Most works of art you see in museums are artistic end-products. Each work of art is often preceded by extensive research by the artist. But there are also artists with a research-driven art practice. With them, the research itself is more important than any possible outcome.
To collaborate with these research-driven artists, the Middelheim Museum developed the Artistic Research Project. Each year we invite two artists to both work on a theme that the Middelheim Museum wants to explore. Both artists will work for a year in their own studios as well as at the museum. They then share the process and/or results during meetings and a public moment.
First edition: 'Reading the Landscape'
The first Artistic Research Project runs parallel to the new collection presentation in 2023. Many sculptures will have new locations in the art park this year. Much attention is paid to the surrounding park landscape. Since the museum was founded in 1950, nature has too often been a passive, green backdrop for the sculptures. Today we see nature and art, both equally valid, as one concept.
That raises interesting questions. How can we establish a new (active) relationship with the landscape, as a museum and as a visitor? How can artists help us think about and, more specifically, 'with' the landscape? Which stories then emerge and how can we recount, cherish and further develop them?
These questions underlie this first Artistic Research Project, with the working title 'Reading the Landscape'. For a year, the two artists 'read' the relationship between art and nature in the park landscape. They also added new meanings.
For this edition, the Middelheim Museum invited Wendy Morris and Gosie Vervloessem to take part. They have the Braem Pavilion available as their studio for an entire year.
Wendy Morris (*1960, Namibia) is a visual artist living and working in Deerlijk. Since 2018, she has been working on a long-term project called 'Nothing of Importance Occurred' in which she explores how knowledge about medicinal plants was passed on and developed on different continents. In doing so, she links to contemporary themes such as gender inequality, colonialism and botany. Her work unfolds in installations, publications, meetings and audio compositions.
Gosie Vervloessem (*1973, Belgium) is a performance artist living and working in Brussels. Her work studies the relationship between man and nature through the lens of popular culture such as horror movies, comics and folklore. In her research, she often assumes the role of the 'sick detective' who uses 'exhibits', or evidence, to challenge and connect new and existing stories. Her practice includes lecture-performances, walks, zines, workshops and publications.