Montevideo opened on 6 June 1981 with Beam Space, a sound and light installation created by Luc Steels. This installation foregrounded the multi-disciplinary character of Montevideo as it balanced art, technology and science.
On 18 December 1982, Luc Deleu’s Schaal en Perspectief [Scale and Perspective] opened, accompanied by a performance by the Belgian funk group Allez Allez. Bisecting Montevideo’s hall was a crane, which Luc Deleu placed horizontally to emphasise the space’s enormous scale.
On 31 December 1981, Luc Deleu’s crane formed the setting for Montevideo’s new year’s party, to the sound of Rasta Connection.
After Soldes, Montevideo hosted a new exhibition entitled Ziektekiemen [Germs] which opened on 27 March 1982.
Ziektekiemen was a piece by the Belgian theater group AKT which negotiated the confrontation between men and women. The women were played by men, radically braking with Belgian theater conventions.
On 28 May 1982, Montevideo welcomed Bangkok, a performance by the German group Minus Delta T. The group made video and audio recordings of all the places they visited, thereby capturing their different cultures and traditions. With Bangkok, Montevideo confirmed its intent to become a hub for international art.
Free music took place from 13 to 15 August 1982.
The decor for the music festival was a big circus tent erected in the middle of Montevideo.
In September 1982, Ludo Mich’s solo exhibition Licht, Holografie en Holoïsme [Light, Holography and Holoism] took place at Montevideo.
Licht, Holografie en Holoïsme allowed the spectator to experience a new perception of space, which referred to ‘holoism’. The show was accompanied by a ballet and a debate about the relation between art and science.
There was more dancing on 16 October 1982 with Open Dansvoorstelling [Open Dance Show].
For Open Dansvoorstelling, the whole space – including the spectators – became part of the show.
From 13 to 24 April 1983, Montevideo was the backdrop for a large group exhibition, with works from mostly Antwerp artists. The full title was Marchandises, 5 milions de tonnes de marchandises livrées chaque année [Marchandises, 5 million tons of cargo shipped annually].
The title Marchandises, proposed by Stan Peers, came from a 1930s poster he saw in Brussels. It was a critical allusion to the prevailing philosophical debate about the commercialisation of art. In the end, more than sixty artists took part.
The hugely successful opening of Marchandises was broadcast live on Antwerp’s Radio Centraal and on the Belgian Public Television (BRT) show IJsbreker.
A few months after Marchandises, Montevideo joined Biënnale 1, Antwerpse Galerijen [Biennial 1, Antwerp Galleries], of which the group show Diagonale [Diagonal] was a part.
Diagonale included the work of numerous young international sculptors, most of whom realised their works on site.
For his contribution to Diagonale, the artist Guy Rombouts polished and glazed with bees wax a set of Montevideo’s cobblestones to form the word ‘UNI’. The piece is no longer visible under the grass and moss.
1984 marked the final episode of Montevideo’s existence. The Eerste Chauvinistische – La Première Chauviniste [The First Chauvinistist] featured the work of fifteen contemporary Belgian artists. The aim was to bring together the different cultures of Belgium – the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels communities. Again, the artists were encouraged to make their works on-site.
For the Eerste Chauvinistische – La Première Chauviniste, artists Ann Veronica Janssens and Monica Droste, working together at the time, created a metal sine wave that sprang from heavy stones and ended in little burning oil lamps.
The cover of the Eerste Chauvinistische – La Première Chauviniste catalogue featured a screenprint by the artist Bruneau.
The last show at Montevideo was Torens van Babel [Towers of Babel] from 12 June to 25 September 1984.
The idea for Torens van Babel came from Annie Gentil’s Father, Vic Gentils. The show took place in the context of increasing artistic globalisation, and emphasised Montevideo's commitment to diversity and internationalism.
Luc Deleu was again part of Torens van Babel, a seemingly haphazard pile of containers.
After four eventful and relentless years, Montevideo finally closed its doors, leaving behind a vast, empty space, now derelict.