On 19 February Minister-President Jan Jambon opened a highly anticipated exhibition at the Royal Academy, celebrating the Flemish painter Léon Spilliaert. Born in Ostend in 1881, Spilliaert is best known for his atmospheric night-time scenes of Ostend, as well as for a series of enigmatic self-portraits. His work is characterised by dramatic perspectives and a quiet luminescence and his visual explorations of the self and potent images of solitude align him with European modernists such as Edvard Munch and Vilhelm Hammershøi. This is the first major exhibition of Spilliaert’s work in the UK and showcases some 80 of his works on paper which have been brought together from public and private collections, half of which from our country.
In his speech, Jan Jambon celebrated the long-standing links between Flanders and the UK as he highlighted the need for a solid future partnership between the two. “It is good to remember and celebrate the economic, but also historical and cultural ties between Flanders and the United Kingdom at a time of brexit and tensions within the European Union.”
The Minister-President emphasised that the Flemish government will do everything in its power to continue this strong and long-term relationship. "For example, by advocating a good trade agreement between the EU and the UK."
The exhibition, on view at the Royal Academy from 23 February to 25 May, is supported by the Government of Flanders.
(C) BELGA and Benedict Johnston
Royal Academy London