Paper by L. Dhaenens published in MODOS Art History Journal

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Sympathy or strategy? A close look at the Belgian exhibitions of modern and contemporary art organized in Argentina in 1946 and 1948.

The paper explores two Belgian art exhibitions that took place in Buenos Aires in 1946 and 1948: the Exposición de arte belga moderno and the Exposición de arte belga contemporáneo. Although these exhibitions appear to be part of the same cultural initiative showcasing Belgian art in Argentina after World War II, a closer examination reveals that they were distinct endeavors with differing institutional frameworks and objectives. The study offers a detailed analysis of the institutional context and discourse surrounding both exhibitions from a Belgian viewpoint. Specifically, it delves into the roles of Louis Piérard, the Argentine Commission for Intellectual Cooperation, the Belgian community in Buenos Aires, and the Belgian ministries of Foreign Affairs and Public Education. As such, it unravels the meaning and impact of the exhibitions in a post-war context. Ultimately, the paper demonstrates how these exhibitions reflect Belgium’s evolving approach to international cultural diplomacy.

Full article here:

Follow Laurens Dhaenens:
Laurens Dhaenens is a lecturer and researcher at the LUCA School of Arts and a senior postdoctoral fellow of the Flemish Research Fund FWO at the University of Leuven. His research is situated in the fields of exhibition studies, global/worldly art history and digital humanities. Overall, it looks at the circulation of artists, artworks and texts at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. He obtained his PhD in Art History in 2017 with the study Writing Art into Being. The Imaginary Creation of The Argentinian Art Scene in Late Nineteenth-Century Art Criticism that deals with the development of the discourse about art in Argentina at the end of the nineteenth century. His current project, Beyond the Canon: A Digital Art Historical Approach to the International Circuit of Belgian Modern Art Exhibitions in the First Half of the Twentieth Century studies the international circulation of Belgian art, the creation of the modern art canon and the assessment of dormant heritage in national fine arts collections. Dhaenens is also active as a curator. In 2021-2022, he curated together with dr. Fernanda Pitta the exhibition Henrique Alvim Correa and 10 contemporary artists (Netwerk Aalst & Pinacoteka de Sao Paulo) that brought together fin-de-siècle drawings, popular culture and politics. In 2022, he co-curated Transatlantic Modernisms. Belgium-Argentina 1910-1958 (Mu.Zee) that looked at the development of modern art from a different geocultural perspective.