7 July – 15 September 2013
Curator: Lorenzo Benedetti
The Middelburg Foundation for Visual Arts (SBKM) / Vleeshal is in charge of Middelburg’s municipal art collection, which is stored at the Museum of Modern Art in Antwerp. Parts of the collection are periodically on show in a series of exhibitions at the Vleeshal Markt and Vleeshal Zusterstraat. In 2011, after a number of retrospective exhibitions, Pipilotti Rist’s work Grossmut begatte mich was on display. In 2012 it was the turn of the recently purchased L’isola by Rossella Biscotti, to be followed later in the year by Nedko Solakov’s A Quiz (again). This year the spotlight is on Jimmie Durham’s 1995 work The Center of the World.
Vleeshal is a unique center for contemporary art, not only because of its atypical exhibition space and exciting programming, but also because it has a collection. In the 1990s, under the impetus of then director Lex ter Braak, an ambitious collection of contemporary visual art was begun. This collection was intended for a newly envisioned museum in Middelburg, designed by Aldo and Hannie van Eyck. In 1995 it became clear that, unfortunately, there was insufficient political support for this museum. The impetus of collection building had therefore lost its possible context and visibility and encumbered Vleeshal. The collection had become a storage cost and management issue.
The collection was given on long-term loan to the M HKA in Antwerp, because of the close historical ties between Middelburg and Antwerp, the collection profile of the M HKA, and the fact that Bart De Baere was a member of the committee that purchased artworks for the yet-to-be-built Middelburg museum in the 1990s.
The collection concerns two blocks, on the one hand, national and local art from the BKR scheme (the abbreviation BKR refers to the Dutch Artist Subsidy Scheme, unique in the world, which from 1949 until 1987 provided artists with a (temporary) income in exchange for artworks or other artistic compensations). On the other hand a start to a radically international collection of contemporary art, with a few large ensembles by a limited number of artists (including Jimmie Durham, Nedko Solakov, Suchan Kinoshita, Cameron Jamie, Pippilotti Rist, and Job Koelewijn).
There has been no active acquisition policy for years. The collection is expanded here and there with sporadic purchases and donations from artists who are part of the Vleeshal program.