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Michael Buthe .Retrospective



.Rinus Van de Velde | Donogoo Tonka


Thursday 3 March 2016 | 11am
opening: Friday 4 March 2016 | 8PM.
Exhibition: 05.03 – 05.06.2016
Jan Hoetplein 1, 9000 Gent Belgium
S.M.A.K. presents a retrospective of work by the German artist Michael Buthe. His work responds in a subversive yet imaginary way to the disappearance of spirituality and myth from the Western world.


Michael Buthe

At the start of his intensive career the artist took part in such major exhibitions as When Attitude became Form(1969) and Documenta V (1972). Buthe’s oeuvre initially showed traces of such modernist movements as Minimalism and Informalism. As from the early 1970s, the artist became fascinated by non-European cultures and regularly travelled to Morocco, the Middle East and Iran. Increasingly, his work started questioning the Western tradition and exuded the atmosphere of the social and societal utopias of the 1960s. Buthe saw art and life as an interwoven whole and took an open and uniting approach to change and diversity. His work presents a critical and imaginary response to the disappearance of spirituality and myth from Western society.




Michael Buthe created textile works, drawings, paintings, assemblage sculptures, photos, collages, diaries and films. The only two of his installations that have been preserved form focal points in this exhibition: Taufkapelle mit Papa und Mama (1984) and Die heilige Nacht der Jungfräulichkeit (1992). In 1984, Buthe mounted an extensive show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the forerunner of S.M.A.K. Taufkapelle mit Papa und Mamawas created for that exhibition and remains an important work in the museum’s collection to this day.

Michael Buthe | Retrospective has been organised in association with the Museum of Art Lucerne and Haus der Kunst, Munich. Initiative and concept: Heinz Stahlhut of the Museum of Art in Lucerne. With the support of Kunststiftung NRW.


Rinus Van de Velde
his second solo exhibition at S.M.A.K. is based on Donogoo Tonka by the French author Jules Romains. Van de Velde visualises the story in a storyboard showing nine charcoal drawings in which he himself plays the leading part.


Rinus Van de Velde (1983, Leuven, Belgium) draws himself as an actor in the biography of an imaginary artist. He builds up his life stories on the basis of found photos and photos of scenes he stages himself. In this context he assumes the identity of various characters.




The large, detailed images are accompanied by texts that establish a context. The drawings look virtuosic, direct, light and cool. But you soon discover the underlying layers: cutting irony, thorough research, visual intelligence, a free imagination and great sensitivity. Van de Velde draws in charcoal. This enables him to work fast and in a consistent style, and brings out the documentary archive nature of his work better. For the S.M.A.K., Van de Velde is making a new installation with drawings.

A catalogue will be published for each exhibition.






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