Tique | art paper asks eight questions to an international art institution, gallery, off-space or any other imaginable type of art organization that exhibits, promotes or sells art about their vision, practice and activities. This week: Kunst in Huis.
Location Gallaitstraat 78, 1030 Brussels, Belgium
What motivated you to start?
Kunst in Huis was founded in 1978 by the Flemish Government and various local arts centres. The aim hasn’t changed: to support emerging (semi-)professional artists and to inspire rookie contemporary art lovers by lending and selling quality artwork at an affordable price.
How do you develop your artistic programme?
Kunst in Huis presents a diverse and dynamic collection of over 5,000 artworks. Ranging from drawings and oil paintings to photography and objects, we offer access to the work of over 350 artists. The collection provides a broad overview of contemporary art in Flanders and is regularly updated with new artists and artworks: every year some 500 new works are added and others are sold or returned to the artists. Since 2013 we focus on attracting young and emerging artists. A lot of artists who are now considered as ‘big names’ in the arts were once part of our collection as emerging artists, e.g. painter Michaël Borremans, conceptual artist Wim Delvoye and photographer Dirk Braeckman. As they became more recognized, their works of art became too expensive for our collection, that aims primarily at artworks around €4.000 or less. We sure hope our new generation of artists contains some of the future big names.
Could you describe your relation with artists?
How do you get in touch, how do you work with them?
A commission of experts in different art fields safeguards the quality level of our collection in collaboration with Kunst in Huis’s artistic leader Claudine Hellweg. New artists are proposed and discussed by these experts, and we also have an open call system through which, every 3 months, artists can present themselves and their work. We strive to broaden the exposure and audience of all artists in our collection, and we help them sell works of art to an audience they wouldn’t normally reach on their own. Young artists can get further help and advice e.g. on setting up exhibitions, writing biographies or on the mounting of a canvas.
What advice would you give emerging artists?
Show yourself in any way you can! Artists nowadays cannot afford not be seen if they strive for recognition for their art practice. Fortunately, the array of possibilities has widened the last couple of years and even artists who aren’t very outgoing themselves, can use the internet en social media to their benefit. Furthermore, emerging artists should be well aware of the financial perks en possibilities of being an artist. Kunstenloket provides great support on this topic.
What do you think is your most valuable or unique aspect?
Art rental is a risk free system that allows one to experiment and develop their taste in the arts, and to try out art works by unknown artists. This creates unique opportunities for both emerging artists and tentative art lovers.
What do you consider to be your biggest challenge?
The logistics. Our 5.000 art works move around the whole of Flanders and Brussels because we want to provide our customers with the broadest choice possible. On top of this, the larger and more expensive works of art are eligible for home delivery, and there’s a lot of traffic from and to the artists to collect or to return works of art.
What do you find the most rewarding?
Happy artists and happy customers. This is a thing that art can do!
What does the future hold?
A lot of new challenges. From this year onwards, we will present our new artists under the “Nieuwe Garde van Kunst in Huis” flag. The first project is an exhibition with works from 5 emerging artists that will be presented during the Antwerp Art Weekend. We are going to expand and better our online services. We are building new and exciting partnerships, eg. with lifestyle brand Juttu. And so on!