Extra City Kunsthal and Objectif Exhibitions join forces to form a new Kunsthalle in Antwerp
The boards of Objectif Exhibitions and of Extra City Kunsthal – two non-profit spaces for contemporary visual art in Antwerp – have decided to form a new Antwerp Kunsthalle. The process of combining both institutions will begin on February 1st 2016 under the direction of Antony Hudek, and will come to fruition in early 2017.
The new Kunsthalle builds on the strengths of Extra City and Objectif Exhibitions by providing a vibrant context in which to present and discuss Belgian and international contemporary art in all its forms. It brings together the distinct yet complimentary missions of the two institutions: Objectif Exhibitions’ longstanding dedication to the presentation of corrective perspectives on contemporary visual art, mainly through the realisation of solo exhibitions by international artists; and Extra City’s investment in the display and debate of national and international artistic currents, notably through ambitious group exhibitions and discursive programs.
The boards of Objectif Exhibitions and Extra City firmly believe that in a climate increasingly ambivalent towards cultural analysis and reflection, the merger will result in a stronger institution, better positioned to defend the values of curiosity, independence and intellectual courage characterised by contemporary art at its best. As more than the sum of its parts, this new Kunsthalle for Antwerp will reach wider, and deeper, than either Objectif Exhibitions and Extra City could alone.
Antony Hudek, currently the director of Objectif Exhibitions, will shape the new Kunsthalle together with existing staff and boards of both organisations in close consultation with their respective stakeholders and partners.
Objectif Exhibitions was founded in Antwerp in 1999 by Philippe Pirotte and Win Van den Abbeele, joined the same year by Patrick Van Rossem. Their aim was to offer a space where new exhibition formats could be developed and tested. Each of the three subsequent directors, appointed by an independent jury for a non-renewable period of four years, have upheld this aim in their own way: Mai Abu ElDahab, from 2007 to 2011; Chris Fitzpatrick, from 2011 to 2015; and Antony Hudek, from July 2015.
Extra City Kunsthal was founded in 2004 by Wim Peeters, and located in a grain silo in the Antwerp harbour area. In 2006, Anselm Franke was appointed artistic director and the institution moved to a former industrial space in Antwerp North. From 2011 until 2015, Mihnea Mircan served as Extra City’s artistic director. Under his tenure Extra City inaugurated its current venue in Antwerpen-Berchem in September 2013.
Antony Hudek is a Swiss-American art historian and curator born in Geneva in 1976. Prior to joining Objectif Exhibitions he has held a number of curatorial and academic positions, including researcher (theory), Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht; research curator, Tate Liverpool; and curator and deputy director, Raven Row, London, where he remains curator-at-large. His writings and translations have appeared in many publications and several anthologies; he has edited a volume for Whitechapel/MIT; and continues to co-direct Occasional Papers, a non-profit art and design press he co-founded in 2008.