The Last Acquisition

The Last Acquisition was a performance at the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp, which opened in 1950 as the first museum for modern art in Belgium and one of the first open-air museums for sculpture in Europe. The performance investigated the heritage of the museum, which was strongly influenced by its initiator Lode Craeybeckx (1897 – 1976), who was also the mayor of Antwerp from 1947 until 1976 and a convinced socialist. Craeybeckx organized many of the exhibitions that took place at Middelheim in the first decades.

While guiding through the park a performer retold – based on found documents, speeches, scripts and letters – the history of the museum. The performance recalled moments of political articulation, of historical ways of speech and mediation. By transforming the history of the museum into a performance the stances of the historical works were put under a new and close observation and recontextualized. Points of view and forms of representation were put into question. How does the collection as remnant of a political ideology come to speech today?

Mimicry and overlayering worked as principles of the new narration while acting as two discontinuent layers. By placing different elements of the performance in close proximity, they revealed connections, intentions and ideas of the museum that had gone lost and opened up a new imaginative space.

Performer: Martin Nachbar, Coaching: Lilia Mestre, Sound: Nikolaus Gansterer, Text: Alphonso Lingis and Paul Hendrikse
Graphic design poster/invites: Katja Gretzinger