Ghent - MSK and S.M.A.K. - Hareng Saur: Ensor and contemporary art20/10/2010
October 31, 2010 - February 27, 2011
The S.M.A.K. and the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent are joining forces to programme Hareng Saur: Ensor and contemporary art. This exhibition is one of a series of events in Belgium and abroad to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of James Ensor (1860-1949). It takes a distinctly different approach by associating Ensor with the work of contemporary artists.
Hareng Saur: Ensor and contemporary art takes a new step in the approach to Ensor's oeuvre. The exhibition shows that Ensor has retained his topicality even on today's art scene. He is taken out of his historical context and approached decisively as a timeless artist whose themes and technique are inseparably linked to the practices of many contemporary artists. Even at the start of the twenty-first century, Ensor's subjects and points of view remain resoundingly up to date. Such subjects as the mask and the grotesque, social critique, the self-portrait, the identification with Christ, the masses, satire and death have after all lost none of their relevance in contemporary visual art. The exhibition makes unexpected links and demonstrates that in his visionary oeuvre Ensor pursued a goal that connects him to numerous contemporary artists.
In addition to an extensive selection of Ensor's work (paintings, drawings and prints), the exhibition also includes contemporary kindred spirits and counterparts in the genres of painting, sculpture, video, installation, performance, drawing, etc. Ensor's visual world is thereby linked to those of Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Francis Alÿs, Huma Bhabha, Jake & Dinos Chapman, George Condo, Thierry De Cordier, Marlene Dumas, Thomas Hirschhorn, Yang Jiechang, Tomasz Kowalski, Jonathan Meese, Bruce Nauman, Ugo Rondinone, Dana Schutz, Cindy Sherman, Raymond Pettibon, Thomas Schütte, Philippe Vandenberg, Jan Vercruysse, Thomas Zipp and others.
Image: Francis Alÿs, The Modern Procession, 2002, video, 7:30 min. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York. Image courtesy of Francis Alÿs