Curating the Campus . Walter Swennen
artist Walter Swennen
production deSingel
entrance hall deSingel Antwerp
2008
Mural on the main façade, left of the main entrance
7.5 x 6 m
Commissioned by deSingel
Since 2008
 
In 2004, the then curator at deSingel, Moritz Küng, initiated the Curating the Campus project. The intention was to give visual art a permanent place on the campus alongside architecture, dance, music and theatre. Each year, Küng invited an artist to conceive a new work, or else he retained a site-specific work after the end of an exhibition. The project gradually expanded into a collection of permanent works created by eleven artists from Belgium, France, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
 
The painter Walter Swennen is able to evoke resistance, deviation or relativisation in subtle forms, which on the canvas often results in a tragi-comic anti-climax. His restrained, almost cursory intervention for Curating the Campus is a good example. When he was asked to add a work to this exhibition series, he realised that he had for years seen the form of a ghost in the distinctive façade of deSingel. And it is true that one can interpret the four adjacent windows as a face with eyes, nostril and open mouth (see p. 34). He at first wanted to make this more visible by installing a gigantic hat on the roof, but in the end he opted to accentuate it simply by means of a coat of white paint. In this way deSingel literally gained a face, which is reminiscent not only of a masterpiece by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, but also of one of the protagonists of a well-known film by the American director Wes Craven.
 
Walter Swennen (1946, Vorst, Brussels, BE. Lives in Brussels). His work has been shown at Wiels in Brussels (2013, solo exhibition), Culturgest in Lisbon (2013, solo exhibition), Kunstverein in Freiburg (2012, solo exhibition) and SMAK in Ghent (2010).

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