Wouter Davidts: Writings & Projects



Palais des Beaux-Arts – Paleis voor Schone Kunsten
BOZAR, Brussels, BE


In 2022 it is time to celebrate for Bozar. 4 April 1922, Brussels Town Hall:  The date when the Centre for Fine Arts (‘Palais des Beaux-Arts’) was officially launched. The judicial basis for the construction and the associated ambition of creating an arts centre had become a reality. The statutes that establish this historic moment are the starting point for centenary celebrations that begin with the Project Palace exhibition and a celebratory programme in April 2022.
Bozar, together with curator Wouter Davidts, has invited 10 artists to participate in the celebrations by producing new work that reflects on what an arts centre such as Bozar can and should be now and into the future.  They focus on the arts centre today, as well as offer glimpses of its long history – including the chance to view a number of works exhibited in the past that will return to the Palace of Fine Arts. Rather than a history of the ‘Palace,’ the exhibition will act as an artistic retelling and a look to the future.

Invited Artists: Lara Almarcegui, Jeremiah Day, Sylvie Eyberg, Liam Gillick, Annaïk Lou Pitteloud, Lynn Cassiers, Koen van den Broek, Sammy Baloji & Johan Lagae & Traumnovelle, Auguste Orts (Herman Asselberghs, Sven Augustijnen, Manon de Boer, Anouk De Clercq, Fairuz Ghammam)

Special Guests: Chantal Akerman, Ann Teresa De Keersmaeker, Raoul De Keyser, Duke Ellington, Olivier Foulon, Vic Gentils, Maxime Jean-Baptiste, Jane Graverol, Sandra Heremans, Guy Mees, Jaqueline Mesmaeker, Sergej Rachmaninov, Michael Van den Abeele, Raphäel Vanlerberghe, and Jan Vercruysse

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Koen van den Broek, Red Carpet, 2021; pencil and oil on paper, 35 x 50 cm


Round About or Inside
Griffith University Art Museum, Brisbane, Australia
30/09 – 20/11/2021

Art Monthly Ad_Round About or Inside copy

In the book Species of Spaces (Espèces d’espaces, 1974) French novelist and philosopher Georges Perec elaborates on the predicament of understanding space. “The space of our lives is neither continuous, nor infinite, neither homogeneous, nor isotropic.” To get a better sense of space, Perec argues, the challenge is not so much “to reinvent space, … but to question it, or even simpler, to read it.” His subject is not the void exactly, but rather what might be round about or inside it:

“When nothing arrests our gaze, it carries a very long way. But if it meets with nothing, it sees nothing, it sees only what it meets. Space is what arrests our gaze, what our sight stumbles over: the obstacle, the bricks, an angle, a vanishing point. Space is when it makes an angle, when it stops, when we have to turn for it to start off again.”

Round About or Inside aims to explore how artists from different geographic and cultural contexts might contribute to Perec’s attempt to map and describe the manifold spaces and sites that mark our lives. To what extent do art and artists partake in defining, shaping and ultimately understanding the spatialities of worldmaking?

The artists included in this exhibition have not been invited to illustrate the many observations and guidelines provided by Perec, but to bring to the gallery works that reflect their own modes and means of apprehending space. Their positions are as rich as they are diverse, addressing space as a pictorial substance, a field defining the relationship between land and being, a bodily feature, an architectural material, the sphere of social gathering and exclusion, an arena of ritual exchange, a new way to negotiate gallery spaces, a feat of technological exploration, and a realm of administrative organisation.

Artists: Paul Bai (AUS), Elizabeth Djakurrurr (AUS), Valérie Mannaerts (BEL), Philip Metten (BEL), Archie Moore (AUS), Yukultji Napangati (AUS), Brian O’Doherty (USA), Sarah Oppenheimer (USA), Steve Van den Bosch (BEL)
Scenography: Ashley Paine (AUS)
Curators: Wouter Davidts (BEL) and Angela Goddard (AUS)

Round About or Inside is supported by the research project “Is Architecture Art? A history of concepts, categories and recent practices,” funded by the Australian Research Council and The University of Queensland’s School of Architecture / Architecture Theory Criticism History Research Centre (ATCH), in partnership with Ghent University (UGent).


installation shots (Carl Warner):

After Scale Model: Dwelling in the Work of James Casebere

BOZAR, Brussels, BE

16/06 – 04/09/2016


Following a major retrospective at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, BOZAR opens its doors to James Casebere. This American photographer studied with John Baldessari and obtained his Master of Arts from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). His work is marked by a profound interest in architecture. Yet rather than focusing his lens on the actual buildings, he makes scale models of them, which he then photographs.
During the International Biennial of Photography Casebere presents an intricate ensemble of domestic interiors and settings in the antechambers of Victor Horta’s Centre for Fine Arts. Three works mark the historical link between the artist, Brussels and Belgium: Screw Device (1991), Cell with Rubble (1996) and Turning Hallway (2003).




installation shots:

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The Corner Show

Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp

12/09 – 13/12/2015


Accattone (BE), Wim Catrysse (BE), Céline Condorelli (UK), Jan De Cock (BE), Koenraad Dedobbeleer, (BE), Ferry André de la Porte (NL), Willem de Rooij (NL), Lili Dujourie (BE), Maatschappij Discordia (NL), Kersten Geers (BE), Aglaia Konrad (AT), Germaine Kruip (NL), Gabriel Kuri (MX), Valérie Mannaerts (BE), Josiah McElheny (US), Katja Mater (NL), Manfred Pernice (DE), Bas Schevers (NL), Santiago Sierra (ES), Steve Van den Bosch (BE), Koen van den Broek (BE), Joep Van Liefland (DE), and Philippe Van Snick (BE).

Corners are everywhere: not only rooms have corners, but so do streets, objects, paintings, screens and pages. Corners are among the many modes of delineation that enclose space and demarcate routes, that increase or delimit areas of possibility. They epitomize the different ways in which structures and systems at once foster and limit our movements or actions in daily experience.

Questions about the space, function and figure of the corner appear in a variety of artistic and architectural practices. ‘Untitled (Corner Piece)’ (1964), by Robert Morris has become a key work in the art history of the past decades. As it occupied an exceptional space in the traditional gallery, it became a reference for the spatial strategies developed by artists after Minimalism, and for the manifold ‘corner pieces’ artists have produced ever since.

IMG_0086While ‘The Corner Show’ knowingly relates to this art historical canon, it adopts a deliberate contemporary vantage point. The exhibition outlines the conceptual and visual reasons for which certain works inhabit the edges of exhibition spaces, engaging the viewer in particular ways and deflecting attention from the ‘center of the stage’. But rather than a collection of corner pieces, the exhibition draws upon conversations with participating artists and assembles different contributions from each in a multi-perspectival puzzle, zooming in and out of different modes of spatial presence and spatial address. Bringing together a wide range of practitioners, stemming from different disciplines – from art, architecture, music to theatre – and working with different media – sculpture, painting, film, photography, performance as well as design – the exhibition aims to explore how the corner suggests itself as solution, station or metaphor in investigations that stem from different artistic premises, or advance different conceptual propositions.

Axiometrie_Philip Metten_A3_geen vaste schaal-02Within a sculptural scenography conceived by artist Philip Metten, ‘The Corner Show’ brings together existing, adapted and commissioned works that either occupy, scrutinize or challenge the most commonplace, overlooked and intricate architectural feature of both exhibition space and daily environment.

Curated by Wouter Davidts in collaboration with Philip Metten and Mihnea Mircan.

In collaboration with A+ Architecture in Belgium, theatre company De Tijd and the Sculpture Program of the Ghent Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK).

The exhibition enjoyed the generous support of The Flemish Community, Belgium, and the Mondriaan Fund, The Netherlands.

Download here the exhibition guide: exhibition guide





Installation shots (© Jan Kempenaers; School of Arts Ghent)

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Orban Space: Luc Deleu & T.O.P. office

Curated by Wouter Davidts and Stefaan Vervoort, in dialogue with T.O.P. office.

Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp, 15/09 – 7/11/2013


Pictures of the opening night 14/09

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Pictures of the installation

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Lecture programhttp://extracitykunsthal.org/ECK13/en/project-category/side-program/

03/10 : Luc Deleu (BE) & Chantal Pattyn (BE); 10/10 : Hugh Campbell (IRE); 17/10 : Drama Students, Royal Conservatory Antwerp (BE); 07/11 : Adrian Lahoud (UK); 14/11 : Mark Jarzombek (US) & Adrien Tirtiaux (BE)

Exhibition Guidesexhibition-guide-ENG / exhibition-guide-NL / orban-guide-en / orban-guide-nl



Friends & Neighbors

Atelier Koen van den Broek, Merksem : 17/03/2013

With works by Jo Baer, John Baldessari, Barak Architecten, Ben Benaouisse, Fred Bervoets, John Bijnens, Wim Catrysse, Jan Cox, Stef Driessen, Daan Gielis, Dan Graham, Brecht Koelman, Karl Phillips, Guy Van Bossche, Koen van den Broek, Patrick Vanden Eynde, Wilfried Vandenhove, Wim Vander Celen & Cindy Wright.

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Orban Space: Luc Deleu & T.O.P. office

Curated by Wouter Davidts and Stefaan Vervoort, in dialogue with T.O.P. office.

Stroom Den Haag, 20/01 – 24/03/2013

Luc Deleu, Less is Less, 2013; Stroom Den Haag, NLhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8m_6zhxQII

Luc Deleu, Less is Less, 2013; Stroom Den Haag, NL

When the Belgian architect and artist Luc Deleu (°1944) founded T.O.P. office in 1970, the name he chose resonated as an admonition: Turn On Planning! Centered on contemporary concerns about the vertiginous population growth, uneven food production, rash environmental pollution, and the friction between the individual and mass society, Deleu developed an eco-centric and global urbanism, operatively recast as Orbanism.

Over the past four decades, Deleu and T.O.P. office have produced a rich and multifaceted body of work, consisting of architectural projects and urban schemes, as well as visionary proposals, specific objects and installations, and critical writings. Principally driven by the planetary dimension of human activity, Orbanism addresses the main questions confronting architecture and urban planning in the second half of the 20th and at the start of the 21st century, while entering into a critical dialogue with former utopian formulations.

The exhibition Orban Space: Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office centres upon Orban Space, the latest research project initiated by Luc Deleu-T.O.P. office in 2006. Orban Space brings to full circle the ambition of T.O.P. office to develop a theoretical framework and a practical methodology to think about public space on a global scale, and ultimately to develop suitable strategies to design it.

In a unique scenography devised by T.O.P. office, the exhibition will distribute a distinct selection of previous works and projects around recent results of Orban Space. Newly produced work will be put into an historical perspective by means of older works and projects, as well as through a distinct selection of sketches, models, design tools and archival documents from 1969 to 2011, many of which have never been shown to the public to this date.

Neither a solo-show nor a retrospective, the exhibition first and foremost wishes to provide unforeseen perspectives and to unveil new ensembles within the oeuvre as a whole. It hopes to retrace the many recurrent operations, actions and strategies that mark the work and practice of Deleu-T.O.P. office.

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IMG_0189  IMG_0188  layout stroom Luc Deleu - T.O.P. office

Download the exhibition guide hereOrban Space_NL / Orban Space_E

In parallel with the exhibition, a comprehensive publication with both visual and written essays on the work and practice of Deleu and T.O.P. office is published by Valiz, Amsterdam (ISBN 978-90-78088-60-8; http://www.valiz.nl). It brings together, for the first time, an international group of artists and scholars in an effort to chart this intri­cate body of work, and to situate this practice within a broader historical and theoretical framework.

The project Orban Space: The Work and Practice of Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office is a collaboration between Stroom Den Haag, centre for art and architecture, Luc Deleu-T.O.P. Office, Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen, VU University Amsterdam and Valiz books and cultural projects.

The project is partly made possible by the support of Vlaams-Nederlands Huis deBuren, Mondriaan Stichting, Stimuleringsfonds voor Architectuur, Fonds Beeldende Kunst, Vormgeving en Bouwkunst (FBKVB), SNS Realfonds and VU University Amsterdam.

Production Partners for the exhibition are LLS 387 (Antwerp) and Etablissement d’en face (Brussels).


Marieke Hillen on Archined: http://www.archined.nl/recensies/2013/maart/over-de-kracht-van-een-dag-plak-boek-werk/

Janneke Wesseling in NRC, Saterday 23 February :NRC_recensie



Galerie Micheline Szwajcer
Verlatstraat 14
B-2000 Antwerp

Installation shots:



ABSTRACT USA (1958-1968): In the Galleries

Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede

11 September 2010 – 20 February 2011

The exhibition Abstract USA (1958-1968): In the Galleries presents a selection of artworks from the No Hero Foundation, a private collection of modern and contemporary art on a long-term loan to the Rijksmuseum Twente in Enschede. The exhibition will show abstract painting from the United States, made in the period 1958-1968, largely known as post-painterly abstraction or systemic painting.

Works by Norman Bluhm, Gene Davis, Friedl Dzubas, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Michael Goldberg, Al Held, Alfred Jensen, Donald Judd, Joan Mitchell, Louise Nevelson, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons and Frank Stella.

Curator: Wouter Davidts

Assitant Curator: Jesse Van Winden (VAMA Research Master Student, VU University Amsterdam)

Design: Studio Berry Slok


Installation shots:

On Saturday 18 September AVRO Kunstuur screened a short tv-documentary on the exhibition. To view the program: http://player.omroep.nl/?aflID=11446011&start=11:04

On February 16 2011, the ambassador of the United States of America Fay Hartog Levin visited Rijksmuseum Twenthe, accompanied by her staff and Peter den Oudsten, the mayor of Enschede: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rijksmuseum-twenthe/sets/72157625941896485/with/5450546825/


Trouw, Anthony Fiumara : Trouw_20_09_2010

De Witte Raaf, Merel van Tilburg: http://www.dewitteraaf.be/

Knack, Luk Lambrecht: http://www.knack.be/



Flor Bex, Sketch for a Museum of Contemporary Art, behind the building with the work Office Baroque (Gordon Matta-Clark, 1977), s.d.. (© Archief Flor Bex)


Extra City, Antwerp

29 June – 23 September 2007

The exhibition Beginners and Begetters departs from an unrealized project of 1955 for an Art Museum in Antwerp by the Belgian architect François Jamagne, published in the legendary book Megastructure. Urban Futures of the Recent Past (Harper & Row, 1976) by British architectural historian and critic Reyner Banham. This obscure but in Banham’s words ‘remarkably forward-looking project’ by Jamagne is but one of the many schemes that architects, museum directors and officials dreamed up for the lacking infrastructure for institutions and museums of contemporary art in post-war Flanders. Due to the fact that it took until the mid-eighties and later for the three major museums in Antwerp, Ghent and Ostend to occupy their proper building, all three have an elaborate pre-history of unbuilt projects and plans. Due to the most diverse reasons, most of these were doomed to remain fictitious and unknown to the public. Presenting a historical cartography of these manifold and often visionary projects of the recent past, the exhibition aims to elicit a discussion on the future role and significance of architecture in the Flemish landscape of art institutions.

Research: Wouter Davidts & Tine Cooreman

Graphic Design: Vinca Kruk & Adriaan Mellegers

See: http://www.extracity.org/

Installation shots:



6/10 2006 – 17/12 2007

De Garage – Mechelen

The exhibition Philippe Van Snick: Undisclosed Recipients presented for the first time early photographic works by the Belgian artist Philippe Van Snick, in dialogue with key wall pieces, paintings, video installations and sculptures by the artist.

Curated by Wouter Davidts and Hilde van Gelder, in collaboration with Philippe Van Snick

Installation shots:

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