Archive – The first exhibition – Paul Bartels at Zebra

My adventure as a curator began when I decided in 1987 to move to Antwerp while finishing my studies in art history in Leiden. I found a fairly derelict downstairs 19th century apartment in the Het Zuid-area, then very much upcoming with the recent opening of the Muhka (Museum of Contemporary Arts). The best galleries like Micheline Szwajcer and Zeno X were around the corner. With my bursary and later part-time job in the pizzeria across the street I could make ends just about meet. Once a week I would go to Leiden to follow classes, but it was also agreed that my exhibition making could count as research while I was writing my master thesis on the Belgian Research Group.

I didn’t want to start a gallery but a non-commercial exhibition space where the artists and I count experiment and which I initially called Zebra. It made sense to start with Paul Bartels, an artist I had known for a long time as he was a family friend. Specifically for the exhibition he made the series Stiertjes of de zonen van St. Lukas (Young Bulls or the Sons of St. Luke) that were silkscreened by my father Kees Graaf in sometimes more than 30 print runs on handmade Japanese Unryu paper. By making 30 portraits of these young bulls Bartels treated them as important individuals and cultural assets.

There are unfortunately very little photos and other documentation left of this exhibition. The images here are from a visit of former colleagues from the Kooyker Bookshop in Leiden where I had worked as a student.

Find the dedicated page with more information to this exhibition here. The photo of the individual bull is by Lia Bolderman.

Please note: I am trying to find photos and other documentation made during this and other exhibitions I curated as most of my own material is lost – please contact me if you have anything that I could add to the archive. Thank you.


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