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 7516 Priv├ęcollectie, image: (c) Luc Vuegen
Zonder titel
Sculpture , 113 x 19 x 13 cm
Wood

To this day, Armand Bouten is one of the artists we tend to forget, unrightfully so. He can be seen as an important representative of Dutch Expressionism, despite never knowing success while being alive and dying in dire poverty. As a young man he travelled to the Balkan many times. These travels and the time he spent in Paris are an important step in the evolution of his art. After experimenting with cubism, Bouten quickly focusses on freedom of expression: under the influence of Marc Chagall, who displayed the same stylistic overtone at the time, Bouten painting strong figures in bright colours.

Upon his move to Amsterdam, Boutons oil canvases become darker: he starts painting ominous figures surrounded by a world of prostitution and darkness. His poems are also a depiction of a pessimistic and melancholic view of society.