FOMU 2023 | Reimagined collection, strippers – Nicaragua – Kurdistan and people touching each other

FOMU, Antwerp‘s photography museum in the Zuid (South) area of town, reopened after renovation works.

Three new exhibitions now showcase FOMU’s vision.

1: Grace Ndiritu Reimagines the FOMU Collection

For ‘Grace Ndiritu Reimagines the FOMU Collection‘, British-Kenyan artist Grace Ndiritu constructs an original photographic universe of paintings, textiles and interior design inspired by female artists O’Keeffe, Modotti and Albers. It represents a radical and holistic reinterpretation of the classic collection exhibition.

Ndiritu’s photographic installation ‘A Quest for Meaning: Painting as a Medium of Photography‘ (2014) formed the springboard for her exploration of the FOMU Collection and the ensuing exhibition. 

Ndiritu uses free association to combine photographs and coloured walls. Her surprising amalgams give fresh meaning to works by, among others, Alexandre, Bianca Baldi, Samuel Bourne, Dirk Braeckman, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Lynne Cohen, Gilbert Fastenaekens, Gertrude Fehr, Geert Goiris, Willy Kessels, Rinko Kawauchi, Man Ray, Auguste Salzmann, Filip Tas, Nadine Tasseel and Wolfgang Tillmans.

A highlight of the FOMU Collection, the ‘Keizerpanorama‘ will also be on display after undergoing a complete restoration and has been integrated into the design of Ndiritu’s show. 

The device was a modern piece of automated machinery when it was made in 1905 and presented a 3D photographic spectacle to the public. Twenty-five people at a time can sit on stools circling the viewing cabinet and enjoy the magic of three-dimensional images.

Special vibe

Fir this exhibition, there’s ab audioguide and a brochure. You also have to either take off your shoes or use shoe covers to protect the carpets. ‘Grace Ndiritu Reimagines the FOMU Collection’ wants you to “take dreep breaths” and “close your eyes”. It focuses on feelings, emotions and it’s all too esoteric for mee. I don’t like being told how too feel. And I guess I was especially not in the mood for such meditative contemplations. But it’s an original take, I guess and it will work for others. Not for me.

2: Susan Meiselas – Meditations

For nearly five decades, Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas (United States, 1948) has been using her camera to bear witness and to connect with people. Meiselas has travelled the world and tackled a wide range of subjects, from the sex industry to war and human rights violations.

She draws attention to what is often hidden or ignored by the public. Susan Meiselas continually seeks direct contact and dialogue with the people she portrays. Her approach is collaborative and incorporates her subjects’ perspectives.

Meiselas’ work is driven by urgent questions about who photographs serve, not only what they show. Today, Meiselas is considered to have paved the way for both photography that is politically engaged, systematically documented, reflected on and contextualised, and that which closely involves the subjects in the work.


This exhibition is much more classic. A subject, photos. An insight in current affairs of yesteryear and additionally I learned about Kurdistan and Nicaragua.

3: Melanie Bonajo – ‘When The Body Says Yes’

When The Body Says Yes‘ is an immersive video installation by Melanie Bonajo (The Netherlands, 1978). The artist believes that touch can be a powerful remedy for the loneliness that has become endemic in our society.

Bonajo brought together a group of international genderqueer people, many with a bicultural identity, to cast a collective spell in the form of a pleasure-positive camp where “skinship” is celebrated. Do you know the sensual dimensions of your “No”? How do you feel when your body says “Yes”? When the body says Yes is a gentle invitation to let yourself be transported on a journey of discovery.

Melanie Bonajo (they / them) is an artist, filmmaker, sexological bodyworker, somatic sex coach and educator, hug workshop leader, and activist. Their videos, performances, photographs and installations investigate topical issues arising from the capitalism system. Bonajo spotlights themes such as isolation and the erosion of intimacy in an increasingly sterile, technological world. They then provide anti-capitalist methods for reconnecting and for rediscovering sexuality, intimacy and feelings.


Entering the area is like entering some shady videostore. You will see naked people touching each other appropriately. Images of people covered in olive oil touching themselves and others are interrupted by interviews on the subject of affection and touching. You also get to see someone peeing.

You’re invited to lie down on some queer and quirky mattresses and cushions to experience this… experience.

Art and museums in Antwerp

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Denzil says:

    There’s always so much happening in Antwerp!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Timothy says:

      Sometimes it’s hard to follow 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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