This e-publication coincides with the two-part exhibition Memories of Montevideo (M HKA, 16 June–7 August 2016). As MA Film studies and Visual Culture students at the University of Antwerp, we took on the task of exploring the Montevideo Archive and turning it into an exhibition and a publication. By doing so, we aimed to restore Montevideo’s space and aura.
In what follows you will find an overview of the art shows, performances and other artistic events that took place at the exhibition space, videos of key figures in Montevideo’s story, and, in conclusion, our personal reflections on the curating process itself.
Tirsa van der Kleij, Shana Peulinckx, Emma Priem, Jasper van Quekelberghe, Bram Vroonland
Antwerp, 1981. An abandoned and dilapidated warehouse in the harbor area is transformed into an exhibition space. This space – Montevideo, named after the Uruguayan capital – was founded by Annie Gentils and Stan Peers. Gentils’ vision was to create an exhibition space with international allure which was not limited to the visual arts. Growing up in an artistic family inspired Gentils to become part of the international art world. After the ICC (the first official institution for modern art in Antwerp) ceased to exist, Gentils saw the opportunity to start her own artistic hub. Visits to New York and Los Angeles further inspired her to create a lively and dynamic environment for young artists.
From 1981 to 1985 many shows took place at the exhibition space in Antwerp North varying from visual arts to theater, dance, performances, concerts, fashion shows and film. Montevideo was a vast space with a characteristic cobble stone floor. In the winter it could get very cold. Despite these harsh circumstances Montevideo provided a contemporary platform for various disciplines.
Montevideo’s first show was Beam Space in 1981. Torens van Babel (Towers of Babel) was the last show in 1984 before Montevideo closed its doors in 1985. The next section covers Montevideo’s most prominent shows in chronological order.