Discover Benelux, Issue 68, August 2019

Page 47

Discover Benelux  |  Discover East Flanders  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

A circle of creation Renowned for spotting emerging talent, organising exhibitions, artist villages and the recurring large-scale event Coup de Ville, the art platform WARP was founded to promote contemporary art in Sint-Niklaas. Connecting the artistic scenes from Ghent and Antwerp, WARP’s progressive approach mediates playfully between the local and global cultural context. During WARP’s week-long event Artist Villages, upcoming artists from all over the world get the chance to meet industry professionals, discuss their work and receive feedback to kick-start their international career. The most promising of these artists


become part of WARP’s inner circle. This facilitates opportunities in other countries, and of course in the platform’s own 19th-century dwelling in central Sint-Niklaas. The 1,200 square-metre manor, with several exhibition spaces, an artist residency and large garden, once belonged to artist Jan Buytaert, who wrote in his will that his home should be turned into a cultural destination. Following the necessary renovations, the building now hosts short-term exhibitions padded out with readings and workshops around the chosen theme. While the displays are ever changing, WARP keeps a close eye on the artists’ works and often invites them back for more.

Coup de Ville 2013. Photo: Adrien Tirtiaux

Coup de Ville 2013. Photo:Carlos Aires

WARP’s largest event, the triennial Coup de Ville, is a citywide tour with art integrated into different locations throughout Sint-Niklaas. For the first time since its launch in 2010, WARP has given the artists a specific theme – Chasing Flowers. From the concept of beauty, to economics and migration, and reproduction – all artists choose their own angle to add to a concept that takes over the city. Coup de Ville: Chasing Flowers will be on display in 2020.


Coup de Ville 2016. Photo: Jonas Vansteenkiste

Craftsmanship interwoven with contemporary art TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTO: GALERIJ THEAXUS

Growing up in the Belgian town of Oudenaarde, Dorothea Van De Winkel became fascinated by local tapestry traditions at a young age. Later on, she decided to make her own tapestries and followed a multitude of training courses. The textile artist works on a traditional Basse-Lisse loom to transform pencil drawings into beautiful hand-woven tapestries. Galerij Theaxus is situated in the picturesque village of Kwaremont, where designer and textile weaver Van De Winkel demonstrates

her skills on the loom before guiding visitors through the exhibition area. “Tapestry weaving is labour intensive, but I use a modern technique which is faster than in the olden days,” says Van De Winkel. “The biggest pieces I make are 240 by 185 centimetres, and it takes me four to five months to complete one. That is, if I work eight hours a day, five days a week. But I have been known to get very engrossed in my work. When there’s an exhibition coming up, I have to work faster to be finished in time. Luckily, I have a very devoted mother who supports me.”

Van De Winkel’s work has been exhibited abroad and has won several prizes. Her original designs originate in her head. “I draw my memories, my thoughts,” she says. “With a pencil I pour them into abstract shapes, or my own figurative graphics. Then I might add some colour with paint. I enlarge the picture by hand and use that design as the basis for my tapestry.” Galerij Theaxus’ exhibitions also host other artists, with a variety of art forms on show. The gallery is well worth a visit for those who appreciate craftsmanship interwoven with contemporary art. Galerij Theaxus, Ommegangstraat 3, 9690 Kluisbergen-Kwaremont, Belgium


Dorothea Van De Winkel.


Issue 68  |  August 2019  |  47

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