Wouter Davidts: Writings & Projects


* Trading between Architecture and Art: Strategies and Practices of Exchange

9789492095671_Trading_between_cover_150dpi_325pxSince the 1960s, art and architecture have experienced a series of radical and reciprocal trades. While artists have simulated ‘architectural’ means like plans and models, built structures and pavilions outside art institutions, or intervened in urban and public spaces, architects have employed ‘artistic’ strategies inside art institutions, in exhibitions, biennales and art events. At the same time, art galleries and museums have combined both activities in an interdisciplinary, hybrid field, playing with the conditional differences between inside and outside the institution.
Trading between Architecture and Art zooms in on specific examples or ‘cases’ of these two-way transactions: artists adopting architectural means on the one hand, and architects adopting artistic strategies on the other. In particular, it presents in-depth studies of both historical and contemporary examples of the transposition of means and strategies from architecture to art, and vice versa, up to the point that established understandings of institutional categories, disciplinary concepts, and concrete practices become interestingly opaque, and meanings provocatively uncertain.

Download the Introduction here.
Buy the book here.

Editors: Wouter Davidts, Susan Holden, Ashley Paine
Contributors: Angelique Campens, Guy Châtel, Wouter Davidts, Mark Dorrian, Susan Holden, John Körmeling, Maarten Liefooghe, Mark Linder, John Macarthur, Philip Metten, Sarah Oppenheimer, Ashley Paine, Léa-Catherine Szacka, Annalise Varghese, Stefaan Vervoort, Stephen Walker, Rosemary Willink
Design: Sam de Groot
Series: Studies in Architecture and Art

2019, Valiz with The Australian Research Council, The University of Queensland, Ghent University, KASK School of Arts | paperback | 240 pp. | 24 x 17 cm (h x w) | English | ISBN 978-94-92095-67-1





* Philippe Vandenberg : Absence, etc.

Hauser&Wirth PublicationsThe first monograph on Belgian artist Philippe Vandenberg since his death in 2009, this book offers a rich and novel entry to his variegated oeuvre. Conceived of as a chronological portfolio of Vandenberg’s paintings and drawings, this lavishly illustrated book invites the reader to discover the artist’s adventurous and vacillating career, as he regularly shifted directions and took stylistic and formal detours, from figurative expression to lyrical abstraction, graffiti-like and comics-informed figuration to monochromes, and finally resorting to word- and text-based paintings.

Edited and with an introduction by Wouter Davidts, ‘Philippe Vandenberg: Absence, etc.’ contains an essay by leading art historian David Anfam, the last interview with Vandenberg by the artist Ronny Delrue, and a seminar discussion with Jo Applin, Anna Dezeuze, Maarten Liefooghe, Raphäel Pirenne, Merel van Tilburg, and John C. Welchman held at the studio of the artist in 2016.

Released on the occasion of the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth New York, 69th Street from 27 June to 29 July 2017.






Edited by Wouter Davidts
Text by Wouter Davidts and David Anfam
Interview between Ronny Delrue and Philippe Vandenberg, and transcriptions of a seminar between Jo Applin, Anna Dezeuze, Maarten Liefooghe, Raphäel Pirenne, Merel van Tilburg, and John C. Welchman
Book design: Vera Kaspar
Language: English
290 × 230 mm
252 pages
978 3 906915 04 3


* Triple Bond: Essays on Art, Architecture and Museums

triplebond-coverTriple Bond is not a book about museum architecture. That is, not only. While the fourteen essays gathered in this volume focus on the architecture of museums built over the past five decades, they also concentrate on larger develop­ments in art within that same timeframe. Likewise Triple Bond is not exclusively about art and architecture either. Even though it deals with the dialogue between the disciplines and practices of art and architecture, it contemplates just as much the changes within that very institution where the dialogue has been taking place most intensely: the museum.


With this collection of essays Wouter Davidts advances the tenet that art, architecture, and the museum are engaged in a complex yet inevitably historical relationship with one another, that is, they are triply bound to each other.

The book is divided into four parts: Platforms, Artists, Buildings, and Exhibitions, and contains case studies of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, Temporary Contemporary, p.s. 1, as well as the Antwerp Museum aan de Stroom (mas). It offers in-depth analyses of the understanding and use of museum and exhibition space by such widely acknowledged artists as Marcel Broodthaers, Daniel Buren, Robert Smithson, and Gordon Matta-Clark. Finally, it critically assesses contemporary responses to the spaces of the museum by the artist collective superflex at the Van Abbemuseum and by the assorted artists participat­ing in the Unilever Series at Tate Modern.

Triple Bond: Art, Architecture and Museums, Amsterdam: Valiz, 2017 [ISBN 978-90-78088-49-3]




Live or Die: Philippe Vandenberg – Bruce Nauman

live-or-die-2017-philippe-vandenberg-bruce-nauman-enLive or Die: Philippe Vandenberg – Bruce Nauman, Wouter Davidts (ed.), Veurne: Hannibal, 2017 [ISBN 978-94-9267-700-6]

This publication juxtaposes the works of Belgian artist Philippe Vandenberg (1952-2009) and American artist Bruce Nauman (b. 1941), on the occasion of the exhibition Live or Die at Gallery Sofie Van De Velde in Antwerp in Spring 2017. At first, it may seem startling to see Nauman’s small but dense selection of works alongside those by Vandenberg. The artists never met one another and they could not be more different in their choice of artistic media. And yet there’s something that links the oeuvre of these apparently divergent artists.

With texts by Dr. Brigitte Kölle (Head of Contemporary Art, Hamburger Kunsthalle), John C. Welchman (Professor of Art History, University of California, San Diego) and Anna Dezeuze (Lecturer in Art History, Ecole Supérieure d’Art et de Design Marseille Méditerranée).




* Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office: Orban Space

Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office: Orban Space is a comprehensive publication with both visual and written essays on the work and practice of Antwerp-based architect and urban planner Deleu and T.O.P. office. 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 bookproposes a conceptual topography, articulated upon seven lemmas: imitation, architecture, sculpture, mobility, scale, depiction and manifesto. A portrait, a catalogue of the works, exhibitions and writings (1967-2011), as well as an exchange about the future prospects of T.O.P. office complete this unique and groundbreaking volume.

With contributions by Maarten Delbeke (NL/BE), Aglaia Konrad (AUT/BE), Teresa Stoppani (K), Kersten Geers (BE), Felicity D. Scott (US), Luc Deleu (BE), John Macarthur (AU), Marjolijn Dijkman (NL), Guy Châtel (BE), Metahaven (NL), Stefaan Vervoort (BE), Manfred Pernice (DE), Wouter Davidts (BE), Koenraad Dedobbeleer & Kris Kimpe (BE), and Isabelle De Smet & Steven van den Bergh (BE).

Web_IMG_4845  web_IMG_4847  Web_IMG_4849  Web_IMG_4851

Web_IMG_4852  Web_IMG_4853  Web_IMG_4854  Luc Deleu_book

Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office: Orban Space, Edited by Wouter Davidts, Guy Châtel, and Stefaan Vervoort

isbn 978-90-78088-60-8


Publication Date: 30 November 2012

* CRACK: Koen van den Broek

CRACK: Koen van den Broek is published on the occasion of the exhibition Curbs & Cracks by Koen van den Broek at the S.M.A.K. in Ghent in the spring of 2010 (www.smak.be). The publication does not serve as a conventional catalogue but as a proper discursive and visual project alongside the exhibition. It is the first substantial study of the work and practice of van den Broek, opening up different theoretical and conceptual perspectives.

A wide range of contributors has been invited to discuss particular topics within the work of van den Broek, based on their proper backgrounds and expertise as writers, academics and artists: the legacy of abstract painting (Andrew Renton, Goldsmiths, London), the collaboration with John Baldessari (John Welchman, University of California, San Diego), film as a source of inspiration (Merel van Tilburg, Université de Génève), the role and meaning of photography (Dirk Lauwaert, Brussels), exhibition strategies (Liesbeth Bik en Jos Van der Pol, Rotterdam) and the representation of landscape and architecture (Wouter Davidts, VU University Amsterdam).

The book is compiled by Wouter Davidts and designed by Metahaven (Amsterdam).

Publisher: Valiz, Amsterdam (www.valiz.nl) and Lannoo, Tielt (www.lannoo.be)

Valiz ISBN 978 90 78088 41 7

Lannoo ISBN 978 90 209 8857 4

Publication date: January 2010

Full PDF: full_pdf_Koen_van_den_Broek__CRACK__2010-libre


Maarten Liefooghe in De Witte Raafhttp://www.dewitteraaf.be/artikel/detail/nl/3573


* The Fall of the Studio: Artists at Work

The Fall of the Studio: Artists at Work is an original collection of essays on the artist’s studio as key trope, institutional construct, and critical theme in art of the second half of the 20th century and the early 21st century. This book ambitiously questions the many assumptions that underlie the popular and international discussions of the so-called post-studio era. Instead of upholding the accepted wisdom or narrative that the arist’s studio has fallen, it traces its shifting nature and identity in postwar art production and art criticism, across media and geographies. The essays are devoted to artists at work, or to individual artists and their understanding and use of the place of work (Eva Hesse, Mark Rothko, Olafur Eliasson, Bruce Nauman, Robert Morris, Daniel Buren, Martin Kippenberger, Paul McCarthy, Jason Rhoades, Jan De Cock).

Editors: Wouter Davidts & Kim Paice

With contributions by Wouter Davidts, Julia Gelshorn, MaryJo Marks, Kim Paice, Kirsten Swenson, Morgan Thomas, Philip Ursprung, Jon Wood.

Designed by Metahaven, Amsterdam

isbn: 978-90-78088-29-5

Publication date: June 2009

See: http://www.valiz.nl

The Antennae Series of Valiz Publishers has been awarded for De Best Verzorgde Boeken 2009 / The Best Designed Books 2009http://www.bestverzorgdeboeken.nl/

Exhibition at the Temporary Stedelijk at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 16/10/2010 – 19/01/2011 (www.stedelijk.nl)


Merel van Tilburg, De Doorstart van het atelier, in De Witte Raafhttp://www.dewitteraaf.be/artikel/detail/nl/3509 or Review_WitteRaaf144_totaal_theFall

Alex Coles in Artmonthly: Review_ArtMonthlyMay2010_theFall

Dominic van den Boogerd in Open: Review_Open2010,19_theFall

Rachel Esner in Perspective: Perspective_2011-3_23_ACTU_ESNER


* Bouwen voor de kunst? Museumarchitectuur van Centre Pompidou tot Tate Modern

Although new museums sit amongst the most prestigious and important commissions for the contemporary architectural discipline, there is no substantial discourse within architectural theory on museum architecture. The concepts employed in discussions around museum architecture tend to be reductive and simplistic, such as the provocation that museums need to be built ‘for art’.

Bouwen voor de Kunst? both weakens and nuances this statement. I argue that the common tendency to conceive of museums primarily as buildings immediately reduces the issue of museum architecture to the relation of art to architecture, negates the complexity of the museum’s architectural programme and underestimates the role of the institutional interface between the two disciplines.

The chapters do not offer an architecture-critical discussion of recent museums, but an architecture- and art-theoretical examination of the museum institution. The statement that museums need to be built for art is assessed by an in-depth analysis of a series of artistic practices that have led a critical investigation of art’s place in the museum (Minimal art, Daniel Buren, Robert Smithson, Gordon Matta-Clark and the Alternative Spaces Movement). The resulting research into the spatial and architectural preoccupations of these artists then serves as a theoretical framework for an analysis of the shift in architectural programme between the Centre Pompidou and Tate Modern. Davidts reveals that this shift – between the built to the reconverted factory – leads to crucial changes in the translation of the institutional program of the museum of contemporary art – the relentless aspiration to act as a site of artistic production – into the architectural brief.

In Bouwen voor de Kunst? I demonstrate that the museum never delivers a home for art, but a stage on which where artworks are granted the possibiltiy to lead another life than that of their so-called authentic moment of production, to gain meaning elsewhere.

Bouwen voor de kunst? is the book-version of my PhD (GHent University, 2003).


21 x 13 cm, 430 blz

Designed by Vinca Kruk & Adriaan Mellegers

Published by A&S/Books, Ghent University

Printed by Cultura

Dutch (NL) edition

Publication date: 05/2006

ISBN 9076714282


You can download a full pdf-version of the publication here: BVDK_FINAL


* Museum in ¿Motion?

This cd-rom publication contains the proceedings of the conference Museum in ¿Motion? that took place on 12 & 13 November 2004 at Museum Het Domein in Sittard and at the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The cd-rom is shell to a fully-fledged book. You can either navigate through the papers on a digital level or choose to create a material copy by printing them. The event was jointly organised by the Jan Van Eyck Academie Maastricht, Museum Het Domein, and the Department of Architecture & Urban Planning of the University of Ghent (UGent).

You can download a full pdf-version of the publication here: MIM

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