actions of the past five years in the same arts hall. Without any wall panels. What do you see? A surprising and astonishing arsenal of images of artists who find worldwide recognition with their work. The question however is whether or not this arts hall is that imaginary after all. All of these cultural activities were not gathered in an actual building, but they do however connect with Flanders, an as opposed to the world map insignificantly small region. Because of the restricted surface – museums, theatres, libraries and concert halls are never further than a one-hour drive away – Flanders is kind of an ideal arts hall. Almost nowhere else in the world is the power and the identity of the creative productivity as inversely proportional to the region in which it comes into being.
Art direction: Stephan Vanfleteren
Text: Chantal Pattyn
Concept: Gautier Platteau and Stephan Vanfleteren
This book is an initiative of Joke Schauvliege, Flemish Minister of Environment, Nature and Culture. Supported by the Flemish authorities.
In collaboration with the Flemish Architecture Institute, Flanders Music Centre,Institute for the Performing Arts, Flemish Institute for Visual, Audiovisual and Media Art, Flemish Interface Centre for Cultural Heritage, Flemish Literature Fund,Flanders Audiovisual Fund, Flanders Fashion Institute, Design Flanders.
This book is not for sale.