Divine Decadence

27 March 2016 - 26 June 2016

Divine Decadence, an exhibition in collaboration with Mechelen-based theatre group Abattoir Fermé, will be bringing to life the Decadent cult book A Rebours by Joris-Karl Huysmans in Gaasbeek Castle. It will start on 27 March.

At the end of the nineteenth century, in the age of industrialisation, the Decadents escaped what they considered banal reality through beauty and art. Today, artists still rebel against a good many social norms and taboos. Various works of art immerse you in the luxurious and sometimes dark world of decadence. With works by amongst others Berlinde De Bruyckere, Jan Fabre, Erwin Olaf, Gérard Rancinan, Félicien Rops, Kees Van Dongen en Jan Van Oost.

On 9 April, a major ‘Art Room’ will open with the works of the Italian painter Roberto Ferri. He reaches back, both in style and technique, to the major Baroque masters and uses classical themes and Christian stories that seem to place him outside our own time. But his glorious and graceful bodies betray a fascinating darker side. Claws, horns and fins make them mutate into something monstrous.

 In the book Divine Decadence, we go in search of the essence of decadence, with texts by Luc Vanackere, Stef Lernous, Pol Dehert, Karel Vanhaesebrouck and Donald Kuspit. When you buy this book, produced in collaboration with Lannoo, you also receive a free admission ticket.


Practical information

  • From Sunday 27 March to Sunday 26 June 2016.
  • The Roberto Ferri art room opens on Saturday 9 April.
  • Please note! The exhibition contains works that are not suitable for visitors under the age of 16.
  • Click here for the opening times.
  • Click here for the ticket prices.
  • Click here for guided tours.
  • The book Divine Decadence costs € 19.99, in paperback with flaps, full-colour printing, 200 x 140 cm, 144 pages, nur 644, ISBN 978 94 014 3520 8, NL/EN and can be purchased at the museum shop, on and in the better bookshops.

Poster Divine Decadence, picture Gérard Rancinan, detail from Decadence, 2011
Roberto Ferri, Anima Mundi, oil on canvas, 130 x 100 cm, 2014, courtesy of Liquid art system | Capri - Positano
Jan Fabre, Vanity is Founded on Mortality, 2013, mixture of jewel beetle wing-cases, polymers, stuffed bird, 235 x 50 x 54 cm, photographer, Lieven Herreman, © Angelos bvba
Thomas Devaux, Pietà 2, photograph, 120 x 80 cm

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