The exhibition project Middle Gate II – The Story of Dymphna is a collaboration between M HKA (Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp) and the cultural centre de Werft in Geel. Middle Gate II is the follow up to the exhibition Middle Gate, curated by Jan Hoet in Geel in 2013. The exhibition concept is closely tied to the legend of the holy Dymphna, saint of the possessed, the mentally ill and patroness against epilepsy and insanity. The legend of Dymphna shares a strong connection to the identity of Geel, "the charitable city".

Barbara Kruger

Kruger barbara we are not what we seem 1988 foto sybls (c)image: Syb'l S'Pictures
We Are Not What We Seem, 1988
Collage , 276 x 243 cm
screen print, vinyl, chassis

We Are Not What We Seem refers both to the photo itself as to the broader social context. No image exists that can be interpreted without ambiguity. Is this woman holding a magnifying glass in her hand, is she taking a contact lens out of her eye? Nothing is what it seems at first sight. Illusion and reality are intertwined and merge into one another. The montage is deliberately made clearly visible. The veracity of photography and the deceptive language of the mass media are being questioned here. Kruger formulates her message as an urgent appeal in red, black and white. The combination of typographical messages and black and white photography makes her work easily recognisable. Her work acts as a constant critical questioning addressed to the viewer. Using an accusatory ‘you’ or ‘we’ she invites identification from the viewer and then summons up resistance. She thereby makes the viewer conscious of the fact that the meaning of the images are dictated by the media and she tries to run down the media’s power regarding the way viewer’s thoughts.