CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

A story of the image

Exhibition: 1 May - 21 June 2009

From the exhibition website, 17 June 2009

A story of the image presents a collection of artworks from the city of Antwerp (Belgium), which is both a historical and contemporary centre for the development of the possibilities of the image. The artworks embody the balancing act between the visible and the invisible. They are on loan from the collections of important Antwerp museums: the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum Plantin-Moretus/Print room that is recognised as UNESCO world heritage, and MuHKA (Museum for Contemporary Art) that closely follows the developments in art and image culture.

Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a revolution took place in the West concerning the world of the image. The international art market first came into being in Antwerp. The artist came to stand apart from clients and was forced to start working for unknown destinations and clients. As a consequence new genres evolved, such as landscapes and still lives. Alongside this development the reproduction of images became possible thanks to developments in printing techniques. This was to lay the foundations for today’s globalised image culture.

Today the world can be experienced as a place in which one is engulfed by images: we live in a place marked by the mass media and mass consumption. Within this context, innumerable artists from the same region, once so significant to the beginnings of the mass media, deliberately distance themselves from it. They approach the image in an alternative way and probe its limits. They make us acutely aware of the image. And, just as in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, they have an attention for the everyday, the insignificant: the slight, barely existent, is everything.

Related events