Reflections on Art, Mysticism and Church

In this project, I collect my reflections on a variety of topics concerning the interface of art and religion and its role in contemporary society. I develop these reflections in dialogue with academics, artists, and art critics. The goal of this project is 1) to establish a network of like-minded people, starting in Flanders; 2) to develop a research field and an artistic/academic discourse to help explore crucial questions concerning the mutually enriching dynamics between art and religion.

According to me, the study om mysticism aids to bridge both spheres: the artistic and the theological. I use my training as a scholar of mysticism to establish this network of artists and scholars and to explore the “collective memory” with its visual and material culture, its spoken and unspoken words and its embodied rituals.

Mysticism is not only a canon of literary works but it is also a theological method and discourse that mediates between theology and culture. It is concerned with both theory and practice, Christian doctrine and the lived experience of people (expressed in rituals and art and transmitted in oral history). Mysticism is concerned with key themes of the Christian tradition and combines them with an embodied experience of reality. The study of mysticism teaches me to pay special attention to the role of imagery, visual representations and embodied experiences in theological discourse

Sander Vloebergs

Art History and AMVK’s reception of Marguerite Porete

I teached a course in medieval art history to the bachelor students of LUCA School of Art (KULeuven) during the academic year of 2019-2020. I selected a few lectures which offer great inside into the relationship between art, mysticism and the Church during the late medieval period, with a special emphasis on the role of women as saints, artists and art consumers. The last lecture contains a interview with artist Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven who explains her relation to the medieval mystic Marguerite Porete. The lectures are recorded in Dutch.

College 3 : Kunst door en voor vrouwen ; College 4 : Bijbelse vrouwen in de kunst; College 5: Dansen tussen hemel en aarde, over danstradities in de Late Middeleeuwen; College 6: Interview met AMVK

The videos of these lectures (in Dutch) can be found here

Colloquium Art, Mysticism and Church – Kadoc, 21st of June 2019

The colloquium preceded the opening of the exhibition Beloved Bodies – Geliefde Lichamen in Kadoc (21st of June – 12th of July). During this colloquium, the following speakers presented their contributions to the interface between art, mysticism, and the church: Veerle Fraeters, Marc De Kesel, Anja Veirman, and Rik Torfs. The session was closed with a round table with artists Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven, Lies Daenen, and Pé Vermeersch.

A link to the videos and pictures can be found here.