Belgian Art & Diplomacy

Art and diplomacy are not immediately connected in people’s minds. The world of diplomacy is one of consensus and compromise, of protocol rules and legislative frameworks, of smoothing things over and acting discreetly. Art and artists, on the other hand, have a rather rebellious or contrary image or are at least seen as critical and questioning. They do not shy away from challenging authority and do not care about labels. Yet one does not have to hold on to clichéd representations of both worlds. After all, wasn't Rubens also known for his diplomatic talents?

Publications and exhibitions

Find on this page all publications and exhibitions supported by Belgian Art & Diplomacy.
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Invisible, scan and read

Invisible

The FPS wants to give more visibility to its art collection. After the summer exhibition and publication "Art & Diplomacy", a new publication has now been completed, "Invisible". This publication includes a selection of artworks by female artists. Due in part to their worldwide distribution in the semi-public spaces of Belgian diplomatic posts, these works of art have not been very visible up until now. The FPS wants to show that diplomatic missions are sustainably employed as places of art where female voices are also seen and heard. This diversity of voices plays a role on the artistic and diplomatic stage. They contribute to dialogue and understanding in an ever-changing world. This publication is - that goes without saying - a work in progress.

International Museum Day (IMD)

The theme of IMD2021 is ‘The Future of Museums: Recover and Recreate’.

Even if the FPS Foreign Affairs is not a museum, we do manage a public art collection. 

On this 18th of May we share some videos while the restorer Christine De Wilde is treating some of the art works from our collection. When art works pass the art depot Brussels we check upon necessity of a treatment. If an artwork in a Belgian diplomatic mission abroad needs a treatment, we like to collaborate with local restorers and institutions. An example is the recent restoration of a painting by a restorer from the Benaki Museum in Athens. 

Special thanks to Christine De Wilde and photographer Gert Cools and the social media team Belgian Art & Diplomacy for the visuals. 

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Brochure Bright Future

Bright Future

The photos Bright Future and Memory of a Trip to Nowhere by Tom Woestenborghs returned from the Belgian embassy in Washington in 2020 and have been on the wall in the Belgian Permanent Representation to NATO ever since. The photos could not find a better spot. Why? Because:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO for short, was established on 4 April 1949 by 'The Washington Treaty'. 

NATO is a political-military alliance based on the collective defence of the allies, aimed at preventing conflicts and maintaining peace and security. The Alliance continuously adapts to the changing international security context and threats. In addition to military deterrence and defence, non-military instruments are part of its toolkit. 

Since 2017, NATO has been housed in a new headquarters in Brussels, located on the site of the former Haren airport. The building is conceived as a folded hand, as a sign of cooperation. One of the fingers houses the Belgian Permanent Representation, next to the American one. 

Weapons, heroic tributes and heroic portraits in the work of Tom Woestenborghs refer to the fact that for 4000 years, men have been programmed to be conquerors or soldiers.  According to him, weapons are tools that provide an illusion of power. He considers himself a spectator and creates his images as reflections on the world that he presents to others, he invades their territory, as it were. ‘Art is a matter of life and death. This may be melodramatic, but it is also true.’ This statement by Bruce Neuman, in the context of NATO, invites discussion.

By placing the Bright Future photo on the cover of the publication about the Belgian Permanent Representation to NATO, we invite curiosity, openness and dialogue. The expected date of publication is 11 October, the day on which, in 1967, NATO headquarters came to Brussels, after passing through London and Paris.

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The Embrace by Elke Andreas Boon

The Embrace

On International Women's Day, we highlight the Embrace by Elke Andreas Boon. Boon created this work in 2014, in which identical twins embrace each other. In 2021, this comforting gesture comes across as rather threatening. This picture expresses hope for a future in which we may embrace each other again. And it is also a beautiful image of sisterhood and human solidarity. The work will be displayed in the new VIP dining room in the main building in Brussels and will included in the publication Invisible, about female artists of the XXIst century in the art collection of the FPS, that will appear on the 8th of March 2022.

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The Embrace hanging in the VIP dining room

#Showcase1 - Warre Mulder

Two showcases were recently installed in the main entrance of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brussels. Works of art will be displayed here. The first sculptures are by Warre Mulder.

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Canned energy freedom wizard

This figure is dressed in a blue robe. In the place of the face, there is a dark void, which makes the figure look like a ghost. The robe refers to a spiritual tradition of concealing oneself in a robe. The bowl above the hollow face gives the impression that the figure is going to drink. As if drinking some sort of magic potion will fill the emptiness the figure is experiencing.

Take another round

The second sculpture is inspired by one by Pablo Picasso, Little girl skipping rope. Several references to cyclical movement are present: the skipping rope, the loops on the pedestal, the girl's feet in charcoal. Through this cyclical movement, the sculpture symbolises a new generation, going for another round.

At the nearby consular counters are two more sculptures by this artist, visible from the street and illuminated at night.

It takes spirit to know how to dance,  it takes a monkey to get into trance

Lamassu, the melody continues

These sculptures are in a completely different style. Mulder's figures are often colourful and constructed from a playful combination of all sorts of shapes, materials and techniques. They have something recognisable and also something absurd. He draws inspiration from many sources in different cultures, from prehistoric rock paintings to geometric motifs from African cultures and even children's toys. The works give the impression they could have been created anywhere in the world. Mulder himself operates from his studios in Zeeland and Antwerp. He was born in 1984 and graduated at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.

Symposium Belgian and Dutch Embassy buildings: Multi-Layered projects of Representation

Due to the pandemic, this symposium has been postponed for a second time.

 A new date will be announced a.s.a.p.

More information:
http://www.belgiananddutchembassybuildings.be

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Brochure symposium Belgian and Dutch Embassy buildings

AfricaMuseum @ Egmont Palace

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Belgian Crew: film

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Belgian Crew: Xpo Street Art (teaser)

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Belgian Crew: promo

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