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Don't Mention the war

The centenary of the end of the First World War is the occasion of the Don’t mention the war exhibition. Curator Jonas Vansteenkiste links a contemporary part to it by examining how artists deal with war in general.


He asks visitors to the exhibition whether we still name and name the current wars. Not only is the Kunstenhuis a location, the Peter Benoit Museum and various locations in the open air are also occupied. In this way the exhibition becomes very visible in the city. A total of 21 artists are participating in this exhibition.


The exhibition does not focus on the First World War and does not want to tell a historical story either. It is primarily an interpretation of how war is experienced. There is the work of Boccanegra. He exhibits roller shutters riddled with bullet holes from Iraq's war zone. The shoes of Cel Crabeels refer to the boat refugees on the Mediterranean Sea. The photos of Eric Flamand show bomb craters from the Westhoek from the First World War and how nature reclaims them after a while. The film by Jeremy Deller who in Britain remembers the Battle of the Somme in a very special way. The glassware by Katja Aufleger looks very aesthetic, but the title Bang! suggests real danger. Katleen Vinck uses the war landscape as a starting point, just as Sven Verhaeghe does. The paintings of Klaus Verscheure are impressions of news fragments and internet fragments. Pieter Geenen deprives the visitor of all incentives: only sounds can be heard in the dark. Renato Nicolodi makes models of fictional buildings that refer to bunkers.


Rob Buelens shows in the attic with a wooden cannon. At the same time, he makes a mud sculpture: images dug into the ground of soldiers who are gradually decaying. The Guns of Robbert & Frank refer to toy guns and at the same time reflect on how we let children deal with this. Ronny Delrue created new work for this exhibition. He relied on photographs from the First World War from the city archive of Harelbeke. Serge Moreel's works play with feelings that a war evokes, such as power, but also temptation and envy. The video art of Stefan Jakiela evokes the beauty of a lost world. Or what can destroy the global fire.


Studio Moscou is an artist duo from Ghent and went to work with children from the Harelbeek schools. 181 pupils delved into the stories of local civilian victims from the First World War. They extracted colors and shapes with which they designed a flag. The result is a flag field that can be seen on the stairs at the Saint Salvator church. The furniture of Yves Obyn brings war into the home environment. Finally, Veerle Michiels and Jonas Vansteenkiste present:" Fragile memory" They cover of the city's the war memorial with  600 sandbags. In this way they show how vulnerable the memory becomes: a war memorial itself is protected against possible danger.


The exhibition is running at various locations in Harelbeke. It is best to take the Kunstenhuis Marktstraat 100 as a base. From there you can go to the library by the Marktstraat around the church.

commissioned by the city of Harelbeke, Kunstenhuis with support of the government of Flanders.

curated by Jonas Vansteenkiste.


Sven Verhaeghe, Boccanegra, Cel Crabeels, Eric Flamand, Katja Aufleger, Katleen Vinck, Klaus Verscheure, Pieter Geenen, Renato Nicolodi, Rob Buelens, Robbert & Frank and Frank & Robbert, Ronny Delrue, Serge Moreel, Jeremy Deller,

Stefan Jakiela, Studio Moscou, Yves Obyn  and Veerle Michiels and Jonas Vansteenkiste


In the eighteenth century, Marktstraat 100 in Harelbeke was built as a spacious residential house. After W.W.II, the site housed the local Pipe and Tobacco Museum for decades, which zoomed in on the region's rich craft history. This collection moved to the museum in Wervik between 2010 and 2012. Since April 2014, Market Street has been an interactive place for art and culture. Under the flag of the City of Harelbeke, some 20 exhibitions were organised between 2014 and 2019, each time focusing on contemporary Belgian art.


With its own vision and network, we build a solid autonomous framework where art is central. The ambition of the Kunstenhuis is to realise 2 concept exhibitions every year, complemented by a modest programme of lectures, guided visits and nocturnes.


Marktstraat 100

8530 Harelbeke



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