Hof van Busleyden Museum and De Garage to write a new story together

Hof van Busleyden Museum and De Garage to write a new story together

As of September, the contemporary art space De Garage will integrate with Mechelen’s Hof van Busleyden Museum. The institutions have been working together behind the scenes for a while now. The exhibition Maen Florin–Stefan Serneels–Xavier Noiret-Thomé, due to open on 19 September, will offer a first glimpse of their new collaboration and make the integration of De Garage’s contemporary visual art with the Hof van Busleyden Museum visible to the public at large. The name ‘De Garage’ will be retained as it is a very strong brand in Belgian and international art circles and will continue to provide a forum for breakthrough artists.

The City wants this integration to generate a tighter and more dynamic exhibition offering that will broaden the audience for both approaches. It’s a combination that will open up new national and international perspectives for Mechelen. Historical and new art exist here in dialogue with one another.

By integrating De Garage with the Hof van Busleyden Museum, the City aims to develop and professionalize their existing expertise and strengths, while enhancing their effectiveness. Koen Leemans, the former director of the Mechelen Cultural Centre, brings his extensive knowledge of the field as of today to the position of Contemporary Art Curator at the museum and will set out a vision for the contemporary strand. The integration of De Garage marks a further step in the Hof van Busleyden Museum’s transhistorical dialogue.


De Garage as contemporary sanctuary for visual art

De Garage has created a sanctuary for established and young practitioners alike, in which the artist and their work are the absolute focus. It is an approach that dovetails perfectly with the spirit of the Hof van Busleyden Museum as a place whose original owner put human beings centre stage and constructed a safe haven for intellectual experimentation. Dialogue and developing talent were very important to the Humanists – a historical line we’re keen to extend into the future. Mechelen also gives artistic talent the oxygen it needs through our exhibitions policy.

The triple-headed Florin–Serneels–Noiret-Thomé exhibition represents the first substantive line within this new approach. The three artists are being presented at De Garage both individually and in relation to each other. Maen Florin is also showing her work at the city’s historic Church of St John (Sint-Janskerk) and at the Hof van Busleyden Museum, where she will pursue a dialogue with the historical art.


Polyphonic dialogue between old and new

For the new exhibition, Maen Florin will step both literally and figuratively outside the boundaries of De Garage, where some of her work will be shown. Other pieces by the contemporary artist will be displayed in the Sint-Janskerk, where the characteristic heads she sculpts will seek ways to relate to St John, to whom the church is dedicated. At the museum, meanwhile, her work will tie in with the themes of the institution itself as well as the formal language of the works of art there. As occurred in the Renaissance, a dialogue will be sought with the past, with the artist adding fresh perspectives. These will invite viewers to look at the existing masterpieces in a different way and will add a contemporary dimension to the museum circuit.


Underground gallery to focus on exhibitions of international scope

The Antwerp artist Cindy Wright is on the exhibition schedule for the autumn. Her monumental skull images will be shown in the underground exhibition space, where they will interact with the museum’s permanent display.

Following the integration, therefore, De Garage will be using two primary locations: De Garage opposite St Rombout’s Cathedral and the underground exhibition space at the Hof van Busleyden Museum. Depending on the show, there will also be the option of expanding to other suitable locations, such as the city’s historic churches or the exhibition spaces at Mechelen Cultural Centre.