Crossing Ways, Basiliek Koekelberg met o.m. Sergey Bratkov, Johan Creten & Nikita Kadan

apr 2023
jul 2024

Curator Denys Shantar biedt een vernieuwende en hedendaagse kijk op de Kruisweg en op de collectie van het Museum voor Moderne Religieuse Kunst, door hedendaagse kunstenaars uit te nodigen en met unieke stukken te verweven uit de collecties van ‘MimDo’ Ittre, van de Sint-Andrieskerk Antwerpen, van het Sint-Agatha kloostererfgoed Nederland, van het archief Sint-Lucas Brussel, van galerie Transit en uit particuliere collecties.

Adres: Basiliekvoorplein 1, 1083 Brussel
Open: woensdag, donderdag, vrijdag en zondag, 14 – 16 uur

 CROSSING WAYS curated by Denys Shantar 

The Stations of the Cross depicts Jesus on his last day on earth as a human. Started as a Christian pilgrimage in Jerusalem, from the supposed location of Pilate’s official residency to the Calvary. In the 18th hundreds the Cross Way was set to 14 stations and became an essential part of most Western Catholic churchesIn some churches the resurrection is added as an unofficial 15th station. 

Cross-ing Way-s is a very personal journey, we can decide for ourselves who we are. Are we the spectators? The mother who sees her struggling child? The crying women of Israel who show compassion? Are we Simon or Veronica who lend a helping hand? Or are we Jesus himself? No matter who we choose to be, in the end we see it was a fictional ending and we all hope for a resurrection. Because in the end “You are the salt of the earth”, influencing by doing the right thing. 

Shantar gives a fresh and current view on the Cross Way and the Museum’s collection, inviting contemporary artis like Elena Subach, Lina Van Hulle, Daniel Müller, Ute Resch, Johan Creten, Sergej Bratkov, Klaus Verscheure, tying in unique pieces from collections of Sint-Andrieskerk Antwerpen, Sint-Agatha Klooster Nederland, Transit Gallery Mechelen, and private collectors to create an immersive journey through sorrow, death and hope. 


Is the second collaboration between the Museum voor Moderne Religieuze Kunst (MMRK) and Swiss – Ukrainian artist and curator Denys Shantar. The first project “Will it bloom this year?” was realized last year for the 3rd Ypres Quadrennial, connecting the history of Ypres, the ongoing war in Shantar’s home country Ukraine and the collection of the MMRK. 

This year’s exhibition “CROSS-ING WAY-S” was especially developed by Shantar for and in collaboration with the MMRK, focusing on the Museums unique religious art collection. After getting a good overview of its content, but also the Museum’s wish for a fresh start after the intensive corona years, the topic of the Cross Way was born. 

The official 14 stations of the Passion of Christ can be found in most Western Catholic Churches, to remind Christians about the suffering of Jesus and serve as a guidance for praying, especially on Good Friday. In some churches the resurrection is added as an unofficial 15th station. 

The Passion of Christ starts with his death sentence, from there we follow him on his way to Golgotha. He meets different people like his mother and Veronica, he falls three times, gets crucified, dies, gets taken down and buried. 

Shantar takes the Cross Way as an allegory of a person’s personal journey and connecting it with the global obstacles, pain, and suffering, we got through the past few years. Yet the journey should end with a perspective on the possibility of hope and light at the end – a resurrection. 

The exhibition is built on a 6 months long, ongoing research, where the curator always comes back to the collection, as a starting point. Inviting fellow artists and artists from the collection to join for certain stations. Visiting institutions, collectors and archives in Belgium and the Netherlands, he 

pieces together a contemporary interpretation of the Stations of the Cross, where contemporary art and religious art are crossing ways. 

The mission of the MMRK stands for a religiously and spiritually inspired art for now, for contemporary people. Starting from the observation that religious words, images, symbols, and rituals derive their power from their impact and from the fact that a religious narrative creates space for connection to a “we”. MMRK stands for dialogue and diversity of forms of expression, through which attention can be paid to “meeting” and “openness of mind”. Although the Museum is focused on Christian art and is based in the National Basilica, these are two separate institutions. Different from each other, the MMRK is about Modern and present day art of a particular inspiration and originating of an ancient tradition, but is not focused on a religious mission as such. The collection is mainly 20th century paintings, sculptures, and drawings with a religious or spiritual theme, realized by artists from Belgium, from neighboring countries, Poland, Armenia, and the USA. 

Denys Shantar (°1997 Kherson, UA) graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Zürich University of the Arts (ZHdK). In 2021 he finished his Master’s degree in Costume Design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (KASKA). He exhibited in several Belgian (Z33, Morpho, S.M.A.K) and Swiss, Bulgarian, Kazakh and Greek institutions. 

As a starting point for his artistic work, he often uses his own memories and those from other people and deploys different materials and techniques in order to create narratives which lie between reality and fiction. In his exploration of childhood, religion, migration, and queerness, he links the personal to global events. While searching for identity, he asks himself two simple questions: “Who am I?” and “Where do I come from?”. 

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