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Kunstwerk van Filip Vervaet

Middelheim Museum initiates a major expansion of its collection

Thanks to collaborative ventures and the implementation of measures in support of the sector, the Middelheim Museum was able to diversify and give a significant boost to its collection in 2021. No fewer than 43 new works of art by 35 different artists were collected in 2021 together with the Flemish Community, the city of Antwerp and the Middelheim Promotors. The museum thus strengthens its unique position as a collecting institution for contemporary outdoor sculpture.

The works of art

30 of the 43 artworks were acquired by the Flemish Community in 2021 from artists living or working in Flanders as part of the corona relaunch measures. These sculptures, installations and video works are being given to the Middelheim Museum for permanent preservation. 12 artworks were purchased by the city of Antwerp for the Middelheim-collection from recent exhibitions at the museum and some of those acquisitions were made with additional support from the not-for-profit association Middelheim Promotors. The museum also received one donation from the Middelheim Promotors.

Some works are already on view, such as ‘To hold, to carry, to Walk, a Sound’ (2021) by Maika Garnica and ‘Incomplete Venuses, detours and functions’ (2021) by mountaincutters (until the end of February). Also ‘La Paix des Braves’ (2019/2021) by Pascale Marthine Tayou, and ‘MM/Afrolampe’ (2021) by Jean Katambayi Mukendi are already on view today as part of the current presentation of the collection.

More spatial art for exhibition outdoors will be on display later, in many shapes and sizes. New works by young and promising artists such as Koba De Meutter and Rein Dufait are also on the way, alongside outdoor creations by important “mid-career” artists such as Rossella Biscotti, Valérie Mannaerts, Filip Vervaet or Younes Baba-Ali, amongst others. In addition, the museum has already been able to acquire some already more well-known/existing works by established artists such as Philip Aguirre y Otegui, Peter Downsbrough and Guy Rombouts.

As Middelheim Museum strives to enable this art to embed itself within the park environment in the most ideal possible way and while keeping the long-term prospects in its sights, presenting the works still requires a great deal of preparation. The museum is working together with the artists to identify the most meaningful place for the new acquisitions in its green ‘outdoor halls’. 

Kunstwerk van Filip Vervaet

Filip Vervaet, Setting, 2019 - Collection Flemish Community - Copyright Filip Vervaet

 

Flemish support during the coronavirus pandemic

In the past year, the Flemish Government invested 9.98 million euros to support the wider cultural sector during the pandemic. This included a one-off budget increase of 3.75 million euros for the acquisition of artworks by contemporary visual artists. The target group of this relaunch measure was primarily young and mid-career visual artists working or living in Flanders, who were not included under any other measures. Their works will be included in the Flemish Community Collection, after which they will be given to museums in Flanders for safekeeping so that they can also be exhibited.

 

Collecting together

To make the selection, the existing Advisory Committee on Acquisitions for the Flemish Community Collection was expanded to include external curators and, for the first time, the Heads of Collection from museums of contemporary art in Flanders – the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp (M HKA), the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art - Ghent (S.M.A.K.), Mu.ZEE, Museum M, the Photo Museum Antwerp (FOMU) and the Middelheim Museum. Each committee member was able to present works of art and take part in the decision-making process. Starting from the principle of supporting the artists, they weighed up opportunities for the respective collections in light of the differences and also of the complementarity of the collections.