15|06-17-09 Exhibition German negatives

Our exhibition on the German negatives in the Brussels Park was inaugurated today by Zuhal Demir, Secretary of State for Science Policy, and Hilde De Clercq, our new Acting General Manager. 

This summer the KIK-IRPA goes public with one of its most impressive collections in an open air exhibition at the Brussels Park: The German Negatives (1917-1918). Belgium’s Artistic Heritage Through the Lens of the German Occupiers. The exhibition offers a selection of the most beautiful images the German occupier made in 1917 and 1918 in Belgium… An original way to commemorate the First World War.

During the last two years of World War I a group of about 30 German art historians, photographers and architects set out to record the country’s most significant monuments with the new medium of photography. They ended up taking more than 10,000 outstanding photos of Belgian churches, beguinages, castles, town houses, memorials, interiors and artworks. Ten years after the end of the war all these original negatives on glass plates were bought by the Belgian State. These so-called ‘German negatives’ are kept, studied and valorized ever since by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) in Brussels.

In the past three years the collection was studied by a team of experts and all negatives were digitized in high resolution. The exhibition offers a selection of the most beautiful and most intriguing photos. Aesthetic and political objectives of the German photographic inventory campaign are held up to the light, as well as the interest of these very high quality photos for the study of Belgium’s art and built heritage. Finally a number of photos are accompanied by their current-day equivalent: the photographers of the KIK-IRPA travelled across the country and took a photo from the same angle, a hundred years later.  

The exhibition at the Brussels park can be visited free from admission from 15 June until 17 September 2017.

During the summer of 2017 a number of complementary exhibitions and events are organised in Flanders: at the Provincial domain of Raversyde, at STAM – Ghent city museum, at the museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp, at the '14 -'18 Experience centre in Tildonk and in the autumn of 2017 in Hasselt. A similar series of exhibitions and events will take place in Wallonia in the summer of 2018.

The ErfgoedApp by FARO lets you discover the German negatives on a walk through Antwerp, Arlon, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Hasselt, Leuven, Liège, Mons, Namur or Wavre. In each of these cities photos were selected and linked to the exact location where they were taken a century ago. Everyone can follow in the footsteps of the German photographers and admire the monuments of these cities ‘through the lens of the occupier’: http://www.heritageapp.be/

Visit our blog at https://picturingbelgium14-18.com/

Or check on our online tool whether photos were taken in your city of choice. Available in Dutch http://balat.kikirpa.be/tools/14-18/cliches_nl.php or in French http://balat.kikirpa.be/tools/14-18/indexfr.php

A special issue of OKV (only available in Dutch) is for sale for 7 euros at the reception desk of the KIK-IRPA.

The KIK-IRPA wishes to thank the National Lottery and its players for their critical support!