Missie

Extra City is a 'Kunsthal' (art space) that finds inspiration in the city for depicting different visions of our future, by encouraging new links between contemporary (inter)national art and artists, researchers, and city dwellers.

Programme

- themed group shows and solo exhibitions with (inter)national contemporary visual art
- a wide range of evening activities, with films, lectures and debates
- open discussions, gatherings and a tasty bite at the Extra Fika Café

Vision

Extra City departs from the city and connects back to it. We focus on urban reality in all its facets as central to the challenges of the 21st century. Extra City wants to scrutinize it: our programme reveals underexposed opportunities and conflicts and looks for aesthetic or socio-political seams in the urban fabric; it nourishes new imaginations and encourages artistic research and debate about the city. We want to make a difference to our environment in lots of ways, which is why we always work in conjunction with other (supra)local forces, artistic and non-artistic. Our programme is as multi-layered and changeable as the urban issues: varied, sometimes very sharp, but never too fast. Extra City creates extra thinking and breathing space in the city, not as an isolated comfort zone, but as an open area where a society in transition is reflected upon across borders.

Extra City works with art that breathes the spirit of our time. It appeals to us because it likes to dig deeper and slower and to enter into probing dialogue with the reality that lies beyond the art world. The art Extra City presents or commissions is often complex and challenging, but in its concern for the city, is open for any curious visitor. Extra City is looking for the same urban involvement in its artists, researchers, and curators. We offer them a creative sanctuary and the city, for daring experiments with exhibitions, debates, and collaborations. With its artists, Extra City wants to stimulate, inspire, and confront. We offer artists a framework in which their work is displayed in optimal conditions and is interpreted and discussed in both a local and international environment.

Extra City is responsible for the public understanding of contemporary art. For us, the public is as important as the artists. We see our visitors as a rich and diverse collection of knowledge and experience. Since people make the city, Extra City wants to be the spot where people feel welcome, a place abuzz with meaningful contact between city dwellers and artists, laypersons and connoisseurs. Our home in Antwerp is a hub for (inter)national, intercultural, and interdisciplinary collaborations that through art contribute to the concept of a society in transition. All the exhibitions are free to visit. We are creating a context in which everyone is empowered with the necessary tools to make an artistic work their own, even if it seems less accessible. Extra City ‘reveals’ art, and contributes to a broader public platform for artistic reflection and imagination.


History

Extra City was founded in 2004 by Wim Peeters and was originally housed in a grain silo located in Antwerp's docklands. The tone was set from the start with a number of internationally renowned exhibitions, with depth and quality proving to be the firm foundations on which Extra City would be built.

In 2006, Anselm Franke was appointed Artistic Director, subsequently moving Extra City to a former industrial space in the North of Antwerp. More and more, Extra City was evolving in the direction of a fully-fledged art institution or 'Kunsthal', with carefully considered thematic exhibitions including 'Mimétism' and 'Animism', solo exhibitions by internationally renowned artists and a discursive programme the likes of which had been rare in Belgium.

Under the leadership of Mihnea Mircan, Extra City focused more on the capacity of the exhibition as a research tool, such as with the series 'Cross-Examinations' and the impressive 'Allegory of the Cave Painting', as well as solo exhibitions from artists such as Luc Deleu, Jean-Luc Moulène, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Laure Prouvost and Michael Dean. The accompagying programme also became an important platform for research.

In September 2013 the Kunsthal was re-established in its current location in Antwerp Berchem. Here at the former premises of the industrial laundry business Wasserij Goossens, in addition to there being room for Extra City's exhibition spaces, there is also space for artists' ateliers, a bar and a small cinema, as well as the offices of partner organisations such as Antwerp Art, Platform 0090, Gagarin and Kunst/Werk.

In 2016, the mission, vision and structure of Extra City was updated as part of a fundamental repositioning project. Adinda Van Geystelen is the new Director at Extra City as of September 2016. She, together with a core artistic team that changes every three years, has taken on the task of giving the Kunsthal a new lease of life. Antonia Alampi (IT), iLiana Fokianaki (GR) and Michiel Vandevelde (BE) are the artistic team for the 2017-19 period. Together with the staff of Extra City they will realise the new mission in the form of a programme of exhibitions and public engagements. The in-depth artistic content of the exhibitions will be linked to a thematic focus: how can visual art explore and visualise contemporary urbanity in all its dimensions? An ambitious and fundamental aspect of Extra City's new modus operandi is the mission to reach a broader public with its far-reaching contemporary art offering.