M HKA BECOMES A CONTEMPORARY FORUM FOR ART, THE PUBLIC AND THE WORLD artBahrain January 28, 2017 art guide At its Antwerp museum, The Flemish Community finally starts with a museal framework for the leading contemporary art scene in Flanders. From April 28 on, M HKA will show a permanent core collection of reference artists from the museum: contemporary heroes, historical pioneers and tastemakers from the museum’s worldwide collection. In addition to this permanent collection presentation, which will be free of charge, the museum’s look and feel will be totally redefined too, with a well-developed, multilingual, both digital and experiential reception infrastructure that will target a broad and diverse audience. From that date on, M HKA will feature a unique entrance, containing a library/reading room. By adding this space – both the visitor’s first contact with the museum and the M HKA’s heart – M HKA sets a major step from functioning as a ‘Kunsthalle’ to a full museal commitment. M HKA is developing this innovative project together with top designer Axel Vervoordt and Japanese architect Tatsuro Miki, with the support of Flemish Minister for Culture Sven Gatz and Flemish Minister for Tourism Ben Weyts. For the first time, M HKA gets a permanent and freely accessible collection exhibition with iconic masterpieces: a must-see for anyone visiting Antwerp. In addition, there will still be room for temporary collection exhibitions that are freely accessible as well. There will also be a well-developed, multilingual, digital and experiential reception infrastructure, targeting a broad and diverse audience. Thanks to this support, M HKA can become a cultural meeting place where the world can get to know the international contemporary art of Flanders. At the centre of the M HKA project, we find the notion of Flemish Masters. Visual arts in and from Flanders are a relevant export product – both culturally and economically. And they are not only a contemporary given, but rooted in history too: Flanders is a centre of global importance for both early modernity (from the Flemish Primitives, through the humanistic sixteenth century, till Rubens and the Baroque) and fin-de-siècle pre-modernism; both the modernism of the first half and that of the second half of the twentieth century. With this project, M HKA and the Flemish Community already want to redefine the institution’s look and feel, in order to offer local and international visitors a total museum experience. That is to say, one that is adapted to contemporary needs and requirements, with a permanent collection at its core, and with pronounced expertise functions in terms of scientific research, archival activity, visitor information and visitor’s comfort. The museum wants to be an ambassador of visual culture in Flanders, by linking a rich history to high-profile contemporary art, all this combined with Antwerp’s rich tradition as an avant-garde city – a tradition the museum wants to promote and further develop. As far as infrastructure is concerned, M HKA will realise this project by creating different zones, each with its own focus and story: • an entrance hall where visitors can wait before they meet, with information about the museum and referral to other art and cultural institutions in the city; • a reading room that evokes the quiet of a library experience and positions the museum as a place for encounter and reflection, linked to a permanent display of collection works by, amongst others, Paul Van Hoeydonck, Vaast Colson, Panamarenko, Marlow Moss and Koen van den Broek; • (the impetus for) a permanent collection exhibition with masterpieces by Flemish artists shown in dialogue with international artists, with works by amongst others Jan Fabre, James Lee Byars, Luc Deleu, Jimmie Durham, Jef Geys, Gordon Matta-Clark, Luc Tuymans, Cady Noland and Panamarenko; • temporary collection exhibitions of works from the collection, shown from constantly changing angles; • an area for temporary exhibitions with a flexible character that pay attention to monographic presentations of artists from here and abroad. The redesign of M HKA’s reception and presentation infrastructure is by Axel Vervoordt, a top designer who works with prestigious clients worldwide. Vervoordt is not only known as an interior designer, but for his exhibitions at the Venice Biennale too: there, at Palazzo Fortuny, he created a new kind of space for displaying contemporary art. Axel Vervoordt is also a company that employs more than a hundred people. Recently, it opened a gallery in Hong Kong, signalling the enormous art potential for Flanders, not only as far as tourism goes, but economically as well. The festive reopening of the museum will take place on Thursday 27.04.2017. Please note that only the 4th, 5th and 6th floors of the museum are open between these dates.