We have made the exhibition The Welfare State because we believe in the possibility of reading politics through culture and vice versa. A society cannot be understood without its culture in general and its visual culture in particular.
In the words of the late social scientist and politician Herman Deleeck “the welfare state is not merely a social system or an institution, but just as much an ethics.” Indeed, one of the fundamental achievements of the welfare state is to regard the ability to acquire knowledge and culture as a social right of all citizens.
The Welfare State is an exhibition with works by eight contemporary artists of different generations: Stephen Willats (England, 1943), Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven (Belgium, 1951), Josef Dabernig (Austria, 1956), Artūras Raila (Lithuania, 1962), Róza El-Hassan (Hungary/Syria, 1966), Kajsa Dahlberg (Sweden, 1973), Francisco Camacho Herrera (Colombia/The Netherlands, 1979) en Donna Kukama (South Africa, 1981).
The exhibition also contains visual materials from four Flemish archives: ADVN–Archive and Research Centre, Antwerp; Amsab–Institute of Social History, Ghent; KADOC–Documentation and Research Centre for Religion, Culture and Society, Leuven; and the Liberal Archives, Ghent. The selection was made by us in close collaboration with Kris De Beule (Liberal Archives), Koen De Scheemaeker (ADVN), Hendrik Ollivier (Amsab), Paule Verbruggen (Amsab) and Luc Vints (KADOC).
In connection with the exhibition we have organised a series of seminars, with the Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy Research at the University of Antwerp; VAI–The Flemish Architecture Institute, Antwerp; and Flemish–Dutch House deBuren, Brussels.
The Welfare State is organised within the framework of “The Uses of Art”, a project by the European museum confederation L’Internationale, and with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union. We are grateful for this, and for the equally invaluable support received from the Lithuanian Cultural Council and Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius; the Mondriaan Fund, Amsterdam; IASPIS, Stockholm; the Federal Chancellery of Austria, Vienna; AIR Antwerpen, Antwerp; and Contemporary Art Heritage Flanders (CAHF), Ghent.
Curator: Anders Kreuger. In M HKA until September 27, 2015