M HKA gaat digitaal

Met M HKA Ensembles zetten we onze eerste échte stappen in het digitale landschap. Ons doel is met behulp van nieuwe media de kunstwerken nog beter te kaderen dan we tot nu toe hebben kunnen doen.

We geven momenteel prioriteit aan smartphones en tablets, m.a.w. de in-museum-ervaring. Maar we zijn evenzeer hard aan het werk aan een veelzijdige desktop-versie. Tot het zover is vind je hier deze tussenversie.

M HKA goes digital

Embracing the possibilities of new media, M HKA is making a particular effort to share its knowledge and give art the framework it deserves.

We are currently focusing on the experience in the museum with this application for smartphones and tablets. In the future this will also lead to a versatile desktop version, which is now still in its construction phase.

Walter Swennen

©image: M HKA

° 1946

Lives in Brussels (BE), born in Brussels (BE).

 Walter Swennen: an ominous smile on canvas

Walter Swennen is a pioneer of the 'new painting' of the 1980s. His paintings are a precise pictorial treatment of ideas that could also have been developed in a text. Swennen's paintings and drawings teem with images from mass media and popular culture, particularly comics. While everyone recognises and identifies such images, we each react to them differently on an emotional level, and they have different connotations for each of us. Walter Swennen's work invites the observer to forego reason for the imagination.

A visual artist for more than fifty years, Walter Swennen is considered one of the figureheads of contemporary painting. After training as an engraver, Swennen veered towards performance art and poetry, heavily influenced by the Beat Generation. In 1980, he produced his first large-scale, mainly monochrome paintings and drawings in which language plays an important role. He is best known for his radical, experimental, and associative approach to painting, in accordance with his belief in the total autonomy of the artwork. His oeuvre encompasses figuration and abstraction, colour and black and white, language and iconography, image and underlying image, humour and irony, harmony and contradiction, and is highly diverse in terms of techniques, materials, motifs, style and scale. Swennen's paintings are associative in nature, exploring the relationship between symbols, language, legibility, meaning, and pictorial treatment. His practice essentially is an ongoing exploration into the nature and problems of painting.

From 1984 to 2010, Swennen lived and worked in Antwerp. In 1994, the M HKA organised a major solo show of his work, the first exhibition dedicated to a painter since the museum's creation in 1987. His show at Micheline Szwacjer Gallery the following year was distinctly political in nature, both in terms of the subject matter of the canvases and the choice of medium. Swennen used shabby materials, which he sourced from the residents of the largely underprivileged neighbourhood, which included the large migrant community that used to live there: a potent reminder that Zuidwijk was quite rundown before the art scene moved in. 

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled], 1971-1973.Drawing, mixed media, paper, 196 x 149 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel (Souvenir) [Untitled (Souvenir)], 1982.Leaflet, oil paint, paper, canvas, 231 x 150 cm.

>Pierre Vlerick , Roger Wittevrongel , Jan Vanriet, Hugo Duchateau, Mark Luyten, Walter Swennen, Ado Hamelryck, Fred Bervoets, Philippe Vandenberg, Marcel van Jole, Negen hedendaagse tekenaars uit Vlaanderen, 1985.Book, ink, paper, 29.6 x 21 cm, 24 p., language : Dutch, publisher : ICC/Internationaal Cultureel Centrum, Antwerpen.

>Walter Swennen, De Kerstboom van Kurt Schwitters, 1985.Painting, oil, lacquer on wood, 113 x 78 cm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel (Gods Voet) [Untitled (God's Foot)], 1985.Painting, oil paint on canvas, 200 x 160 cm.

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>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel, 1986.Painting, gouache on paper, 34 x 27 cm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel, 1986.Painting, verf op doek, 180 x 210 cm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel (Manivelle), 1986.Painting, olieverf op doek, 94.5 x 63.5 x 5 cm.

>Walter Swennen, Mesmeric Revelation, 1987-1988.Painting, oil, lacquer, canvas, 200 x 190 cm.

>Walter Swennen, ZT 03, 1988.Painting, oil on canvas, 43 x 35 cm.

>Walter Swennen, W. Swennen, 1994.Book, ink, paper, 27 x 21 cm, 144 p., language : Dutch, English, publisher : Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen.

>Walter Swennen, De Heilige Bart, 1996.Painting, oil on canvas, 84 x 75 cm.

>Hans Theys, Walter Swennen, Le Cow-boy, 1997.Book, ink, paper, 64 p., ISBN: none.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel (Oskar), 2003.Sculpture, bronze, paper, 67 x 30 cm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel 2, 2005.Print, 52 x 52 cm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel 1, 2005.Print, 52 x 52 cm.

>Walter Swennen, Zij die van hier zijn zijn van hier, 2006.Painting, acryl op doek, 40 x 50 cm.

>Walter Swennen, Zij die hier zijn zijn van hier, 2007.Print, zeefrduk, 56 x 76 cm.

>Walter Swennen, Leeuw [Lion], 2007.Painting, oil, canvas, 170 x 150 cm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, paper, 230 X 170 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, paper, 196 x 148 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, paper, 210 x 133 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, paper, 210 x 148 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, ballpoint pen on paper, 208 x 132 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, paper, 196 x 147 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, paper, 198 x 158 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, paper, 168 x 136 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, paper, 280 x 210 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, paper, 280 x 210 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, paint, paper, 196 x 147 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Popelier + poppermeke.Drawing, mixed media, paper, 197 x 148 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, mixed media, paper, 209 x 169 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder titel [Untitled].Drawing, paper, 198 x 149 mm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder Titel.Drawing, paper, 21 x 14,8 cm.

>Walter Swennen, Zonder Titel.Drawing, paper, 20,8 x 13,2 cm.

Exhibitions & Ensembles

> Exhibition: AMBERES – Roberto Bolaño’s Antwerp. 07 June 2019 - 15 September 2019.

> Exhibition: EXTRA MUROS: Tracés. Similarities and dissonants. 01 March 2012 - 31 March 2012.

> Exhibition: EXTRA MUROS: Visite Herzele – Beyond words. 03 April 2015 - 03 May 2015.

> Exhibition: INBOX: Herinneringen aan Montevideo: De Antwerpse Avant-Garde in de vroeger jaren '80. Deel 1: 1981-1982. 17 June 2016 - 10 July 2016.

> Exhibition: INBOX: Herinneringen aan Montevideo: De Antwerpse Avant-Garde in de vroeger jaren '80. Deel 2: 1983-1984. 15 July 2016 - 07 August 2016.

> Exhibition: Let's Play Museum. 10 June 2023 - 17 September 2023.

> Exhibition: Museum in Motion. 16 September 2022 - 08 January 2023.

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> Exhibition: Museum in Motion - Walter Swennen. 16 September 2022 - 08 January 2023.

> Exhibition: Narcisse Tordoir – The Pink Spy. 13 March 2014 - 25 May 2014.

> Exhibition: Salon de Peinture. 17 January 2019 - 31 March 2019.

> Exhibition: The City Collection: IN/SIGHT. 16 May 2024 - 06 January 2025.

> Exhibition: The collection II – Winter 2002. 23 November 2002 - 09 February 2003.

> Exhibition: The Eightees – A Decade of Extremes. 17 June 2016 - 18 September 2016.

> Exhibition: Visite Herentals - Reflections 2. 04 March 2017 - 26 March 2017.

> Exhibition: Walter Swennen. 17 September 1994 - 20 November 1994.

> Exhibition: Walter Swennen. 05 October 2013 - 26 January 2014.

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> Ensemble: 2022.

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> Ensemble: An Architecture for Art - Walter Swennen.


> Ensemble: Collectie Vlaamse Gemeenschap.

> Ensemble: De M HKA - Collectie [The M HKA Collection].




> Ensemble: NUCLEUS.

> Ensemble: The City Collection / De Stadscollectie / La collection municipale.

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> Ensemble: The Hat or the Rose, the Common Place.