Exhibition

MOMU NOW: Interview with Bob Verhelst

Preparations at the MoMu NOW expo at MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp, Photo: Monica Ho

Preparations at the MoMu NOW expo at MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp, Photo: Monica Ho

We sat down with artistic director and scenographer Bob Verhelst, who designed the scenography for many of MoMu’s exhibitions, including our upcoming exhibition MOMU NOW.

How did you come up with the design for MOMU NOW?

While this exhibition will show contemporary fashion from the MoMu collection, I chose to use the Bauhaus-inspired primary colors red, white and black, which are part of the MoMu visual code, as color palette for the exhibition space. For this we used ‘traffic red’, ‘pitch black’ and ‘white’ paint from the Ambiance series of Levis. Next to the typical MoMu colors, I wanted to give the audience a look into the archives of the museum, including MoMu’s new external storage space.

'Traffic red' from the Levis Ambiance range and the typical MoMu red color to be implemented in the MoMu Now scenography, Photo: Monica Ho

‘Traffic red’ from the Levis Ambiance range and the typical MoMu red color to be implemented in the MoMu Now scenography, Photo: Monica Ho

'Traffic red' from the Levis Ambiance range and the typical MoMu red color to be implemented in the MoMu Now scenography, Photo: Monica Ho

‘Traffic red’ from the Levis Ambiance range and the typical MoMu red color to be implemented in the MoMu Now scenography, Photo: Monica Ho

Exhibition plan with scenography for the MoMu Now expo at Momu Fashion Museum Antwerp, technical drawing: Robby Timmermans and Bob Verhelst

Exhibition plan with scenography for the MoMu Now expo at Momu Fashion Museum Antwerp, technical drawing: Robby Timmermans and Bob Verhelst

You were also responsible for the other collection presentations of MoMu: BACKSTAGE: SELECTION I in 2002 and THE MOMU-COLLECTION: SELECTION II in 2006-07. Do you consider these exhibitions as a trilogy?

Yes, I do consider the three exhibitions as a trilogy. The first collection presentation was the opening exhibition of MoMu. We thought it was important, before doing a thematical presentation, to introduce MoMu to the audience by showing them what the MoMu collection consists of: the diversity of their specialized subcollections amongst which the lace collection, 19th century dress, the Antwerp 6 and Belgian designer pieces.
In the second collection presentation we mainly showed contemporary fashion from the museum collection. Since it has been seven years since the latest collection presentation, the collection has been extended a lot and the museum thought the time was ripe to give an overview of the latest acquisitions, because international as well as Belgian designers have donated extraordinary pieces from their archive recently. So the three exhibitions are definitely in line with each other.

What have you been working on besides MOMU NOW lately?

I’ve been working on the scenography of two other exhibitions. The first one is THE TIE. MEN FASHION POWER in the Swiss National Museum in Zurich and will open on the 19th of September. The fact that the tie is back in fashion forms the starting point of the exhibition, which presents the accessory in all its facets. The second exhibition is THE FUTURE OF FASHION IS NOW in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam and will open on the 11th of October. This exhibition is about the latest generation of designers who design and present their collections in a totally different way: by using futuristic technologies and recycling techniques and being aware of the social value of clothes. Next to this I did the interior design for the new flagshipstore of A.F. Vandevorst in Antwerp that was officially opened last month.

Interview: Danique Klijs