Consider that the painters of the Flanders region are credited with the invention of oil painting, with its lustrous color, such delicious texture, and it’s easy to understand why the spirit of the Low Countries is celebrated in a 7th Biennial of Painting. Three regional, visual art museums on the banks of the Leie River are currently hosting the 2020 in the area still synonymous with the Dutch Golden Age, which still echoes with the spirituality of Van Eyck, the bizarre Bosch and Bruegal’s portrayal of brutality. 


Museum of Deinze and the Leie Region (Mudel), Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, and Roger Raveel Museum continue this cultural legacy in a selection of works entitled Inner Spaces. While the last Biennial focused on landscape, this year studies the theme of interiors, and coincidentally, it was chosen long before the outbreak of the Coronavirus, this time when public indoor spaces have been shuttered. Although still lifes and domestics have a long history in traditional and contemporary practice, the subject is particularly resonant in the wake of global confinement. As new hybrid spaces blur the line among home, work, and leisure life the question of what qualifies as interior, or even private, becomes is being redefined. Presentations in the current Biennial offer works from museum collections to enter into dialogue with paintings on loan from public and private collections, as well as with contemporary artworks.

The Biennial combines the works of internationally heralded artists like as Chantal Akerman, Lili Dujourie, Raoul De Keyser,  Luc Tuymans, René Daniëls, Melissa Gordon, Walid Raad, Valérie Mannaerts, Roger Raveel, Narcisse Tordoir and Jan Vercruysse with up-and-coming local artists such as Joëlle Dubois, Bendt Eyckermans and Sarah De Vos. The Biennial of Painting is on view through 18 October 2020 at the three visual art museums. —Sasha Bogojev