THREADS: Zwartzusters monastery, Antwerp, Belgium

2 October - 14 November 2021

For its inaugural exhibition ‘THREADS, Duende Art Projects presents an empowering juxtaposition of both classical and contemporary art from the African continent. Rarely exhibited together, and generally considered to be different collecting categories, Duende Art Projects brings both old and new works from the African continent together in a unique setting.


A work of art often begins with a stray thread; the artist pulls, and waits to see what will happen when he explores a certain idea. The artist dares  to go beyond the known, challenge the idea over and over again, until one string succeeds in becoming a patchwork of threads bound together into a masterpiece. Artworks are collisions of ideas. Multiple threads may be floating in the artist’s consciousness, and, in just a single moment, these ideas collide and form a work of art. Artists weave together seemingly disparate but related threads into rich works of art with a multitude of layers loaded with meaning and symbolism. Some of these threads might be easily identifiable and explicit, while others are not so obvious, they might be invisible to the naked eye, yet they unconsciously nest themselves under one’s skin. These invisible threads could be the strongest ties, but the hardest to grasp. 


Unraveling the threads of a work of art can be a challenging undertaking, especially when the creator remains anonymous, as is the case with most classical African art. Ritually, traditional objects served a specific purpose and functioned within a well-defined context. As conveyed by the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss’, looking at the single elements is critical to get an understanding of a system as a whole. As such, traditional African art could be a key to unlocking a better understanding of the contemporary art landscape.  


THREADS brings together a group of masterpieces, both old and new, with a shared sensibility and a powerful message. The works in the exhibition create an invisible thread between the object and the looker. With THREADS Duende Art Projects aims to create feelings of profound awe through a careful curation and tight selection of an exceptional group of works.