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Exhibition “Johan Tahon. EMBRACE”

11/10/2022 h 08/01/2023 F Add to the calendar 2022-10-11 2023-01-08 Europe/London Exhibition “Johan Tahon. EMBRACE”

Johan Tahon was born in 1965 in Menen/Menin and works in Oudenaarde (Belgium). He studied sculpture at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent and has long been considered one of the most important Belgian artists of his generation.

He is not unknown to the IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, as he already exhibited together with Ronny Delrue in Eupen in 2007 and was also presented in collection exhibitions in later years. The starting point of his return to Eupen was a conversation in which he admitted that he would like to makeover the work "Xanax" (2006), which has been part of the IKOB collection for 16 years now. This led to the exhibition project "Embrace", which raised many urgent questions about art, its conservation, the associated author rights and the task of museums in general.

Together with the artist, we decided to allow him a makeover of his work. For many observers of the art world, this could be a novelty, for others even a sacrilege, since museums usually have to defend their works of art against modification, damage and change - if necessary also against the intention of the artist himself. We are convinced, however, that as a museum we must ask ourselves whether the position that the museum has occupied for more than a hundred years is still justifiable today, or whether a new relationship between the museum and the artists is needed, one that has yet to be defined more precisely? Tahon's modified work is thus at the center of the exhibition "Embrace" and marks the beginning of an unprecedented conversation between artists and museums; about the transformation of their works.

The newly revised work is flanked by new works by the artist as well as some older works from the IKOB collection. The aim is to show his work in the context of older works, to highlight new developments and older interests, and to present the close bond between IKOB and Johan Tahon for what it is - an embrace - expressed through a trusting dialogue about the possibilities of a sensitive approach by the museum to the artworks and their authors.

Practical information

IKOB – Museum of Contemporary Art, Rotenberg 12b 4700 Eupen IKOB – Museum of Contemporary Art

Johan Tahon was born in 1965 in Menen/Menin and works in Oudenaarde (Belgium).
He studied sculpture at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent and has long been considered one of the most important Belgian artists of his generation.

He is not unknown to the IKOB – Museum of Contemporary Art, as he already exhibited together with Ronny Delrue in Eupen in 2007 and was also presented in collection exhibitions in later years. The starting point of his return to Eupen was a conversation in which he admitted that he would like to makeover the work “Xanax” (2006), which has been part of the IKOB collection for 16 years now. This led to the exhibition project “Embrace”, which raised many urgent questions about art, its conservation, the associated author rights and the task of museums in general.

Together with the artist, we decided to allow him a makeover of his work. For many observers of the art world, this could be a novelty, for others even a sacrilege, since museums usually have to defend their works of art against modification, damage and change – if necessary also against the intention of the artist himself. We are convinced, however, that as a museum we must ask ourselves whether the position that the museum has occupied for more than a hundred years is still justifiable today, or whether a new relationship between the museum and the artists is needed, one that has yet to be defined more precisely? Tahon’s modified work is thus at the center of the exhibition “Embrace” and marks the beginning of an unprecedented conversation between artists and museums; about the transformation of their works.

The newly revised work is flanked by new works by the artist as well as some older works from the IKOB collection. The aim is to show his work in the context of older works, to highlight new developments and older interests, and to present the close bond between IKOB and Johan Tahon for what it is – an embrace – expressed through a trusting dialogue about the possibilities of a sensitive approach by the museum to the artworks and their authors.

Practical information

IKOB – Museum of Contemporary Art

Our museum is located in the city of Eupen in the German-speaking community of Belgium, close to the German and Dutch border. Its programme focuses on emerging and leading contemporary art through the constitution of a significant collection – in progress – and temporary exhibitions – in dialogue. Thus, functioning as a discursive platform for contemporary art with its multidisciplinary and thematic exhibition programme and highlighting critical and socio-political issues, the IKOB attempts to reflect upon the matter of the frontier.

HISTORY AND FURTHER SELF-PRESENTATION OF THE MUSEUM

The IKOB – Museum of Contemporary Art began as an idea of the artist, art teacher and subsequent museum director Francis Feidler. The institution was conceived as a center for border-transcending exhibitions out of which a later museum collection could be successively built up – augmented by purchases and loans, as well as by donations especially from exhibiting artists. The first milestones for the Eastern Belgian art center were the sculpture exhibition Kontakt 93 at the park facilities in Eupen as well as the project Volle Scheunen (with 12 installations respectively in the Ardennes and the Eifel), which was realized in collaboration with the former head of the Documenta Manfred Schneckenburger.
The IKOB established itself quite early on as an internationally oriented exhibition platform as well as a promoter of the regional art scene. Already back then, the special characteristic of how the museum would like to be perceived and how it operates lay in its active approach toward artists in the region. They were often featured in pioneering exhibitions shortly before they achieved an international breakthrough. These presentations gave rise to the collection of the institution, which meanwhile comprises more than 400 works. In 1999, the IKOB acquired a fixed domicile in a commercially used building near the old Schlachthof. In 2005, the collection received official recognition, and the International Art Center of Eastern Belgium was renamed the IKOB – Museum of Contemporary Art.
The museum considers its proximity to international borders as a point of departure for serving as a cultural mediator between the various regions of Belgium and engaging in a fertile exchange with the artistic scenes in Germany and the Netherlands. Inasmuch as it invites visitors to investigate political, social and cultural developments in an informal atmosphere, it strives to make an active contribution to society – also in the framework of its exhibitions. In three to four large shows per year, the museum displays contemporary art in the best sense of the term, with the main exhibitions being accompanied by individual presentations of works from the permanent collection.
The IKOB, however, does not intend simply to organize and document contemporary art but instead, through the choice of themes and artists for its exhibitions, to discover and convey new artistic tendencies. Through a constant shifting of focus onto current themes that are handled by diverse artistic media, the museum moves in close contact with both the established and the up-and-coming art scenes. In 2018, the IKOB has celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding; over the years, it has become a well-known name in the Euregio Maas-Rhine region.

OGuided tour for the general public

Every second Sunday in the month of an exhibition at 1:00 p.m.

OGuided tour by the director

On the last Sunday of each successive exhibition, our director Frank-Thorsten Moll conducts a guided tour that offers a final assessment of the closing show and a preview of the coming program.

OGuided tours for groups

Whether for young or old, birthday party or company excursion – we offer guided tours for all current exhibitions and collection presentations.

3 B

Practical information

IKOB – Museum of Contemporary Art

Rotenberg 12b
4700 Eupen

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