The welcoming house of contemporary art
TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTOS © GEUKENS & DE VIL, ANTWERP
From the Baroque period onwards, Antwerp has been a vibrant hub for artists and art aficionados. Today, the city proves very attractive for the contemporary art scene’s finest. As one of the oldest contemporary galleries around, Geukens & De Vil has expertise galore in attracting the best in the business and recognising superstars in the making.
When they opened their gallery in 1998, art historians Yasmine Geukens and Marie-Paule De Vil chose to settle in the elegant coastal town of Knokke. After nine years, however, the Antwerp-raised duo felt the need to head back to their roots and opened a second branch in Flanders’ most beloved city. “We missed the fuss of the metropole,” Geukens explains. “Back then, Knokke wasn’t the ideal place to skyrocket young and progressive artists from. Here in Antwerp, however, craving for all things new and creative is second nature.” This second branch soon became a sanctuary for contemporary art of all manners. Paintings, complex installations, fascinating photography… all have adorned its walls. “Although our combined taste is very eclectic, we always agree on what to exhibit and which story to tell. That is our biggest strength: the fact that Marie-Paule and I have been on the same page for over two decades already. Geukens & De Vil genuinely reflects both our personalities.”
Throughout the years, both the gallery in Antwerp and the one in Knokke have attracted a loyal group of art collectors and enthusiasts. Amongst them are seasoned aficionados and die-hard collectors who know their way around a gallery as well as young and curious cultural novices. “A common misunderstanding about galleries is that you are not welcome if you don’t intend to buy anything. Yet, the opposite is true; everyone who enjoys art is welcome to take a look around. Since our portfolio counts modest pieces of young prodigies as well, besides the more expensive ones from settled values, everyone can buy art here. Young collectors can even purchase a piece of art in instalments here. This way, art is affordable to all.”
From September until October, the American artist Luke Diiorio takes over Geukens & De Vil with his monochrome oeuvre, questioning the anatomy of the canvas. In November and December, Antwerp’s Peter De Meyer and Vienna’s Roman Pfeffer engage in dialogue about what it means to be an artist.
Yasmine Geukens and Marie-Paule De Vil.