A Traveling Gallery Show in Belgium Offers a Renewed Sense of Discovery
August may be a sleepy time of year, but there are signs of life this month in the coastal Belgian town of Knokke. This summer, the galleries Barbé Urbain and Atelier Ecru, located in Ghent, have teamed up to present a temporary exhibition of collectible design and contemporary art outside of their dedicated spaces. Named to evoke a sense of discovery, the Magellan show brings together works by a host of artists and designers in the De Beir residence, an iconic early Modernist building. Designed by Belgian architect Huib Hoste, who was greatly influenced by the Dutch de Stijl movement, and built in 1924, the De Beir house provides an inviting backdrop and context for the variety of media and methods on display.
The group show includes mesmerizing fields of color from Charlie De Voet and Alex de Bruker, Adelheid De Witte’s mysterious abstract landscapes, plaster paintings by Stijn Ank, and canvases by Imi Knoebel and the duo Flexboj & LA. Textiles are prominent with woven wall works by daffodil enthusiast Thomas Renwart along with intricate pieces from Nathalie Van der Massen, Adeline Halot, and Delphine Cobbaert. Add to that: works from Alice Vanderschoot, Andy Wauman, Enrique Marty, and Nelleke Cloosterman.
In one of the three display rooms, you can marvel at the way Domingos Tótora makes recycled cardboard look like carved stone and Katrien Doms uses fire to shape and hollow out wood. Also not-to-be-missed: objects and furnishings by BRUT Collective; sculptures by Joost Pauwaert and Maurius Ritiu; Jojo Corväiá’s texture-rich vessels; Carine Boxy’s colorful rugs; sculptural tables by Maria Scarpulla, Frédéric Saulou, Cedric Breisacher, Tim Vranken, and Maison Armand Jonckers; and work from archeologically-inclined Pierre De Valck, as well as Wendy Andreu, Laurids Gallée, Sizar Alexis, Lucas Morten, and Tim Teven.
Gallerist Christophe Urbain is the connective tissue here, having established Barbé Urbain with Oliver Barbé and founding Atelier Ecru with Stéphanie Frederickx almost five years ago. Barbé Urbain focuses on supporting emerging and established artists while Atelier Ecru specializes in contemporary, Brutalist, and modern works by both Belgian and international designers. Magellan is up through August 28th.