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Left: Oscar Jespers, 1887 – 1970, The Juggler, 1923, Polychromed stone, MSK Ghent. Bottom right: Luc Tuymans, The Arena, Fresco, MSK Ghent, 2017.
Creating a dialogue between old and new at the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), Ghent TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN | PHOTOS: MSK
With its historic city centre, the Belgian city of Ghent is worth visiting and if you happen to be there, a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) is definitely worth your while. Situated right next to the Citadel Park, the museum has a large collection of art from the Middle Ages to today and prides itself for being an ‘Open Museum’ where art and knowledge are readily available to anyone interested. An ever-changing museum, MSK had a metamorphosis in September and October, with most of its collection rearranged and new art pieces installed. “It was necessary,” says director Catherine de Zegher, at the helm of the museum since 2013. “The building itself was restored in 2007 and after ten years, it was time to rethink the presentation of the art works and to create a vivid narrative, chronological indeed yet with unexpected forms and colours, with rhythm and even surprises. We wanted the museum to be-
come even more accessible while each gallery has a unique character and provides all the time and space needed for our visitors to fully understand and enjoy our rich collection.” An impressive collection at that: MSK has a collection of more than 9,000 works, of which more than 450 are on display and have a time span of several centuries. Mostly works are from Dutch and Flemish painters: expect classical pieces, expressionism and realism from painters ranging from Bosch to Ensor. De Zegher: “One of our goals with the whole rearrangement is to stimulate a dialogue between the past and the present, between the old and the new. There are several works from contemporary artists hung across those from the days of yore and it is quite amazing to see how interaction and inspiration work. An extra is the fact we put a spotlight on lesser known artists and we relish being a stepping stone for these creators.”
Naturally the museum has several exhibitions, with one about Romanian visual artist Geta Brătescu doing very well at the moment. De Zegher: “A grande dame of the arts with her 91 years of age who took part in the Biennale in Venice in 2013 and 2017 and has an incredibly diverse collection. I’m all for also bringing more women artists to MSK and to have Brătescu is an honour.”
Web: www.mskgent.be/en Issue 48 | December 2017 | 77
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.