Opening: 22.01.2023, 15:00

Following an invitation by Henrike Naumann, whose exhibition WESTALGIE is on view at IKOB from 24.01-16.04.2023, the Rome-based artist Tom Bogaert shows his project Vendelzwaaier – Flaggenwerfer.

Vendelzwaaier – Flaggenwerfer, respectively Flemish and German for “flag thrower,” is arguably his most personal work to date, the cycle being concerned with his youth as a member of a flag thrower’s association. These traditional associations date back to the Middle Ages and, play an important role for the visual language of the so-called “Flemish movement” in the Belgian region of Flanders. Superficially a movement concerned with the promotion of Flemish culture and the Dutch language, it was partially co-opted by extremists using its platform to advocate for Flemish independence with nationalism and xenophobia at the centre of their agendas. When Tom Bogaert found an old notebook containing pictures from his own time as a flag thrower, he began to wonder how it had been possible to unwittingly throw around the Flemish flag emblazoned with a lion as a teenager. Subsequently, he began collecting photos, videos, and archival material, presented for the first time at IKOB.

The exhibition is a search for answers to the questions of representation, national identity, and how young people unquestioningly handle symbols without understanding their political meaning as iconographies of exclusion.

Click here to listen to the IKOB podcast apropos for the exhibition: "Tom Bogaert: Vendelzwaaier – Flaggenwerfer" in collaboration with Henrike Naumann and Merle Vorwald.

TOM BOGAERT was born in 1966 in Bruges, the capital of West Flanders (Belgium) and pursued a career as a refugee lawyer at the United Nations and for Amnesty International before settling as an artist in New York at the age of 38, rapidly gaining international notoriety. His works have since been shown in numerous prestigious museums and art institutions. Most recently, he exhibited as one half of the artist duo Lafleur & Bogaert with the Haitian artist Michel Lafleur at documenta fifteen in Kassel. Tom Bogaert won the international art competition of the Rotary Eupen -Malmedy in 2002 and was previously exhibited at IKOB in this context.


Exhibition view, Tom Bogaert, VENDELZWAAIER – FLAGGENWERFER, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky