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OCA Supported Residency at WIELS with Are Blytt

28 April 2023
4 WIELS Building Kristien Daem

Photo courtesy of WIELS Contemporary Art Centre.

Since 2009, OCA has been sponsoring an artist residency programme at WIELS Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels. In 2018, Are Blytt undertook a residency stay at WIELS where he found creative support, inspiration, and a kick-start that took his artistic practice abroad.

After years of painterly practice in my studio outside Oslo and in the solitude that naturally occurs there, the stay at WIELS through OCA set in motion new projects and exhibitions outside Norway. In one of nine big concrete studios in an old brewery factory with a view over Europe's train network you can work in peace – or not.

Once a week, all resident artists come together to meet for tutorials with professional artists. In 2023 these artists are Simon Thompson, Sylvie Eyberg, Manon De Boer and Michael Van den Abeele. In his post residency report, Blytt reflected –

[There was] fantastic artistic direction by Willem Oorebeek, Sylvie Eyberg and Simon Thompson. These mentors were extremely knowledgeable, and razor-sharp in their analyses. The tutorials mostly focused on talk and discussion and made it up to the residents to translate this into their own artistic practice.

The residency at WIELS focuses on artistic development and research for artists who have already elaborated a specific and promising aesthetic language but seek artistic, theoretical, and professional support in order to develop their practice.

The studios and residency come with no obligations to anything other than to open your eyes and be around in one of the most interesting art scenes I know; Brussels as a stronghold for highly conceptual thinking imbued with a healthy scepticism of the establishment.


Herman J. Daled (1930-2020) and Marit Storset in their home and heart of the collection: The Wolfers House (1929) by Henry van de Velde. Photo: Are Blytt

During his stay at WIELS in 2018, Blytt was fortunate enough to meet one of the founders of WIELS, Herman J. Daled (1930-2020) who actively chaired the institution until 2013. Blytt was invited to the home of Daled and his Norwegian wife Marit Storset where he more clearly understood the vision behind the residency at WIELS.

The nine studios were built based on Herman J. Daled's understanding that an art centre should be more than just exhibitions, but also a place for the development of artistic research and longer parallel processes that takes time.

Daled’s home, called the Wolfers House and designed by Henry van de Velde in 1929, was where he lived for the last 40 years of his life. Daled treated this space as an artwork in itself, allowing it to age without intervention or renovation. The photograph here is taken by Are Blytt during his visit, and shows Herman J. Daled and Marit Storset in the Wolfers House.

Read more about Herman J. Daled’s fascinating story here on Conceptual Fine Arts, explore Are Blytt’s artistic practice on his website, and learn more about our supported residency at WIELS on our dedicated page.




A 6-months residency programme for an artist at WIELS Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels, Belgium. Application deadline 3 May.


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