Robin Lopvet, La bataille d'égo de l'agneau mystique, 2020 © Robin Lopvet

Welcome to From Scratch to Scratch, an online exhibition offering a contemporary angle on Jan and Hubert Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece (The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, 1432) and the cultural program of OMG! Van Eyck was here in Ghent.

La bataille d’égo de l’agneau mystique’ (The ego battle of the Mystic Lamb) is an animated video of the Ghent Altarpiece created by Robin Lopvet and presented for the exhibition’s online opening. Inspired by the recent restoration of the polyptych and the abundance of images of the Van Eyck brothers’ masterpiece on the Internet, Lopvet has animated the painting using images from before and after the restoration. Produced during the 2020 lockdown and after the exhibition format changed from physical to digital, Lopvet proposes a light and humorous view on the work of the Old Masters, diverting our attention from certain details while creating new and somewhat satirical and comical narratives. The use of low resolution images taken from the Internet creates a digital substitute, that decentralises the impact of the physical painting, and further questions the relationship between image reproduction and tangible experience. In times where physical openings and vernissages are impossible ‘La bataille d’égo de l’agneau mystique’ becomes a digital performance introducing From Scratch to Scratch.

Taking the recently restored Ghent Altarpiece (Hubert and Jan van Eyck, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb,1432) as a starting point, this online exhibition* brings together contemporary artists that question the social, cultural and artistic order as defined by the Western concept of the masterpiece.

“Scratching” implies the removal of something, and in doing so revealing something or leaving behind traces. From Scratch to Scratch unravels new layers of meaning and intertwines counternarratives to the writing of art history. The selected artworks form three groups, three circles that will be successively activated:  

28th of May 2020 Re-Setting the Space
with Lito Kattou, Gaëlle Leenhardt & Damien Le Dévédec, Robin Lopvet & Sam Racheboeuf and Elena Subach

4th of June 2020Hiding and Revealing
with Milena Desse, Zuzanna Dolega, Paul Jacques Yves Guilbert and Nikolay Karabinovych.

11th of June 2020Taking Action
with Jonathas de Andrade, Katya Ev, Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos and Zinaïda Tchelidze.

These parallel lines of inquiry refer to the steps of restoration: analysis, documentation, and response. Each group adds multiple levels of interpretation on a broad cross-section of themes, including cultural heritage, identity construction, power relationships, and the landscape ideal. 

In the context of the cultural programme OMG! Van Eyck was here students from KASK Curatorial Studies question the relationship between heritage and tourism, and the resulting economic impact. Can we rethink established models and reinvent new modes of artistic representation and cultural production? And how?

A parallel screening program with works from the Mexican collective Colectivo Los Ingrávidos will take place at Kunsthal Gent cinema for the month of June.

Curated by: Camille Bladt, Patricia Couvet, Sofia Lemos Marques, Koi Persyn, Zuzanna Rachowska, Yanis Stefanou, Ella Strowel and Vincent Van Laeken. 

* The exhibition was originally planned to take place at the Zwarte Zaal (KASK) in May and June 2020. Due to the current Covid-19 crisis, the curatorial team decided to adjust the project by asking artists to adapt their artworks into online formats. The curators and artists are embracing the times they live in, moving from a physical to an online exhibition, whilst raising questions about the future of exhibition making. Finally, they stand in solidarity with all the cultural workers heavily affected by the lockdown.