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".

Middle Gate Geel '13

Dsc 7403 Collectie LaM, Lille Métropole musée d'art moderne, d'art contemporain et d'art brut, Villeneuve d'Ascq, image: (c) Luc Vuegen
Zonder titel, 1952
Poetry , 120 x 91 cm
oil on canvas

The miner August Lesage is widely regarded as one of the most important artists in the outsider art. Like many before, Lesage was fascinated by Spiritualism, which was on the rise in France. He read the Spiritualistic books of Léon Denis and regularly attended séances. Lesagne claims that voices (amongst others the voice of his early deceased sister, Marie) moved him to paint. Lesagne is recognised as of 1952 and able to stop working in the mines and dedicate himself fully to painting.

Lesage produced a surprising amount of highly detailed paintings. Partly due to their size, his works are characterised by a strong sense of monumentality. Typical for this work is the symmetrical around a central axis; geometrical shapes in horizontal lines which make you think of hallucinogenic masks.