Category: Exhibition

This spring, the Jewish Museum of Belgium is delighted to present an exhibition from the Center for Jewish-Moroccan Culture (CCJM) titled “Tanger. Ville mythique” (Mythical Tangier).

Through a vast array of archives and artworks from the collection of the Center for Judeo-Moroccan Culture, visitors are invited on a journey through time and space to discover this city with a thousand faces.

As a bridge between Africa and Europe, a western beacon in the Mediterranean, Tangier has always held a special place in the history of the Kingdom of Morocco. Its strategic location has made it a coveted area since antiquity by major empires and conquerors, with successive invasions shaping its customs and traditions. These influences are still evident in its craftsmanship, a cultural richness perceptible in both its costume art and local jewelry. The coexistence of different societies and religions – Muslims, Jews, and Europeans – makes it a cosmopolitan and unique space in Morocco, oriented towards Europe. Between land, sea, and ocean, the “Pearl of the North” offers inspiring landscapes that attract artists: painters, photographers, and filmmakers come to soak up its unique atmosphere. But Tangier is also active on the political and diplomatic stage, the scene of several major events in the history of North Africa over the centuries, as the exhibition’s journey portrays.

The last exhibition of the Jewish Museum of Belgium before closing for construction works in late 2024, Passage reflects on the idea of transformation. It explores how the spiritual blends with the profane life, how the rite combines with the ordinary, and what happens when the collective and the intimate tie together.  

The exhibition consists of three complementary paths. The first immerses us in the universe of Charlemagne Palestine. In an installation entitled «AA BATT BEARR BARR MITZVAHH INN MESHUGAHLANDDD», the artist reinterprets the transition to adulthood in the Jewish tradition. In the tradition of schmattès, the Yiddish word for rags or second-hand clothes, he reinvents the gestures of collecting, sewing, and mending the fabric that mark the history of the Jewish worlds.

Echoing the fabric assemblages of Charlemagne Palestine, the second route proposes a dialogue around textiles, by crossing the collections of the Jewish Museum of Belgium, those of the Center of Judeo-Moroccan Culture, and the interventions of four contemporary artists: Jennifer Bornstein, Richard Moszkowicz, Elise Peroi, Arlette Vermeiren. This game of free-spirited associations reminds us that textile work is, in itself, a ritual practice and that women occupy a central place in it. It also shows that fabrics are never a mere adornment: alternately, they are places of memory, symbols of celebration, or accessions to the sacred.  

Through a performances program, the third path questions the contemporary resurgence of beliefs and rites. Hilal Aydoğdu, David Bernstein, Barbara Salomé Felgenhauer, and Zinaïda Tchelidze rethink the museum space to create an intimate and sensory laboratory, conducive to reflection and exchange.

A symbolic gesture, Passage is not only the end point of an exhibition program that has been running in this building for over twenty years. This exhibition questions the future Jewish Museum, which will also imagine new forms of passages.

From September 29, the Jewish Museum of Belgium  proposes an exhibition featuring the photographer Erwin Blumenfeld (1897-1969). Famous for his exceptionnaly creative fashion portraits, Blumenfeld’s artistry is offers a polymorphic work where Dadaïst inspiration, political committment and artistic expérimentations intertwine.

Featuring over a hundred photographs, the exhibition looks back at the life of this Berlin Jew who evolved within the cultural avant-garde movement in Amsterdam and Paris. As WWII broke out, he endured internment in a camp but was able to flee to New York in 1941 where his art blossomed with a free exploration of shapes and colors.

On view in its Project Space, the Jewish Museum of Belgium presents the paintings of the Canadian-born Brussels-based artist Shoshana Walfish (°1988). This exhibition focuses on the artist’s research into the representation of the female body, in two scopes. Rooted in the classical pictorial tradition, her works vary in scale and style, from sculptural figuration to figurative abstraction.

Shoshana Walfish questions the idea of the woman as an object and of objects as female bodies. Between surrealism and the absurd, Walfish questions the gaze, the objectification and the narratives produced by history and art history. In a second series, Walfish explores the lush aesthetic allusions associated with body organs, thus mingling corporality with the natural world, science and society.

Chantal Akerman, Marianne Berenhaut, Sarah Kaliski and Julia Pirotte are artists. One makes films, the other sculptures. Another is a painter, the last a photographer. Four Jewish women. Coming from different generations, they emigrated or were born of stateless parents who fled Eastern Europe and the persecutions of the 1930s. All four lived in Brussels and have in common that they lived – directly or through their relatives – through the Occupation, that they saw and suffered deportations, that they lived through the disaster. 

Chantal, Marianne, Sarah and Julia are sisters. Sisters from other parents. They have survived, or simply lived, thanks to their own resilience. Like Ruth Elias, Ada Lichtman, Paula Biren and Hanna Marton, The Four Sisters who returned from the death camps and whose testimonies were collected by the filmmaker Claude Lanzmann in the late 1970s, they share the experience of the Shoah. They are custodians of a memory, made up of as many stories as of absences and incomplete words. A gap, a silence, a haunting which they inherited.

These artists have created works, languages, and ways of seeing in and around this hole in history, in their history. Evolving each in a singular world, Chantal, Marianne, Sarah and Julia have sometimes crossed paths, seen each other at the bend of an exhibition or a projection. These women have built themselves with a strength and a commitment that make them today’s models of life and freedom. As Jews, they have questioned the weight of belonging and transmission, the power of a scattered and diasporic culture.

Four Sisters is a choral exhibition that follows the gaze of these four figures, whose lives, placed end to end, cover an entire century of history, where events and places, destruction and emancipation, political transformations and intimate experimentations are connected. Combining works and archives, images and texts, monographic presentations and collective arrangements, Four Sisters interweaves the threads of these life stories in a weaving fashion extending into the present, through the punctuated participation of artists from a younger generation. Within Four Sisters, in the details and folds, memories mingling with fiction, there are gestures, times and fragments whose echoes resonate and compose new patterns, like a memory that can only be formed in sharing.

This exhibition project is realized in partnership with Bozar, the Museum of Photography of Charleroi, the C.A Foundation and the Polish Institute Brussels.

This exhibition offers an artistic take on an exceptional episode in the history of the Second World War. On 19 April 1943, the Twentieth convoy left the Mechelen transit camp for Auschwitz, with 1,631 Jewish deportees on board. Thanks to acts of resistance onboard and an attack by the resistance along the way, 236 of these deportees managed to jump off the train that was carrying them to their extermination.  

The photographer Jo Struyven (b. Sint-Truiden, 1961) reflects on this unique act of rebellion in Western Europe under Nazi administration, showing us the landscapes in which this little-known story took place. These photographs constitute a contemporary “memorial”, providing a response to the indifference that characterises these stripped landscapes today. Although they seem devoid of human presence, they were nevertheless infused with (in)humanity.  

Two paintings by Luc Tuymans (b. Mortsel, 1958), which also evoke the destruction of the European Jews and Romani, engage in a dialogue with these photos. In his work, Tuymans has repeatedly explored the relationship between individuals and history, confronting them with their ability to ignore it. The persecution during the Second World War emerged as a theme in his painting practice in the late 1970s. 

“To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric”, the German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno famously said in 1949. The exhibition raises the question of whether art is (im)possible after the Holocaust, through the perspectives of two visual artists. 

Organised in partnership with the Auschwitz Foundation, this exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue book (to be published on 19 April 2023), as well as an educational area presenting the testimonies of escapees from the 20th deportation convoy.

Luc Tuymans, Our New Quarters, 1986, oil on canvas, 80.5 x 120 cm (MMK -Germany)

Luc Tuymans, Die Wiedergutmachung, 1989. Oil on board, mounted on plywood,
Oil on canvas; diptych, 36.6 x 43 cm, 39.4 x 51.8 cm (Private collection)

In partnership with PhotoBrussels Festival

This exhibition, Moroccan women – Between ethic and aesthetic, – an original creation of the Centre de la Culture Judéo-Marocaine – revisits the rules of appearance in Moroccan aesthetics, explores the ethics and customs imposed on women as well as the motivations – still at work – of these highly codified customs.

For the first time, ancient productions and recent creations are put in dialogue, in a rich narrative journey presenting a large quantity of objects dating from the 16th century to the present day: traditional and cultic objects, clothes, ornaments, talismans and jewels, archival documents, photographs and drawings, orientalist paintings coming from the Dahan-Hirsch Collection, which holds a special place in the safeguarding of Morocco’s cultural and civilizational heritage, whose great historical and affective value we measure here.

Jacques Aron (Antwerp 1933), architect and urban planner, has taught the history and theory of these disciplines. An honorary professor at the University, he has always devoted himself to writing and visual arts. He is also the author of numerous works on architecture, philosophy and Jewishness, particularly in German-speaking countries.

From the 1990s onwards, he tried his hand at collage, initially on paper but soon in digital form. This artistic practice complements his research into an overall philosophical conception of the European Jewish condition.

Passionate about painting and the history of Western painting, this self-taught artist seized a creative opportunity: the sculpture on the beach at Ostend by the artist Kris Martin, which, in oxidised steel, reproduces the shape of the frame of the polyptych of the Mystic Lamb by the Van Eyck brothers.

The beach altar in Ostend is a nod to the name given by Kris Martin to his sculpture planted on the beach in front of the Palais des Thermes hotel. This empty frame offers walkers the chance to use it as windows evoking different seascapes that change with the light of day and the seasons.

Or perhaps it is an enigma for them, or a structure that they can use as a support for physical exercise, or even to take a photo souvenir, or to photograph themselves in the contemporary age of selfies?

In this series of collages, he links the idea of the empty frame to that of the death of God, as written by Nietzsche in particular. Once the frame is empty, the collage artist’s imagination is free to fill it with a multitude of themes, sometimes drawn from the works of other famous painters such as Ensor, Magritte, Bruegel, Poussin, Géricault, Millet, and others, who rub shoulders with some of the characters of the Van Eyck brothers, or other themes born of his extensive literary culture.

Through the various works on display, visitors are invited to try and work out which artists feature in which collages.

The Arie Mandelbaum exhibition is an original creation of the Jewish Museum of Belgium. Fre-
quently exhibited, the work of painter Arié Mandelbaum (°1939, Brussels) had not yet been the
subject of a retrospective. For the first time, old productions and recent creations engage in dia-
logue here, in a journey which starts in 1957 and ends in 2016.

Arié Mandelbaum, the son of Polish Jewish immigrants, began painting at the age of sixteen. As
from the early 1960s, he was considered one of the most promising talents in Belgian painting. His
idiosyncratic and compelling oeuvre continued to develop over the decades that followed. After
the heightened expressionism of his early days, greater restraint followed as of the 1980s, giving
rise to works of disturbing fragility, which he has created to this day.

The exhibition is structured around different themes. We first discover the way in which the artist
deals with intimacy, before politics – especially the anti-authoritarian protest of 1968 – telescopes
his soul-searching. The visit continues with the exploration of the self-portrait and the body, two
themes through which we see the work of Arié Mandelbaum transform into a reflection on trace,
absence and erasure. Political violence, particularly related to (neo)colonialism, then made a
marked return in his work. Over the past two decades, it has become increasingly influenced by
the memory of the Shoah – as a return to what was repressed in this child of the war, who will re-
main a rebel painter all his life.

The works presented come from the collections of the Jewish Museum of Belgium, but also from
institutions such as the Museum of Ixelles, the Museum of the National Bank of Belgium or the
collections of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. A number of private collections have also been
mobilized, in particular those of private individuals and the Belfius Art Collection.

Arié Mandelbaum, Untitled, 1987, 150 x 162 cm, mixed technique on canvas, Hugo Godderis collection, Veurne
© Jan Van Goidsenhoven

Arié Mandelbaum, L’Amandier de Fontenoille, 1989, 162 x 150 cm, acrylic on canvas, Hugo Godderis collection, Veurne © Jan Van Goidsenhoven

Arié Mandelbaum, Le canapé vert n°1, 1968, 1220 x 720 cm, oil and coloured chalk on paper, collection of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Mon © coll. Communauté française de Belgique

Arié Mandelbaum, The Assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Maurice M’Polo and Joseph Okito – 2 – The Villa Brouwez, 2011, 180 x 210 cm, charcoal and coloured chalk on paper mounted on canvas, Jewish Museum of Belgium, Brussels © Anass El Azhar Idrissi

The Jewish Museum of Belgium is pleased to present a new exhibition devoted to the American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007). The exhibition is organized by Barbara Cuglietta and Stephanie Manasseh in collaboration with the artist’s family.
Through a unique selection of Wall Drawings, works on paper, gouaches, structures and archives dating from the 1960s to the 2000s, this exhibition aims to highlight the diversity and unity in Sol LeWitt’s prolific work. It will feature a double “premiere”: an exploration of his Jewish heritage and an investigation of his links with Belgium. It will also be accompanied by the launch of the new Sol LeWitt app created by Microsoft.


Born in Hartford, Connecticut, into a Jewish immigrant family from Russia, Solomon (Sol) LeWitt is one of the pioneers of conceptual and minimal art, best known for his Wall Drawings. Although he is not religious, leading a secularized life, Sol LeWitt has maintained discreet but tenacious links with his Jewish heritage throughout his life. In the 1990s, he became actively involved in his community in Chester, Connecticut, designing the new synagogue for the Reform Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, which was inaugurated in 2001. For Sol LeWitt, designing a synagogue was “a problem of geometric forms in a space that conforms to ritual usage”. With the help of archives, drawings, photographs and testimonials, the exhibition explores the genesis of this major project, which has remained little known to the public until now.

The exhibition also addresses another forgotten aspect of Sol LeWitt’s career: the close relationships he developed throughout his career with collectors, gallery owners and artists based in Belgium. Visitors will be able to discover Wall Drawing #138, first shown in Brussels at the MTL gallery – which played a pioneering role in introducing conceptual art to Belgium – as well as Sol LeWitt’s collaboration with architect Charles Vandenhove on the design of the University Hospital in Liège.

All the works shown in the exhibition come from Belgian public and private collections, as well as from the LeWitt Collection. As for the realization of the Wall Drawings, directly on the walls of the Jewish Museum of Belgium, it is the occasion of an exceptional participative experience, bringing together alongside professional draftsmen from the LeWitt studio young artists and art students based in Brussels. For each mural, teams are formed around a professional assistant who accompanies and guides the apprentices. This educational initiative is a unique opportunity for the latter to be involved in the creative process of one of the greatest American artists.

Finally, the exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Belgium is the occasion for the European launch of a smartphone application dedicated to the artist and his work, developed by Microsoft with the LeWitt Collection. True to Sol LeWitt’s desire to make art accessible to all, this app will offer visitors an immersive and educational experience unlike any other.

Wall Drawing #528G, 1987, india ink and color ink wash. Installation view at the Jewish Museum of Belgium (c) Private Collection, Belgium / Picture: Hugard & Vanoverschelde

© Estate of Sol LeWitt, 2021