TV works

Bart Verschaffel

Bart Verschaffel (b.1956) is a philosopher, a historian of art and architecture and an essayist. He received his doctorate in philosophy in 1985 at the Catholic University of Louvain (K.U.Leuven). Verschaffel has been affiliated with the Flemish Inter-University Council (VLIR), the Sociale Hogeschool in Heverlee (the adult education department at the K.U.Leuven), the Sint-Lukas Hoger Instituut voor Beeldende Kunsten (Saint Lucas Institute for Fine Arts) in Brussels, P.A.R.T.S. dance school, the University of Antwerp, the EHSAL University College in Brussels and the Catholic University of Louvain. He is currently professor at the University of Ghent and chair of the Architecture and Urban Planning Department, where he also teaches architectural theory and architectural history. In the late 1980s, he was employed by the Art Affairs Department of what was then BRT Television, where he made and presented the Container programme. In collaboration with Jef Cornelis, he made films on artists Jan Fabre, Thierry De Cordier and René Magritte. For the Antwerp 93 art event, he contributed Vertoog en Literatuur (Exposé & Literature) with a series of booklets on subjects including applause, provincialism, wordlessness and ‘the interesting’.

Bart Verschaffel has written a great number of essays, a large percentage of which were first published in De Witte Raaf, of which he was editor for some time. For Verschaffel, an essay ‘does not begin with a question that can be answered, it does not begin with a problem that must be solved, nor does it begin with things that require explanation. What it is about is not immediately clear. It begins with a conjecture, and searches for the thought – or rather, for a text leading to the place from which one can glimpse a skittish subject’. His most important monographs include: De glans der dingen. Studies en kritieken over kunst en cultuur (The Gloss of Things: Studies and Critiques on Art and Culture, 1989); Rome/Over theatraliteit (Rome/On Theatricality, 1990); Figuren/essays (Figures/Essays, 1995); Architecture is (as) a gesture (2001); À propos de Balthus. Le Roi des Chats, Le regard sondeur (2005); Van Hermes en Hestia. Teksten over architectuur (Of Hermes and Hestia: Texts on Architecture, 2006). These essays have not received the response they deserve, although Verschaffel received the Flemish Community award for criticism for them in 2003. [Eddy Bettens]