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Beyond the Center

Six new public art commissions combine local prompts with singular artistic visions.

New commissioning series

"Beyond the Center" is a new commissioning series by the Antwerp Public Art Collection (Kunst in de Stad). Six artists are invited to create permanent public artworks for an equal number of  ‘peripheral’ city districts.

The Antwerp Public Art Collection contains more than 260 works of art, monuments and statues displayed in the public space of the city of Antwerp, Belgium. The earliest work dates from the 17th century, while the most recent works were produced in 2023. Although the collection spans a broad time period, its geographical distribution is less widely plotted: more than half of the collection is located in zip codes 2000 and 2018, that is, the historic center and the 19th-century city development. This (lack of) coverage stands in stark contrast with Antwerp's ongoing urban and demographic expansion.


Strategy of commission-based acquisition

To realize the ambition of high-quality new public art throughout the entire city, a strategy of commission-based acquisition has been deployed: contemporary artists have been invited to produce work in dialogue with a specific location and the collection at-large. The commissions thus combine current artistic voices with a local context through a tailor-made multi-step process supported by the Flemish Community.

This commissioning process began in 2022 with a survey of participating city districts (those with the lowest number of public artworks present today): Berendrecht-Zandvliet-Lillo, Borgerhout, Deurne, Ekeren, Hoboken, and Merksem. Each district was asked to identify one or more prompts for an art commission - such as planned urban renewal or other opportunities for "place-making" - which were subsequently translated into a project brief. Six artists were approached to make a proposal in response to the brief. All new artworks will be inaugurated during 2024 and early 2025.


Commissioning staff

The commissioning process is steered by Samuel Saelemakers, curator of the Antwerp Public Art Collection, and Sara Weyns, director of Middelheim Museum & Antwerp Public Art Collection. Production is managed by Gertjan Oskar, Assistant Curator of the Antwerp Public Art Collection. External advisors were Caroline Dumalin, artistic director of Morpho (Antwerp) and Zeynep Kubat, assistant curator at KANAL-Centre Pompidou (Brussels).


Selected artists

  • Yannick Ganseman (1984, Leuven, lives and works in Brussels)
    Ganseman presents a double-sided, freestanding bronze bas-relief. One side depicts an intimate interior scene of a father and his child. The other shows a landscape with the chapel of Schoonbroek, where Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus connect the domestic to the public sphere.
    Location: Legendestraat-Kruisboogstraat, 2180 Ekeren
  • Kati Heck (1979, Düsseldorf, lives and works in Pulle)
    A near-anthropomorph bear, shown in profile and holding symbols of the district’s coat of arms, welcomes residents and visitors upon arrival in Berendrecht-Zandvliet-Lillo.
    Location: Bosstraat-Steenovenstraat, 2040 Berendrecht-Zandvliet-Lillo
  • Valérie Mannaerts (1974, Brussels, lives and works in Brussels)
    Resembling the form of an elongated mushroom or umbrella, the sculpture of Mannaerts, placed in front of Bouckenborgh Castle, honors the rich nature that characterizes the surrounding park, whilst referencing cultural motifs.
    Location: Esplanade Kasteel Bouckenborgh, 2170 Merksem
  • Marina Pinsky (1986, Moscow, lives and works in Brussels and Berlin)
    Marina Pinsky proposes a series of insect hotels, referring to different hotel typologies, that will be dispersed along a leafy avenue. The hotels, divided down the middle so as to reveal their interiors, are filled with reclaimed construction site materials and surrounded by carefully selected vegetation, in order to contribute to the regeneration of the local ecosystem.
    Location: Ter Rivierenlaan, 2100 Deurne
  • Gert Robijns (1972, Sint-Truiden, lives and works in Borgloon)
    A blue hoop hangs from a fourteen-meter-high pole, while several hoops in other colors lie below, suggesting a playful vertical movement that must have taken place. Signaling low and high altitude, this new landmark, flanking the Kruger Bridge, offers both insight and imagination to the passerby's spatial experience.
    Location: Krugerbrug, 2660 Hoboken
  • Guy Woueté (1980, Douala, Cameroon, lives and works in Antwerp, Douala and Penja)
    Two monumental bronze sculptures, depicting a booted and a naked foot, signal authority and violence on the one hand and vulnerability on the other. De pied à pied invites passersby to an open dialogue about power relations and the resilience of the oppressed.
    Location: Spillemansstraat-Van Hersteenstraat, 2140 Borgerhout

"Beyond the Center", an Antwerp Public Art Collection project, is made possible with the support of the Flemish government.

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