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If the new museum volume embedded in the old building of the very neo-classical Antwerp Museum of Fine Arts, in place of the dismantled patios, is an architectural tour de force, this new “museum within a museum,” designed by Dikkie Scipio (of KAAN Architecten), conceals another structural curiosity that could appear to be a veritable architectural sleight of hand: an entire room transformed into a 3D work. Adjacent to a large room (dedicated to the capture of light in 20th-century works), an oblong space, considered too small to contain works and to accommodate the flow of visitors, was entrusted to the Antwerp artist Boy & Erik Stappaerts (known as BES).

© Karin Borghouts

A champion of pure colors and “the irrational dynamics generated by [their] prismatic and conflicting play,” the inventor of Conflict Paintings has deployed his saturated bands of color on the walls of this space, which looks like a blind corridor, in a sort of hypnotic all-over in camera. Drawn into the dissonance of colors pushed to their maximum potential, both by their saturation and their brilliance and synthetic “perfection” (from their industrial component: the automotive lacquer cover), we are invited to live a real “coloristic experience” that for some, entering (with the colors) their emotions in collision, may take a cathartic turn …

© Karin Borghouts

Stéphanie Dulout

Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (KMSKA) / Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp