TV works

Geert Bekaert

Geert Bekaert (b. 1928) is the most important and for a long time virtually the only critic, theorist and historian of architecture in the Dutch-speaking world. In 1944, Bekaert joined the Societas Jesu and studied art history, theology, philosophy and classical languages. In 1972, he left the Jesuit order. In 1950, he debuted as a critic and has since worked uninterrupted on a body of work including virtually a thousand texts on architecture, the fine arts and related subjects. Since the 1960s he has been associated with the Universities and institutes of higher education at Louvain, Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Maastricht, Antwerp and Ghent, and he is given lectures over the entire Western world. He has also been on the editorial staffs – often as editor-in-chief – of Streven, De Linie, Wonen-TA/BK, Forum, Archis and Stichting Interieur. From 1972, he was coordinator for Pierre Mardaga publishers, located in Paris and Liege. From 1967 to 1989, he worked on scores of films about architecture (both monographs and thematic films) for Belgian public broadcasting network, most of which were made by Jef Cornelis. In 1988, he was awarded the Rotterdam Maaskant Prize for Architecture.

Bekaert’s work is more ‘structuring’ than narrative: with great erudition, he sets up ‘schemes’, a number of approaches – philosophy, literature, sociology and history – from which the subject is studied, without giving advance preference to a single interpretation. His work is often expressly polemic: there have been few architectural or cultural events in the Netherlands since World War II in which Bekaert had no voice. His important books include Pop, of het wezen van de kunst (Pop: Or the Being of Art, 1966), Bouwen in België 1945-1970 (Building in Belgium, 1971), Landschap van kerken (Landscape of Churches, 1987), Hedendaagse architectuur in België (Contemporary Architecture in Belgium, 1995) and Een reis naar Japan met het toeval als norm (A Journey to Japan With Coincidence As the Norm, 2001). The first two volumes of his Verzamelde Opstellen (Collected Writings) appeared in the 1980s. The following volumes are currently being prepared. [Christophe Van Gerrewey]