Ensor 2024 in Antwerp

Ensor 2024 in Antwerp

Four top-level exhibitions from 28 September onwards

From 28 September onwards, Antwerp will be celebrating the Belgian artist James Ensor by staging four different and world-class exhibitions. The exhibitions will provide an extensive demonstration of the many facets of Ensor's work and will show how he is still a source of inspiration for the painters of today. In one of the largest retrospective exhibitions that has ever been held in Belgium, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) will shine a light on how Ensor radically broke the rules of art and went on to become a game-changer in the world of art. The Museum Plantin-Moretus will be transformed into a laboratory for graphic experiments and for the first time here in Belgium, the FOMU will be displaying photos by the world-famous American photographer, Cindy Sherman. Just like Ensor, her work poses critical questions about identity, gender and stereotyping. In the Fashion Museum, make-up artists will be exploring the path towards personal expression, artistic experimentation and freedom.

James Ensor was born on 13 April 1860 and 2024 will mark the 75th anniversary of his death. From 28 September onwards, Antwerp will be commemorating this versatile artist. Four different exhibitions in Antwerp will shine a light on his groundbreaking oeuvre in the international context that existed in Ensor's era and will show how his visual language still forms a source of inspiration for contemporary photography, fashion and make-up. Along with a select group of European avant-garde artists, James Ensor is still regarded as an innovator, a game-changer and as a figure who inspires. That is the story that Antwerp will set out to tell in the form of the four exhibitions, in which masks merely form the beginning of a profound and meaningful journey.


KMSKA 28.09.24 - 19.01.25 

In its exhibition, the KMSKA, which is the home of the largest collection of Ensor's works in the world, will show the public how Ensor broke the rules of art and went on to radically rewrite them. French impressionism was not to his liking. But everything that was gruesome, grotesque, fanciful or humorous certainly was. That is the point at which both his and our ‘wildest dreams’ begin. Ensor's The Oyster Eater alongside Manet, Monet next to Adam and Eve, and Ensor rivalling with Munch or Nolde. Visitors will be treated to some absolute masterpieces from famous museums such as the MoMa and the Metropolitan in New York, the Chicago Art Institute, the Musée d’Orsay and the National Gallery London. 

In Your Wildest Dreams | KMSKA
The KMSKA boasts the largest and most varied Ensor collection anywhere in the world and is also home to the Ensor Research Project – the leading centre for the study of this modern master. All of which makes the museum the ideal venue for the all-round exploration of the artist offered by Ensor’s Wildest Dreams.


MUSEUM PLANTIN-MORETUS 28.09.24 - 19.01.25 

The Museum Plantin-Moretus will be presenting Ensor's states of imagination, a remarkable graphic adventure. In his younger days as an artist, Ensor exuberantly experimented with etching techniques for several years. He was not a born print-maker, but he soon developed a unique approach to the medium. With predecessors such as Rembrandt in the back of his mind, Ensor embarked on a route that was entirely his own. His studio became a test lab for experiments, in which good luck sometimes also played a part.

For the first time ever, Ensor's states of imagination will bring together the most remarkable results of these experiments: preparatory drawings, copper plates and prints in a variety of states. Some unexpected details turn up that way, large masses of people are given added depth and new figures take shape.

Ensor's States of Imagination
How did Ensor make prints? What techniques did he use? In what way did he experiment with this medium and which old masters inspired him?
Museum Plantin-Moretus



FOMU 28.09.24 - 02.02.25 

FOMU will be holding an exhibition of works by the American photographer Cindy Sherman, who is one of the most important living artists. Sherman is world-famous for her satirical and socially critical portraits, in which she uses herself as a model. This is her first retrospective in Belgium and will include familiar and unknown works from leading collections worldwide.

Like Ensor, Cindy Sherman is known for her critical and ironic commentary on social conventions through masquerades. In her work, she asks critical questions about gender, stereotypes and age. Sherman's broad spectrum of characters reveals the artificial and changeable nature of identity, which more than ever before seems to have become a matter of choice and something that is (self)constructed and fluid. 

FOMU will follow the example of ENSOR 2024 by translating issues from James Ensor's oeuvre into a contemporary artistic context.

FOMU Antwerpen | Exhibitions | Cindy Sherman - Anti-fashion
For almost 50 years, the subject of fashion has been a constant in the work of US artist Cindy Sherman. The exhibition Anti-Fashion approaches her photographic oeuvre from a new perspective.


MoMu 28.09.24 - 02.02.25

At MoMu, Ensor's ideas around masquerade, (false) coquetry, seduction, deception and the artificial and ephemeral are brought forward to the present day.

MoMu will be celebrating the painters in the realm of fashion, that is, the expertise and inexhaustible creativity of make-up and hair artists, in a multimedia exhibition in which light, colour, art, fashion and make-up come together.

Nowadays, make-up and beauty have expanded into a multi-billion dollar industry that confronts human beings with their physical impermanence, imagined imperfections and existential fears. But make-up, just like paint, is also a means of personal expression, artistic experimentation and a source of joy and freedom. The exhibition will set out to investigate how closely make-up is interwoven with many aspects of what it means to be a human.

Masquerade, Makeup & Ensor / MoMu - Fashion Museum Antwerp
From September 2024, several Antwerp museums will highlight the oeuvre of Ensor. At MoMu, James Ensor’s explorations about masquerade, (false) coquetry, seducti
MoMu Antwerp

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