City festival of tradition and renewal
Baroque Influencers is a new city festival in Antwerp, Belgium, that seeks to explore the ways in which we are still influenced by the Baroque era today. The festival is a collaboration between UCSIA, the University of Antwerp, and over fifteen cultural organizations, and features exhibitions, concerts, lectures, and immersive experiences for people of all ages.
One of the highlights of the festival is the three large exhibitions that take visitors on a journey through time from the 17th century to the present day. The galleries of the St. Charles Borromeo Church showcase how the Jesuits used devotional pictures and other visual material to spread their beliefs in the 17th century. Meanwhile, over forty unique works by Peter Paul Rubens will be on display at the Snijders&Rockox House in an extraordinary partly virtual exhibition.
The festival also examines how the Baroque era has influenced contemporary society through a lecture series that addresses issues such as freedom and responsibility, purpose, human malleability, and the tension between colonization and decolonization. The programme includes speakers from Belgium and abroad, and Albanian writer and professor Lea Ypi is set to take to the stage in March 2023.
Baroque Influencers is not just about looking to the past, however. It also explores how the Baroque era has influenced contemporary art and society. For instance, the KMSKA’s Print Room sheds light on the religious dimensions of the art society De Pelgrim, which sought to combine modernity with faith in the early 20th century. At the Port House, the festival re-establishes links to the present through a contemporary sodality curated by Sergio Servellón in partnership with the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Antwerp Art Weekend, and local galleries.
To engage with a wider audience, the festival also features a fortnightly podcast bearing the same name. Each episode explores a universal subject that is both centuries old and current, inviting contemporary influencers to explore how our Baroque heritage continues to shape our lives today. The first episode, featuring artist Jaouad Alloul, is already available on Spotify and the festival’s website.
Baroque Influencers is a festival that showcases the richness and diversity of the Baroque era and its ongoing influence on contemporary society. It is an event that is not to be missed by anyone interested in art, culture, history, and society.
Three different exhibitions will allow visitors to embark on a visual journey through time from the 17th century back up to the present. In the galleries of the St. Charles Borromeo Church, they will discover how the Jesuits used devotional pictures, emblems and other visual material to disseminate their convictions in the 17th century. And we cannot think of Baroque without thinking of Peter Paul Rubens: during Baroque Influencers, more than forty unique works will find their way back to Antwerp for an extraordinary, partly virtual exhibition at the Snijders & Rockox House. Meanwhile, in the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library, visitors can use augmented reality to find out more about the sodality to which Rubens and Van Dyck belonged in the 17th century.
The avant-garde and a contemporary sodality
The avant-garde is undoubtedly the most fascinating artistic period we have known in our part of the world after the Baroque. During the new city festival, the KMSKA’s Print Room will be dedicated to shedding light on the religious dimensions of art society De Pelgrim (The Pilgrim, 1924-1930), whose members included Felix Timmermans, Gerard Walschap and Marnix Gijsen and who sought to marry modernity with faith. At the Port House, the city festival will re-establish links to the present, as curator Sergio Servellón shapes a contemporary sodality in partnership with the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Antwerp Art Weekend and the Sofie Van de Velde and De Zwarte Panter galleries.
Baroque Influencers today
In the run-up to the city festival, the organizers are launching a fortnightly podcast bearing the same name. Each episode focuses on a universal subject that is both centuries old and achingly current, and sees podcaster Anke Verschueren inviting all kinds of contemporary influencers to explore how our baroque heritage lives on today. How has the art of persuasion changed over the last four centuries? And what debts do 2022’s influencers owe their baroque predecessors, the Jesuits, either consciously or unconsciously? The first episode, featuring artist Jaouad Alloul, is now available on Spotify and at http://www.barokkeinfluencers.be.
Website: Baroque Influencers.
Stay tuned, there will be much more to come, including footage from the various events.