In 2013, a three-year interval provided the impetus to initiate a triennial. Three years after the first edition, there are still Coup de Ville bicycles cruising through Sint-Niklaas. Here and there some signs have yet to be removed. Various artworks have found a permanent home or the creation of new work has signified a contribution to the artistic trajectory of the participating artists. Regardless the extent to which things disappear, traces always remain. A difference has been made. As with the first exhibition, the public can view art in private homes, museums, empty buildings, private gardens or in the public space in Sint-Niklaas. In the architectural setting, the flâneur comes into contact with rococo, neo styles, art deco, modernism, brutalism, grandeur, decay, a mishmash of outhouses, renovations and transformations. The city and the community that supports it have become a platform on which predominantly young, emerging artists from all around the world have left their mark. There are few ‘big names’ – a conscious decision whereby we, as an organisation, continue to build on the motivating encounters with artists by means of our portfolio days or the Artist Village: encounters that grow from professional commitment into amicable long-term relationships.
The different themes developed by the artists in their – mainly new – productions are inspired by the title of the exhibition, the particular environment, the nature of their own work or the artistic medium and are explained in the introduction. Each artist or project is explained by a concise text, accompanied by sketches, designs or images of the final artwork. There are approximately thirty projects in all, part of which includes a selection from the series Art of the Loom (carpet designs exhibited in an installation form). The selection is based on the economic history of Sint-Niklaas, which was to a large extent shaped by the textile industry. Appropriately, these installations are installed in the former residence of textile baron Edmond Meert, a venue that currently forms part of the Municipal Museums. We hope that the visitors’ experience of the art on display raises their awareness of, and opens them further to, the immensely rich art environment that Flanders and Belgium indeed is. Preferably this will occur with an open mind to events around the world: an orientation that we bear in mind. The reference to such a scope, far outside the comfort zone of one’s own environment, stirs the imagination and lifts us slightly above the everyday. By exploring the limits of our boundaries, our organisation functions at the edge of our possibilities. In this process, however, we have enjoyed great fortune: support from the Flemish Community, the province of East Flanders, the city of Sint-Niklaas, numerous sponsors, the efforts of committed volunteers… and the blessing of the late artist, Jan Buytaert.
Our new main location is a grandiose town house with a vast garden that Jan Buytaert predestined in his estate for an artistic purpose. His wish has led to a close intertwining of arts platform Warp and the Jan Buyaert Foundation, established in 2011. With great commitment and driven by naïve enthusiasm, his residence has been renovated into an artistic venue with numerous possibilities for exhibitions, lectures and concerts where, at the same time, his oeuvre, collection and cosmopolitan ideas are carefully preserved. We believe in the anecdote of the butterfly and the tornado that is used to somewhat clarify the complexity of chaos theory in everyday language, namely that even a minute fact or event can exert an influence on a broader environment.