Coming up in its 9th edition between 18-21 May, 2023, Antwerp Art Weekend invites visitors to take a plunge into the city’s multi-layered art scene, through its abundance of museums, galleries, and art spaces.
From world-famous venues to contemporary project spaces, 62 venues are taking part with expanded offerings and extracurricular activities. It’s impossible to enumerate the full programme here, but let’s look at some highlights.
In Antwerp’s old slaughterhouse district, a new community arts space welcomes a site-specific set of installations. With a former power plant as their backdrop about 40 artists will be spread over two sites. Co-curated by Rooftoptiger collective, expect some of their signature highwire, mechanical artworks to blur the boundaries between art and performance.
If you’re out to discover rising stars of the art scene, you’ll also want to add a number of solo exhibitions by exciting contemporary artists to your to-see list. Art gallery De Wael 15 presents the first solo show of 24-year-old Belgian artist Amber Geuns, who won the Boghossian Foundation Prize last year. Her painting and drawing is otherworldly and risqué, playing with colour, texture and light and ideas of performance, consent and suffering.
Acclaimed German sculptor Stephen Balkenhol makes his Antwerp debut with a new series of sculptures at the KETELEER Gallery. His use of wood to depict figurative form, allowing cracks and fissures to add life and naivety, borrows from German woodcarving traditions and rebels against the abstraction of the mid-century work he grew up with.
Gallery FIFTY ONE TOO meanwhile welcomes its second solo exhibition by California-based photographer Deanna Templeton (US, 1969). In ‘What She Said’ (a title taken from a song by The Smiths), Templeton traces her own teenage journey through gig flyers and diary entries placed alongside candid portraits of adolescent women around the world.
For mixed media art fans Axel Vervoordt Gallery is hosting a feast, bringing clay and sack works by Mexican artist Bosco Sodi together with Peter Buggenhout’s ‘inside out’ giant sculptures made from industrial waste, horsehair, blood, guts and dust.
The established names will of course be out in force too. Man Ray and Fashion will be taking MoMu by storm. And KMSKA is still celebrating its refurbishment with an eerie photographic exhibition linking the history of photography with the history of World Fairs.
All locations are open 12-9 pm on Thursday, and 12-6 pm Friday through Sunday and can be visited in any order. A handy map helps you create your itinerary. One recommended starting spot is the centrally located De Studio.
To make a whole weekend of it, check out the best places to stay across the city courtesy of We Love Antwerp, who have the answer whether you fancy an historic guest house, city camping or urban luxury.
More information or guidance can be found at Antwerp Art Information Centre. Don’t forget bicycling is a great way to get around, especially with Velo, the city’s own bike service. It’s cheap and you’ll find bike stations all around town. Download the Velo app and the city’s De Lijn transport app for convenience.