Monday 3 January 2022

P.LACE.S - MoMu Antwerp

25.09.2021 — 09.01.2022

On show at several locations in Antwerp.

The exhibition ‘P.LACE.S - Looking through Antwerp Lace’ highlights the important role the city played in the production and trade of lace. MoMu tells this story through an exhibition trail that connects five locations in the city.

With ‘P.LACE.S’, MoMu is starting a unique conversation between historical textile craft and contemporary fashion to look at our history from a different perspective. This creates a visual play between past and present, presenting objects from international collections that have never been shown in Belgium before.

From the mid-16th to the mid-18th centuries, Antwerp played a leading role in the creation and distribution of lace – without linking the city's name to a single type of lace. With an inspired commercial spirit, lace of varying quality was produced and traded for a diverse and international clientele. This ensured that Antwerp adapted to the specific needs of the export countries. The lack of branding – in contrast to Brussels, Bruges or Mechelen, for example – is one of the reasons why studies on lace usually make only passing mention of Antwerp.

With ‘P.LACE.S’, MoMu highlights the socio-economic and artistic importance of the lace that was long created and traded in Antwerp. By bringing together historical lace, paintings and archival documents from Europe and the US – Flemish lace features prominently in collections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the exhibition reveals how, for centuries, Flemish lace was a prominent presence in fashion, interioir design and religion. The role of girls and women in both the production and trade of lace is also given due attention. MoMu presents this rich history in dialogue with contemporary, often high-tech fashion creations that refer to lace in form or concept.

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