Posted in Uncategorized by gijs van doorn on December 19, 2012






12 DECEMBER 14:10:51

I’m writing in conjunction with the artist Jef Geys from Balen, Belgium — I believe you may have been present for his “Woodward Avenue” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit in 2010; he also represented Belgium in the 2009 Venice Biennial. We are working on a project at my gallery here in New York that requires an urgent translation of a few short email texts from Flemish into English. Attached below is the document which shows the Flemish emails which must be translated. Could someone at the Flanders House assist us in this translation? Any help would be so much appreciated.
Looking forward and again, thanks for any help,
Peter Currie
12 DECEMBER 14:45:58
Frank is no longer at the Flanders House. I just got a phone call from the man who replaced Frank there.  I tried to insist, but they do not provide any translation services, even for such a Flemish artist as yourself!

In this case, I would rather not pay for the translation but instead use Google Translate online, which is free and I think is interesting in itself. Thoughts…. ?
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Posted in Martin Douven - Leopoldsburg by gijs van doorn on August 16, 2011

Martin Douven (1898-1973), a self-taught painter from Leopoldsburg, started selling his own small paintings in 1928. He later taught his children and others to paint in a form of mass production. After the war his company expanded into a factory making both paintings and frames that employed two hundred people and exported worldwide.

As a boy, Jef Geys was at school with one of Douven’s sons, and this gave him the opportunity to see the workings of the factory. In the late fifties, when he was already a painter and teacher, by chance he received from his father-in-law a painting originating from Douven’s workshops. This work (of a lake with two small swans) became the starting point for a study of the essential elements of painting: what made an image ‘attractive’, to whom, and how? This gave rise to a series of black paintings in which Geys marked the centre of gravity geometrically. It was here too that his exploration of various aspects of the painting itself began: support, material, helpers, signature, and so on. All this together, starting out from Martin Douven, forms the subject of this exhibition in M HKA.

9 sept 2011-31 dec 2011 in M HKA

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Posted in Woodward Avenue by gijs van doorn on May 24, 2010

An article by Mark Stryker regarding the exhibition ‘Woodward Avenue’:

‘Contemporary art museum exhibit uses plants to tell Detroit’s story’

Kinshasa – Lubumbashi – 2 à 3 minutes / a film by Inge Godelaine

Posted in Uncategorized by gijs van doorn on March 12, 2010

Now that exhibition halls and cinemas are being flooded with what we might call: “stories of the past based on historical facts (or at least what pass for historical facts)”.

Now that Stanley’s canoe is going to be polished up in the Africa Museum in Tervuren and the Fathers of the Scheut are giving the sawn-off foot of Leopold II’s favourite elephant a spring cleaning.

Now that the scantily clad negroes from Expo 58 can admire their children, wearing outfits designed by Vivienne Westwood on double-page spreads.

Now that radio and the other media are digging into Boudewijn’s past.

Now that even earthquakes and other natural disasters have to make room on the front pages for the question of whether or not the king should visit the president of our former colony.

Now we present in our home base the film ‘2 à 3 minutes’ by Inge Godelaine. She went to  Congo in 2008 and came into contact with people who mostly came from what used to be known as Leopoldville and Elizabethstad. Without asking them too many questions, she gave a range of individuals a span of 2 to 3 minutes to tell their own story.  As the invitation says: what is life like in the Congo and for its people now? Not yellowing newspapers or cuttings from the Swahili Star or photos taken at Moïse Tshombe’s birthday party in the Lingala Morning.

Congo now, heute, nu, maintenant.


Kinshasa – Lubumbashi – 2 à 3 minutes / een film van Inge Godelaine

Nu de tentoonstellingsruimten en bioscopen overspoeld worden door wat we zouden kunnen noemen: op historische (of wat daar moet voor doorgaan) gronden gebaseerd relaas van het verleden.

Nu de prauw van Stanley opgeblonken zal worden in het Afrikaans museum van Tervuren en de afgezaagde poot van de lievelingsolifant van Leopold II een beurt krijgt bij de paters van Scheut.

Nu de schaars geklede negers van Expo 58 hun kinderen in outfits van Vivian Westwood zien staan op foto’s van twee bladzijden.

Nu radio en andere zenders in het verleden van Boudewijn duiken.

Nu zelfs aardbevingen en andere natuurfenomenen plaats moeten maken op de voorpagina’s  voor het ja of neen gaan van de koning  naar de president  van ons voormalig wingewest.

Nu tonen wij hier in onze thuisbasis de film ‘2 à 3 minutes’  van Inge Godelaine.  Ze ging in 2008 naar Congo en  ontmoette met mensen uit wat vroeger Leopoldville  en Elisabethstad was.  Zonder teveel vragen te stellen, gaf ze verschillende personages 2 à 3 minuten de tijd om hun eigen verhaal te vertellen.   Zoals vermeld op de uitnodiging: hoe staat het met Congo en haar bewoners nu, geen vergeelde kranten of krantenknipsels uit de Swahilistar of  oude foto’s  genomen op de verjaardag van Moïse Tshombé  in  de Lingalamorning.

Congo nu, heute, now, maintenant.


Posted in Woodward Avenue by gijs van doorn on February 23, 2010

Hi Ina,

I understand that you do not want ‘new age hippies’. I have spoken
with an eccentric African-American Herbalist/Spiritualist who I think would work well for your  needs and I have spoken very briefly with an Mexican woman who runs a shop in the city. I need to know, would you like them to partake in a panel discussion or a more “hands-on” workshop. Would they be speaking in front of a crowd or would they be dealing with people one-on-one.
I am not so well versed on the exhibition so I am not certain what the “Bolivia films” are.


Hi Ben,

I would like to hold a private workshop, which means (hopefully at least 4) healers and myself. The idea is to exchange experiences related to traditional healing. Jef, correct me if I am wrong, but I see this as a workshop “by invitation only”, not open to the general public. The idea would be to have a small group of people (none of them new-age hippies) and all people working as healers in the community, or perhaps also some community members who are (or have been) patients of these healers, to hold a discussion about the role and importance of traditional healing today in Detroit.

The reason why I want to keep the workshop “private” is three-fold: (1) this is not a promotional stunt (I don’t want press hanging around and scare people); (2) if the event is open it might not create an atmosphere open enough to talk about traditional healing and community health. (I would like to point again to the NYTimes article that emphasized that a lot of healers are “working in the shadows”). Let’s not forget that many healers in urban areas assist community members without legal status. I want the healers to feel safe to talk; (3) popular action series on TV such as “CSI” recently depicted a botánica shop as “a place of witchcraft”. This shows that there still exists a lot of prejudice towards traditional healing.

The Bolivia movies that will be on display in the Detroit exhibition are about my work with traditional healers in the Amazon region in Bolivia. I will be moderating the workshops and would like to start by showing these movies and explaining my work (which is focused on improving community health and training medical students and doctors to become more culturally sensitive) and then ask the healers to talk about their own practice. Ideally, if we have at least 4 healers and some community members/patients, there could be some kind of discussion among them.

What do you think?

Kind wishes,


Ina Vandebroek and ethnobotany

Posted in Woodward Avenue by gijs van doorn on February 13, 2010


Posted in Villa Wintermans by gijs van doorn on February 12, 2010