Mission and vision
“Our exhibition space does not aim to be an oasis. Our presentation is unfinished, in motion, unpolished, contradictory, untidy, complex, inharmonious, living and unmonumental, like the world outside of the museum walls. You will find no flamboyant sensational buildings here but rather a refreshing, unpretentious place to look at art and a subtle criticism of the art world.”
Founded by art collectors Geert and Carla Verbeke-Lens, the Verbeke Foundation is a private art site which opened its doors to the general public in June 2007. As ‘a refuge’ for arts, the foundation holds an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art and also offers exciting possibilities for emerging as well as less renowned artists.
Culture, nature and ecology go hand in hand at the Verbeke Foundation. With 12 hectares (29.7 acres) of scenic area and 20,000 m² (4,9 acres) of covered space, the Foundation is one of the largest private initiatives for contemporary art throughout Europe. The warehouses of the former Verbeke transport agency were converted into unique exhibition halls. One of the buildings was furnished to exhibit the extraordinary collection of collages and assemblages. The Foundation is subject to ongoing growth and transformation processes. Artists have a possibility to reside, large and small exhibitions are held at the museum continuously. The Verbeke Foundation resembles a living organism and as such it looks different from one day to the next.
Geert and Carla Verbeke-Lens started collecting art in the early 1990s. Initially, they took an interest in abstract painting. Later, the focus of the collection shifted to collages and assemblages created mainly by Belgian artists. In recent years the collection has been further expanded to include contemporary art and bio art.
Collages & assemblages
An exceptional array of about 4500, particularly twentieth century, collages and assemblages lies at the heart of the private collection. A separate exhibition space has been specially designed to permanently display part of the collection.
The Verbeke Foundation wishes to be a place where culture, nature and ecology are closely intertwined. Therefore, the works of bio-artists and artists working with living organisms (plants, animals) dovetail perfectly with the museum. Since the opening of the Verbeke Foundation in 2007, the collection has been expanded to include contemporary art works as well as installations which are predominantly constructed in situ.
Already from the start in 2007 the Verbeke Foundation publishes books. In 2015 we launched a series of artists ‘ monographs, of which five parts are released. Every year a number of new monographs will be published.