In 2020 the archives of Plus-Kern Gallery (exhibition history, artists' correspondence, press clippings, administration) have been bequeathed to Ghent University by Jenny Van Driessche.
In collaboration with the staff of the Ghent University library, the research team KB45 / Art in Belgium since 1945 establishes an inventory, full digital scan, and study of the Plus-Kern archives. Researchers aim to disclose the role and activities of both Van Driessche and De Smet, and to situate the Plus-Kern exhibitions and associated artists within both local and international contexts.
This research project will result in a publication, exhibition and/or website.
Galerie Plus-Kern was an initiative of the Belgian artist Yves De Smet and his wife Jenny Van Driessche. Founded in Ghent in 1969 and baptized 'centre for constructive design,' the gallery encompassed a design shop, a graphic art department, and several exhibition spaces, in which was presented work by both Belgian and international artists. In the early years, Plus-Kern primarily promoted geometric abstraction and kinetic art, yet the gallery's focus soon shifted towards more conceptual practices. Artists centrally associated with the gallery include François Morellet (FR), Jan Schoonhoven (NL), Amédée Cortier (BE), Leo Copers (BE), and Raoul De Keyser (BE).
In 1972, following Yves De Smet's withdrawal from the gallery, Plus-Kern fell entirely under the directorship of Van Driessche. In 1973 she discontinued the gallery's activities in Ghent and opened an exhibition space in the Galerie Le Bailli, a modest shopping mall in Brussels. One later year the gallery in Brussels was terminated as well and Plus-Kern's program was brought to a halt.
In 1983 Van Driessche returned to Plus-Kern. She opened an exhibition space in a refurbished town house in Brussels, where exhibitions by both Belgian and international artists were organized. Along with established artists such as Carl Andre (US), Carel Visser (NL), and Leo Copers (BE), Van Driessche worked with a generation of young and upcoming artists, including Wim Delvoye (BE), Richard Venlet (BE), and Carlo Mistiaen (BE).
In 1992 the activities of the Gallery Plus-Kern were ended.
photo: Jenny Van Driessche and Yves De Smet with a sculpture by De Smet, 1967