Hareng Saur: Ensor and Contemporary Art

James Ensor (Oostende, 1860-1949), Skeletons Fighting over a Smoked Herring, 1891, Oil on panel,

The S.M.A.K. and the Museum of Fine Arts are holding a joint exhibition that examines the relationship between James Ensor (1860-1949) and the work of contemporary artists. James Ensor can without any doubt be considered as one on of the ground-breaking artists of the 20th century. The recent retrospective exhibitions of his work in New York (Museum of Modern Art) and Paris (Quai d'Orsay) demonstrate clearly that he is internationally acclaimed as a pioneering artist. His importance in the development of modern art (e.g. Expressionism) is demonstrated by the many visits made by artists (Kandinsky, Nolde, Pechstein et al.) to his home in Ostend during his lifetime....The exhibition Hareng Saur | Ensor and Contemporary Art focuses on the manifold links and associations which can be made between the work of this master and the artistic practices of a wide range of contemporary artists. James Ensor's subjects and attitude are of particular interest at the beginning of the 21st century. Themes such as the mask, the grotesque, social criticism, the self-portrait (and the identification with Christ) and death are all subjects dealt with by many outstanding international contemporary artists. The exhibition reveals some of the connections between different kinds of works and approaches Ensor as a contemporary artist amongst his colleagues and peers. Hareng Saur: Ensor and Contemporary Art is on view until Feb. 27, in Belgium at Gent www.kunstaspekte.de