De nieuwe wereld. De wonderjaren van de Belgische avant-garde

The New World. The Wonder Years of the Belgian Avant-Garde - Meulenhoff - Manteau; Antwerpen 2010

The book analyses the distinctive modernity of the Belgian artistic avant-garde in the 1920s and 1930s. It shows its encounter with modernity and the different answers formulated to cope with the new challenges. Paenhuysen argues that the decentralisation of the Belgian avant-garde - in exile, in the suburbs, in the country, in the provincial towns, and even in "Bruges-la-Morte" - created hybrid forms of avant-gardism, adapted to the local circumstances. The canon borrowed from Berlin and Paris had its own meaning in the Belgian periphery. The book presents the artistic avant-garde as a social occurence in which counterculture was formed. Therefore, in addition to manifestos, journals, and art production, the lifestyle, the settings, the body language, and the ittinaries of the Belgian avant-garde are taken into account.

Book reviews

Sjoerd van Faassen, Niet alleen experimentele kunst, NRC Handelsblad, January 14, 2011

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Articles (selection)

'A Road Story of the Belgian Avant-Garde', in: N. Aubert and P. Aron eds., From Art Nouveau to Surrealism. Belgian Modernity in the Making (London 2007) 128-141. 

'Fashionable Surrealism. An International Phenomenon in a Local Context', in: P. Allmer and H. van Gelder eds., Collective Inventions. Surrealism in Belgium (Leuven 2007) 32-47.

'Surrealism in the Provinces. Flemish and Walloon Identity in the Interwar Period', in: Image and Narrative, November 2005.

'Strategies of Fame', in: Image and Narrative, August 2005.


Interview at Radio Klara, Babel, May 18, 2010

Interview at Radio 1, Mezzo, June 11, 2010

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