KB45 (Kunst in België sinds 1945 / Art in Belgium since 1945) is a multidisciplinary research group established in 2019 at Ghent University within the Department of Architecture & Urban Planning on the one hand and the Department of Art History, Musicology and Theatre Studies on the other.
KB45 aims to map the situation of the living arts in Belgium since 1945 and to contextualize it within the larger artistic culture in the country’s postwar era, from a both local and international perspective. The approach is at once art historical, critical and social-institutional, with a focus on artist’s careers and oeuvres, exhibition histories, institutional histories, and architectural conditions and frameworks in relation to cultural policy and the larger political context in Belgium.
The research of KB45 is centered upon the study of the wide range of actors within the wider artistic field, ranging from people (artists, curators, collectors, critics, journalists), institutions (museums, galleries, artists’ initiatives, governmental bodies, sponsors), events (exhibitions, conferences), objects (artworks) to discourse (books, journals, texts).
KB45 sets out to purport original research by questioning established methods and by developing alternative strategies to recount Belgium’s art history since 1945.
The research initiated by KB45 is driven by a triple objective:
- multi-level survey of the field of the living arts in Belgium: rather than a single history of art in Belgium since 1945, the ambition is to chart the multiple histories of postwar art in Belgium as driven by manifold actors in the past 7 decades.
- two-way traffic of the living arts in Belgium: while mapping out the trajectories and presence of Belgian actors in the international art world, the aim is also to retrace the presence and influence of international peers in the Belgian art world.
- public support and institutional infrastructure: the role and position of public and private art institutions for the development and consolidation of an environment for the arts in Belgium, with a special focus on the (absence of) institutional infrastructure and architecture.