MICHAËL BORREMANS & MARK MANDERS: Double Silence: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan

September 19, 2020 - February 28, 2021
Installation Views
Press release

Both Michaël Borremans and Mark Manders are known to the world for unique and unconventional expression grounded in the proud traditions of European art. The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa is now delighted to present “Double Silence,” an exhibition that will see the works of these two artists occupying the same space for the first time.

The wave of globalization that gathered momentum from the end of the 20th century began in the west, and proceeded to wash up in various parts of the world, making an impact wherever it broke and simultaneously sucking up myriad things, material and otherwise, as well as people, to form a heaving swell that now covers the entire globe. What we refer to as “contemporary art” shares the same trajectory as this mighty torrent of people, things and ideas. Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the subsequent multipolarization of art, the degree to which art possesses the unique qualities of particular regional cultures and histories has been in question. Thirty years on, the art world – caught between globalization and multipolarization – is beginning to reflect less on the importance of cultural differences grounded in locality, than on what our universal human values might actually be. There are a number of possible reasons for this shift, but it could simply be that in the modern world, where the dissemination of information at lightning speed has engendered a kind of global simultaneity, we are now noticing that exploration of universal values is not confined to any specific region. Moreover, COVID-19 has made introspection in the arts a global phenomenon.

Following in the footsteps of a European art tradition that has explored universal human values over many centuries, Michaël Borremans and Mark Manders share their own such reflections with those of us inhabiting the same times. The paintings of Borremans, who mines Baroque tradition to portray the dark recesses of the human soul, and sculptures of Manders, with their striking pieces of bodies, created in accordance with the artist’s concept of “self-portrait as a building,” may employ different media, but both delve deeply into complex psychological states and relationships.

In “Double Silence,” Borremans and Manders invite the viewer into a space and time in which the artists themselves engage in a dialogue through their works, as the title suggests, amid calm or silence. The word “double” means to be twice as much, twofold, but also has several other meanings, such as two together, distinctly different aspects (eg “dual personality”), and forming a pair. All of which makes the title of this exhibition eminently suitable for a show by two artists who are themselves far from straightforward.
We hope you will take the opportunity to visit this exhibition of over eighty sympathetically curated works by two of the top artists in Europe today.


21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa