Wouter Davidts

  • Ana Torfs, [ . . . ] STAIN [ . . . ] (detail), 2012, twenty framed ink-jet prints with mixed media, four tables, two speakers, sound. Installation view.

    Ana Torfs

    Each year, Wiels devotes a museum-scale exhibition to a major Belgian artist, curated by the institution’s director and founder, Dirk Snauwaert. In contrast to the lush 2013 display of 124 paintings that spanned Walter Swennen’s three-decade-plus career, the pristine spaces of the former industrial brewery this fall boast a stern ensemble of just six works by Ana Torfs, all from the past five years. The show’s title, “Echolalia,” is a term denoting the either playful or neurotic reiteration of vocalizations made by another person. And in fact the exhibition gives a unique opportunity to encounter

  • Leon Vranken, Horizon, 2014, bricks, cement, steel struts, 9' 2 1/2“ × 26' 4” × 16' 5".

    Leon Vranken

    “Paper-Scissors-Stone,” the most recent show by Belgian artist Leon Vranken, got off to a powerful start with Flowing Line, 2014, a jet of water noisily shooting out of a circular pit cut into the floor, enclosed by a white railing. As with Study of a Vertical Line, 2013—the thirty-six-foot-high fountain and ascendable scaffolding structure that the artist erected at the Middelheim Musuem, an open-air sculpture park, in Antwerp, Belgium, last year—visitors could experience the top of the water jet, here by moving up one floor within the building. The fountain spouted right through a

  • James Casebere, Sea of Ice, 2014, ink-jet print, 41 3/8 x 52 3/8".

    James Casebere

    There’s a golden yet unspoken rule in architectural training and practice that scale models should be neither too realistic nor too detailed. Thus, trees and human figurines are just tolerable, but curtains, furniture, and other everyday features are questionable, if not prohibited. A model needs to retain a relative degree of abstraction as a material object to accomplish its conjectural quality—that is, to exemplify the project to which it gives scalar form. One of the most intriguing qualities of the architectural model is therefore how it balances materializing abstract plans with

  • View of “Jan De Cock,” 2013.

    Jan De Cock

    Located in a small village yet presenting major local and international artists, the Deweer Gallery occupies a special position in the Belgian art scene. It started out small in 1979 in the attic of owner Mark Deweer’s mansion but has grown substantially over the years, and has now been housed in his former textile factory for nearly two decades. Recently, the gallery renovated its premises and doubled its exhibition space. For Jan De Cock, such expansive environs are desirable, if not mandatory. This Belgian artist is known for his vast and elaborate geometrical sculptures in multicolored fiber

  • Ann Veronica Janssens, Lee 121, 2005, artificial mist and light. Installation view, Sucière. From the 8th Biennale de Lyon. Photo: Blaise Adilon.

    Ann Veronica Janssens

    For the official opening of Wiels in 2007, Brussels-based Ann Veronica Janssens produced a short film that magically captured the abstract beauty of a solar eclipse.

    For the official opening of Wiels in 2007, Brussels-based Ann Veronica Janssens produced a short film that magically captured the abstract beauty of a solar eclipse. Janssens returns to this mesmerizing subject in a new film, which debuts at her first hometown solo show in a decade. Presenting work from the past fifteen years—including several sculptures, five films, and seven largescale, site-specific installations that artificially manipulate space, light, color, and sound, this survey should catch the full spectrum of Janssens’s attempts to give form to the intangible

  • Koenraad Dedobbeleer

    Last December, Belgian artist Koenraad Dedobbeleer received the Mies van der Rohe Stipendium 2009, awarded by the city of Krefeld, Germany. It grants the artist the opportunity to occupy the studio in Haus Esters, the celebrated design by Mies, and to ultimately develop a project for the building, which, with its domestically sized and spatially ingenious interior, is widely considered a superb exhibition space. It certainly befits the work of Dedobbeleer. In the past decade, the artist has made sculptures and installations with a wide range of familiar objects and everyday domestic materials,

  • Becky Beasley, Figure + Letter (A–E) (series of 6), 2008, American walnut and hinges. Installation view.
    picks January 20, 2009

    Becky Beasley

    “Malamud” is the second solo exhibition by British artist Becky Beasley at this gallery, one of Antwerp’s most promising, which opened in 2007. Originally located in an apartment, the gallery moved last fall to a new and much larger space in an area near the city’s Central Station. Beasley has thoughtfully made use of this expanded space, utilizing each of its three rooms for a carefully installed series of new photographs, sculptures, and drawings. While the show’s title refers to the dry American novelist Bernard Malamud, the recurring element in Beasley’s practice is a wooden plank. Acting

  • Koen van den Broek

    One of the peculiar qualities of the built environment is that, despite its utter intricacy and diversity, it always contains the germ of pictorial abstraction. Depending on viewing angle, proximity, or clarity, images of buildings and streets can advance the abstract qualities of their inherent surfaces, structures, grids, and patterns. Thus the ubiquity of architecture and the urban landscape as both an artistic subject and a visual source for both painting and photography.

    For about a decade, Belgian artist Koen van den Broek has rigorously taken up the challenge posed by this phenomenon. The

  • Jan Kempenaers

    In the late ’60s and the ’70s, Yugoslavia, at that time a socialist republic, launched a substantial program of monument building, resulting in a dense network of dozens of memorials all over the country, on both urban locations and more rural sites. The assortment of forms and shapes is quite extraordinary. While most of the monuments resort to a figurative language in the tradition of nationalist-socialist sculpture, others are abstract constructions of concrete and steel. Often standing in striking natural environments, these large-scale sculptures were meant to act as glorious reminders of

  • Lieven De Boeck

    It’s said that Mies van der Rohe always carried a small Paul Klee painting in his suitcase. Whenever he stayed in a hotel, he hung it in place of the paintings that decorated his room, transforming the space—albeit only temporarily and partially—into a room of his own. Even the godfather of modern architecture seemingly needed a personal belonging to feel at home in a hotel room, a space that epitomizes the nomadic existence that modernity initiated and that his later colleagues would experience at length. Charming as it may be, the story points to the irresolvable question of being

  • David Claerbout, Sections of a Happy Moment, 2007, single channel black-and-white video with sound, 26 minutes.

    David Claerbout

    Five video installations will be shown in the Pompidou’s South Gallery, which Claerbout is fitting with a specially built screening infrastructure to defy the museum’s iconic but ever-void architecture—an intervention that somehow seems right in line with his practice.

    Architecture figures prominently in Belgian artist David Claerbout’s investigations of space and time in photography, film, and video. His 2007 slide show Sections of a Happy Moment presents multiple views of a Chinese family at play in the Kiel, a large housing complex designed by Belgium’s lyrical modernist Renaat Braem. For Bordeaux Piece, 2004, a thirteen-hour video set in Rem Koolhaas’s villa in Floriac, France, Claerbout filmed a short narrative sequence repeatedly in the course of a day; shadows produced by the changing light (the sole variation) deconstruct

  • “The Studio”

    Between 1998 and 2001 the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin undertook one of the most mind-boggling art-historical enterprises of the last decade: After acquiring the studio of British painter Francis Bacon, until then housed on the top floor of a small coach house in South Kensington, the museum reinstalled it entirely in a purpose-built addition to its own building. Via the former door and window openings, visitors to the Hugh Lane can now peek into Bacon’s studio with the original door, walls, floors, ceiling, and shelves, replete with easel, slashed canvases, vintage champagne crates, books and