To mark her solo exhibition in SMAK and Mu.ZEE, the Museum of Fine Arts Ghent
has integrated Lili Dujouries Maagdendale (1982), a work central to the artists oeuvre, in the museums late medieval painting and sculpture collection.
After her video works in the 1970s, the artist turned her attention to sculpture. For many of these works she chose materials such as draped velvet, which has a centuries-old relationship with the visual arts. In so doing, Dujourie not only joins a long tradition in Flemish painting dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, but also retains a link with contemporary art practice.
Maagdendale was the first in a remarkable series of sculptures where the focus lies on exquisite draping and beautiful pleating. Its title refers to a medieval abbey of the same name in Oudenaarde, where it was first exhibited. It also alludes to biblical themes and the relationship with works by the Flemish Primitives as well as the Baroque art of the southern Low Countries.
With the intervention in the MSK, Dujourie extends this historical legacy even further. She creates a direct visual link with the works of the Old Masters who, in grandiose style, transformed the clothing of the Virgin Mary and child and other women in domestic settings into beautiful drapery. By displaying it in close proximity to the works of among others Gerard Horenbout, Adriaen Isenbrant, the Master of Frankfurt, and Colijn de Coter, Dujouries Maagdendale is returned to its natural and original habitat.
Progress in the restoration of panels from the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Hubert and Jan van Eyck provides further incentive for showing Dujouries work in the museum collection. For the first time in centuries, the elegance and delicacy of the pleating by Van Eyck is being brought back to life during treatment of the panels in the MSKs public workshops.
In conclusion, Dujourie views her project at the MSK as an ode to the museum where during her youth she was first exposed to our rich visual culture.