Ala Champ

Art Deco Splendour

Explore ATLAS in Singapore, An Extraordinary World of Gin & Champagne

Cantabrian Maritime Museum Restaurant

Original Brutalist Arched Paraboloids Are Central To This Restaurant Designed by Zooco Estudio

The Top 6 Art Sites To Visit on Japan’s Art Island

Art, Architecture and Nature Harmoniously Unite


Stay Amongst the Stunning Natural Beauty of Adelaide's Mount Lofty


A Leading Dining Destination In Adelaide's Rural Township of Willunga

Celebrating Moroccan Craftsmanship

Intricate Details and Design at this Boutique Riad In Marrakech


Visit The Great Swiss-French Architect's Studio-Apartment, Restored And Open To The Public


In An Untouched & Secluded Private Garden in Kyoto, Find One Of The World's Best Hotels

Invisible Possibilities

Under The Theme of 'In the Presence of Absence', Desert X AlUla 2024 Enquires ‘What Cannot Be Seen?’


A Tranquil Sanctuary to Stay, High Amongst The Tokyo Skyline

Igniting Flavour by Fire

Adelaide’s First Open-Flame Restaurant Is One of The Top Dining Destinations in the Country

A Culinary Journey Through Taiwan & Beyond

Owner-Chef Richie Lin's Taipei Restaurant Remains Highly Acclaimed — And For Good Reason

Mt Fuji Dreaming

This Glamping Resort is Bringing Guests Closer to Nature


Grasping The Formless: Satoshi Kondo's Spring Summer 2024 Collection

Imagination, Taste and Emotion

In Bali’s Creative Heart, Find a Poetic and Enriching Dessert Restaurant where the Menu Stems from their Own Garden


24 Hours In One of Japan’s Best Art & Design Hotel Destinations


Double Entendre: Artists Michaël Borremans & Mark Manders in Kanazawa

October, 2020
Mark Manders, Composition with Four Yellow Verticals 2017–2019, Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo

Kanazawa’s 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art presents the exhibition of both Belgian painter Michaël Borremans and Dutch sculptor Mark Manders — a joint exhibition that offers a surprisingly new and transformative experience of both artists’ work in the space and completely new context. 

It is the first time at a museum that both artists’ works are presented alongside the other, complimentarily juxtaposed and offering a new narrative for contemporary art. Manders’ large and demanding sculptural forms are graciously positioned by the drawings and oil paintings of Borremans — his two-dimensional works presenting equally inquisitive and complex forms. 

Left: Michaël Borremans, The Angel, 2013 Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp Right: Mark Manders, Composition with Four Yellow Verticals 2017–2019, Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo
Left: Mark Manders, Dry Figure on Chair, 2011–15 Collection of Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Right: Michaël Borremans, Automat (I), 2008 Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

Curated by Hiromi Kurosawa, Chief Curator of 21st Century Museum, Double Silence presents a fluid navigation of space as a journey through the worlds of Borremans and Manders’ view of the museum and his works as a self-portrait within the building. We spoke with Hiromi Kurosawa on how the exhibition presents an intriguing, “intervention” between both artists’ works, and the importance of their traditional mediums reinstating the understanding of contemporary art today.

Kurosawa first notes how the joint exhibition concept came to realisation. “The first time I saw their work together was serendipitous. As they are represented by the same gallery, Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp, one time I visited, Michael Borremans work was hung on the wall, and Mark Manders was on the floor as they were getting ready for installation, and it seemed to click. I then realised it was extremely interesting and intriguing, and it wasn’t just because we had two super famous artists in the same frame, it was because its Mark Manders’ private world, building a self-portrait, and then you had this intervention — by Michael Borremans. That’s why it was so interesting. It wasn’t a violent intervention, it was an intervention of a level of a concept — and it was also incredibly beautiful. That’s when I started thinking that perhaps you could do a double, two-person show, together.”

Double Silence is a culmination of the historical and contextual longevity of art. Kurosawa explains, “We have recently been talking about (Japanese daimyo) Oda Nobunaga from the Sengoku era. Still, after 400 years, we are looking for something new from that era. [In relation to Double Silence with Michaël Borremans and Mark Manders], we are trying not to excavate something old, but to evoke something new to you. It is not about discovering unknown facts, but really about trying bring things to attention through a physical experience.”

Left: Mark Manders, Dry Figure on Chair, 2011–15, Collection of Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Middle: Michaël Borremans, Automat (I), 2008, Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp Right: Mark Manders, Staged Android (Reduced to 88%) , 2002-2014, Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Left: Michaël Borremans, Jack, 2018, Private collection Middle: Mark Manders, Composition with Four Yellow Verticals, 2017–2019, Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo Courtesy: Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp Right: Michaël Borremans The Loan, 2011, Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

Working from an initial photograph, staged and taken by Borremans himself, he then repetitiously paints and repaints the image until settling on a result. Each shadow, angle and expression can differentiate, reflecting varying meanings or subjectiveness. Heavily influenced by the Spanish baroque period painter Diego Velázquez and Édouard Manet, the French 19th century modernist painter, Borremans’ dark, enigmatic works hold a sense of anxiety and uncertainty — requiring a double take and extended glance to determine the various layered meanings and details incorporated within.

Whilst evidently appearing as large, clay sculptures, the work of Manders’ are in fact bronze structures layered with paint. It’s a surprising twist that forces the viewer to completely reimagine his practice — one built with the power and persistence of his body — as a fragile exploration of fact and fiction. As an endless self-portrait, he positions his works in the context of the museum — self-aware and space-aware. Language and the understanding of his surroundings are critical to Manders’ works, where here at 21st Century Museum they have been perfectly executed. Kurosawa explains, Basically, Mark Manders has this really good sense of spatial awareness and he really understood where the works were going to compliment the best. As a curator of course you have this idea of a narrative, of how you’re going to get the story, most cases he won, I lost.”

Throughout the challenge of an already unpredictable year, the exhibition presents the ongoing relevance of traditional practices in contemporary art, remaining reverential against current technological advances. Kurosawa continues, The most important thing I took away from this exhibition was that for the past two decades or so, technology has been making various advances. Basically, if you are a contemporary artist today, you’d be pursuing the latest technology, the latest new technique or the latest new medium. Personally, deep down I’ve always felt some trouble, that there has been this emphasis on the latest, the most brightest, the most advanced technology where people are ignoring the validity and importance of traditional media and the traditional forms of expression.”

Kurosawa highlights the importance of a works’ meaning — above any superficial associations — that ensures it’s relevance. She explains, “I’ve always believed that how strong the work is, is not determined by the age or how new it is. Even if it is from the Greek or Roman Classical period, if it speaks to you —  it is working. Because, we are all human, and there has been no fundamental difference to that. A good work speaks to us on every level, and age has nothing to do with it. I have no way of determining how we have evolved, developed or changed, but works which are 2000 years old can still speak us and we can relate to them. If the artists are willing to listen to what these works have to say to us, then I think it’s really important that we at least listen to what they have to say to us.”

Mark Manders, Fox / Mouse / Belt (fragment from Self-portrait as a building) 1992–1993, Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo
Left: Mark Manders, Dry Clay Head , 2016-2017, Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp Right: Mark Manders, Two Immovable Heads, 2015-2016, Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo


Michaël Borremans and Mark Manders
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan

2020.9.19 – 2021.2.28

Front: Mark Manders, Dry Clay Figure, 2014, Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp Back: Mark Manders, Dry Clay Head, 2015-2016, Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
From left: Michaël Borremans, Magnolias - (I), 2012, Private collection, The Angel, 2013, Courtesy: Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, Fire from the Sun, 2017, Private collection, Jack, 2018, Private collection
All images © KIOKU Keizo
Courtesy: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
October, 2020