Kehinde Wiley features in 'Memling Now: Hans Memling in contemporary art'
Presented in the historic location of medieval hospital Sint-Janshospitaal, this unique group show explores the legacy of Hans Memling, who was active in Flanders during the fifteenth century. Memling painted no less than four works for Sint-Janshospitaal, which are considered to be masterpieces amongst the artwork of the Flemish primitives.
The exhibition features a range of works by American artist Joseph Kosuth and portraits by African-American painter Kehinde Wiley as well as works by the Iranian painter Aydin Aghdashloo, Belgian artist David Claerbout. Syrian-American artist Diana Al-Hadid has created new work specially for this project.
Amongst the works on display are portraits from a series of works by Kehinde Wiley, inspired by Memling's paintings. At a time when portraits were still rare, Memling was among the first to paint individuals who were not royalty or members of the clergy. His portraits of the increasingly influential powerful merchant class of his day represent a quiet revolution within Flemish society. Memling’s paintings featured naturalistic settings which granted his sitters a veracity and life not found with the single colour backgrounds previously used for individual portraiture. The active gaze of Wiley’s twenty first century sitters represents a departure from Memling’s work and invites the viewer to think more carefully about the lives and experience behind the individuals depicted in the images.