INSIGHTS | Summer shows in Knokke

On the first Friday in August, the Belgian seaside resort Knokke hosts Nacht Van Het Zoute: beach bars, catwalks and live music in the streets enhance the vibrancy of the city. A series of galleries will also be opening new shows this weekend. As part of Art Brussels Insights, we spoke with gallerists about Knokke and their summer exhibitions.

Yasmine Geukens and Marie-Paule De Vil (owners of Geukens & De Vil):

What does Knokke mean to you?
Home, it’s where we happily live together for more than 20 years. The feeling of coming home and the fresh air after busy art days at fairs, at the gallery in Antwerp…

What will be on view this summer at the gallery in Knokke?
After her show at Jack Tilton in New York and at Rhona Hoffmann in Chicago, Martha Tuttle (the daughter of Richard Tuttle) will come to Knokke with all new works. The show will be entitled Bacchante by the sea.

Which are your favourite places in Knokke you would advise to collectors?
Polderveld, a field of a young farmer that harvests fresh veggies all year through. It’s very close to our house so it’s wonderful to put on your boots, put your shovel and hands in the clayish Polderground, harvest your veggies and have them an hour later on your plate! The Luc Peire house and studio is a forgotten little gem in Knokke.

Laurent Mercier (co-owner of Maruani Mercier):

What does Knokke mean to you?
Knokke is where I met my wife who introduced me to the contemporary art world 16 years ago and where my business partner opened his first gallery in 2001. Knokke is where collectors have the time to engage, come back to see exhibitions and discuss potential acquisitions.

What will be on view this summer at the gallery in Knokke?
We will be showing a Survey spanning 10 years of work by Titus Kaphar who has an incredible year starting with the McArthur Genius Grant, his exhibition at MoMA PS1 followed by MASS MoCA and the Brooklyn Museum to name a few.

Which are your favourite places in Knokke you would advise to collectors?
The galleries of Patrick De Brock and of newcomer rodolphe janssen with his pop-up project will certainly be worth the visit.

Quentin Grosjean & Guillaume Smets (co-owners of Concorde Project, a collaboration between QG Gallery and Stems Gallery):

What does Knokke mean to you?
Quentin Grosjean: I grew up coming to Knokke in the summer and it’s were I discovered my passion for art as a young kid, first strolling around with my mother in galleries and after that working with Alain Noirhomme and Serge Maruani in the summers of my teenage years. High quality art is ever present in Knokke, whether in galleries, collectors’ homes, or even on the beach!
Guillaume Smets: Knokke to me is very varied in all types of art. You can notice this by just looking at the high concentration of galleries on the coast. Le Zoute has an important art heritage and this can be compared to some villages in south of France where artists had their house. Keith Haring, Niki de St Phalle, René Magritte and many others have fallen in love with Knokke and some have made public installations like the Magritte room at the Casino. Many collectors here have started their collection here and they continue to support local galleries. With my partner Quentin Grosjean, we have decided to show established artists in order to connect with these collectors and to meet new ones. Although there are not that many museums or foundations, the market is strong, especially during the summer. Because people are on holiday, they can take time to visit galleries and discuss art.

What will be on view this summer at the gallery in Knokke?
We are showing a solo exhibition of the work of Piero Dorazio. The exhibition will highlight 4 decades of the artist’s work and will include works on canvas, paper and lithography. Best known for his gestural, atmospheric paintings of grids cross hatched with brushstrokes of colour and texture, Piero Dorazio’s paintings are related to Abstract Art, Colour Field Painting and lyrical abstraction. Born in 1927 in Rome, he studied classical painting, drawing and architecture.

Which are your favourite places in Knokke you would advise to collectors?
Guillaume Smets: I would recommend visitors to go on the beach around the Surfers Paradise when the sea is in low tide and see the incredible piece by Anthony Gormley.
Quentin Grosjean: Alberta in Zeebrugge for the location in the harbour and their frozen merveilleux. Put19 for a drink before dinner. The Zwin and Hospitality from Barry Flanagan is always a nice walk.

Julie Senden (director of rodolphe janssen):

What does Knokke mean to you?
People do not often realise that Knokke has a very advanced public art programme. It has works by Barry Flanagan, Wim Delvoye, Joep Van Lieshout, Anthony Gormley, Franz West, etc. Knokke is home to numerous galleries of all sorts, with international programmes or local interests. It is the only place in Belgium where the most important art season is the summer, when collectors spend their holidays at the seaside. They experience art at a different pace here.

What will be on view this summer at the gallery in Knokke?
This summer, we will temporarily occupy a 400sqm brutal concrete space in Duinbergen. We will put a special focus on the works of Thomas Lerooy. He will inaugurate a 21m tall sculpture on the square in front of this temporary gallery space in the fall of this year. Furthermore, we will show works by artists of the gallery, in conversation with furniture pieces by Prouvé, Jeanneret and Le Corbusier coming from Patrick Seguin Gallery in Paris.

Which are your favourite places in Knokke you would advise to collectors?
Odile Jacobs pop-up store at Emile Verhaerenlaan 10, to shop for wax dresses.
Luc & Jenny Peire foundation, a hidden gem.
The new promenade between Knokke and Cadzand where you can walk or bike through the Zwin nature reserve.

Interview with Luc Mulier (co-owner of Mulier Mulier):

What does Knokke mean to you?
40 years ago, as young students we toured the good galleries in Knokke. You had Elisabeth Franck, George Van Damme, Christian Fayt, Gilbert Debaene. The Casino played a major cultural role at that time. It was groundbreaking in the 50s and 60s with Gustaaf Nellens as its director. At that time there was even an International Festival of Experimental Film. The then very young and now world-famous Yayoi Kusama won the first prize at the Festival with her film. In addition to the galleries, there have always been good collectors here from West-Flanders, Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp.

What will be on view this summer at the gallery in Knokke?
From the 2nd of August till the end of September we have an exhibition of Sol LeWitt.

Martha Tuttle, I began to confuse the earth with roses, 2019, 154 x 115 cm (Geukens & De Vil)
Titus Kaphar, Seeing through time 8, 2019, oil on canvas, 213 x 183 x 6 cm, Copyright © the artist studio and MARUANI MERCIER Gallery (Maruani Mercier)
Piero Dorazio, Ton Vert 1, 1990, Oil on canvas, 60 x 40 cm (Concorde Project)
Thomas Lerooy, Why Worry, 2009, Bronze, 250 x 80 x 60 cm, Ed #5, courtesy of the artist and rodolphe janssen, Brussels (rodolphe janssen)
Installation view Sol LeWitt (Mulier Mulier Gallery)

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