M Leuven collection is expanding with 60 contemporary artworks

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M Leuven collection is expanding with 60 contemporary artworks
It carrying the inferno, Ria Pacquée, 1995, Collectie Vlaamse Gemeenschap © Ria Pacquée.

LEUVEN.- M Leuven's collection is expanding at a stroke with 60 works by contemporary artists. With thanks to the Flemish government: in 2021 it bought almost EUR 4 million worth of art to support the sector. M was closely involved in the selection of the works, and now has 60 pieces on long-term loan.

In 2021, the Flemish government freed up as much as EUR 3.98 million for the Collection of the Flemish Community. This is a collection of more than 18,000 works which between them provide a complete picture of high-quality and internationally relevant (contemporary) Flemish art. Using that almost EUR 4 million, the Flemish government bought 281 works by 180 artists. "Many visual artists were not entitled to support measures such as the cultural activity premium because they did not have a company number," said Flemish Culture Minister Jan Jambon. "With these purchases, we want to support them during this Covid crisis."

The selection was made by a committee of independent curators and experts from the six Flemish contemporary art museums. M Leuven is one of those museums, alongside M HKA, S.M.A.K., Mu.ZEE, Middelheimmuseum and Fotomuseum Antwerpen. The works will now be part of the Flemish Community Collection, but the museums will have them on long-term loan.

This is also why 60 of the 281 works purchased are going to M Leuven. In total, they are by 33 different artists working in a variety of media: painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video art and installations. The selection focused on social and political themes, identity, ecology, ethnic-cultural diversity, the presence of female artists and a revaluation of traditional processes.

The artists whose work is coming to M include current M-resident Tom Hallet, Oriol Vilanova, Vincent Geyskens, Tina Gillen, Aleksandra Chaushova, Yannick Ganseman and Dirk Braeckman. M is next year organising a solo exhibition around one of them, Leen Voet. Voet (born 1971) likes to expand her painting with objects, drawings and spatial installations. Her work is characterised by bright tones. Three pairs of paintings by her were purchased for the series 'Je fais ce que je veux' (2019-2021).

Denise Vandevoort, Leuven alderman for culture and chair of the M Board, is pleased: "We are enormously grateful to the Flemish Community for its trust in M Leuven. It has always profiled itself as a transhistorical museum, with great expertise in medieval sculpture that it gladly shares with partners from the sector. In addition, M offers contemporary artists a platform, regardless of where they are in their career or oeuvre. The expansion of the M Collection only helps to reinforces this transhistorical profile on a national and international level."

"We are very grateful for the long-term loans from the Flemish Community," says Eva Wittocx, curator and head of the Contemporary Art section. "M considers it an important task to engage with emerging talent as well as more established artists, to present their work to a wider audience and to follow them. We will also include their art in future projects."

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