press release

venues: 5 locations throughout the city

Bruges further wants to profile itself as a contemporary cultural city in Flanders, Europe and in the world. This dimension is already translated in the intent of the major art historical exhibition but is developed further with contemporary impulses. Hence the decision to work with an 'artist curator', as the driving force and inspiration for a programme of expressive and stage arts. Luc Tuymans (1959, Antwerp) was selected by the city to take on this task. He can indubitably be called one of the leading contemporary artists. His fascination with the eventful history of Central Europe is translated into a unique exhibition of work from about forty local artists who have made their mark on the artistic landscape in their own country and far beyond. The artists invited display a pronounced social vision in their work and like Tuymans do not shy from themes such as war, violence and trauma.

The starting point for Luc Tuymans was the world of difference between Bruges and Warsaw. Bruges has survived for centuries, whereas Warsaw was destroyed in WWII and subsequently carefully rebuilt. Polish artists provided this starting point. From there the exhibition simultaneously opens up in numerous directions, amongst others to other artists from Germany, Austria, Croatia, Albania, the Czech Republic, etc. and it even refers back to the origins of American Pop Art, and finally ends with the work by the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. The exhibition gives a unique view of the art of an extraordinary region, the influence of which reverberates to the furthest ends of the Earth and back again.

'Luc Tuymans: A vision of Central Europe. The Reality of the Lowest Rank' with Luc Tuymans and Tommy Simoens as curators, thanks its name to a sentence thought up by the influential Polish artist and theatre director Tadeuzs Kantor. He used this name to explain why he used everyday objects and materials in his art. At the same time he expresses an inability to remember and admits that he is helpless as an artist if he wants to make short work of memory. It is a problem that all the artists in this exhibition struggle with to some extent. The exhibition is full of paradoxes: light and dark, East and West, the experience of the past in the present and the pain of history.

It is spread across 5 locations throughout the city and includes works by more than 44 artists. The exhibition is supplemented by a series of screenings of animated films from Central Europe – under the management of Edwin Carels and introduced by the artists themselves – and these take place at Cinema Lumiere.