Bijl Guillaume

Bijl Guillaume

1946 Antwerp

Guillaume Bijl (°1946, Antwerp) is known for his large-scale installations and visual realism. Since the late 70s, Bijl created realistic decors using found objects. In doing this, he had a pioneering role in the resurgence of the ready-made. Bijl shows the audience various aspects of our western ‘civilisation’ and consumer society. Using extreme stereotypes, he creates a sort of ‘archeology of our time’ in a tragi-comedic, alienating way.
After searching for a mode of expression which could enable the audience’s involvement, the young Guillaume Bijl, a self-taught artist, started creating projects on paper in the seventies (‘Project Pleasures’). The most important series comprised nine ‘Treatments’. This series exposes various societal determinations and phenomena like the church, the army, the education system, the holiday business, sex, businessman or the daily grind of blue-collar workers. In these depictions on paper Bijl draws a trail, accompanied by a step-by-step script, guiding the visitor from room to room to follow the life course of, for example, a soldier. It’s these projects at the root of his following oeuvre both visually as in content.
In 1979 Guillaume Bijl creates his first installation Autorijschool Z at Ruimte Z, an artist-run gallery in Antwerp. The artist exposes what shouldn’t have happened: the gallery being turned into a less appealing commercial institution, a driving-school. In this life-like décor, the artist provided chairs and benches for the students, a blackboard, didactic boards with traffic signs, a model of an engine… In this first installation three elements that will become characteristic for his entire oeuvre can already be recognised. Firstly, there’s a game between fiction and reality resulting in a sense of alienation or confusion for the spectator caused by the artist’s act of displacement. Secondly, Bijl criticises a contemporary societal phenomenon and, last but not least, the fact that the installation is placed inside an art space, turns every object into a sculpture and a visual image.
This driving school was the first of a series of transformation-installations, which evolved into a visual epos of societal phenomena. In many museum institutes and galleries, Bijl created a Fallout Shelter (Liège, 1985), a Shooting Gallery (Eindhoven, 1985), a Caravan Show (Grenoble, 1989), a supermarket (Liverpool, Frankfurt, Basel), a Central Airport Basel (1986), a Futon Store (New York, 1989), a wig store (Brussels, 2012), a dog grooming salon (Zürich, 2016), etc.
In addition to these transormation-installations, there are 5 other types of works in Bijl’s oeuvre. The names for these different types of works are also the titles for the works. In his situation-installations, Bijl creates fiction in reality, usually in public space. In 1995 for instance, he mounted stuffed birds on roofs and lanterns during Documenta 6 in Kassel. Compositions, sometimes called Composition Trouvée, are fragments from reality, objects that seem to have been taken from antiquaries or gift shops. These often kitschy-looking works are smaller in scale and always thoughtfully put together.
His Sorry works can take on different forms. They are compositions of objects or installations with an absurd element to them, making them fall out of reality, into the surreal. A beautiful example is the bird’s nest containing one red and two white billiard balls, a bizarre still life.
With his Cultural Tourism theme, Bijl creates installations that zoom in on banal museums and mass-tourism phenomena, as for example in Roman Road (Middelheim Museum, 1994) or the installation Lederhosen Museum (Graz, 1997). More recently Bijl made realistically painted bronze statues and scenes like Feestelijke Beelden at the Europaplein, Amsterdam (2014), Saluting Admiral Couple at MAS, Antwerp (2016) or the statue of a businessman making a hand stand out of joy ‘Ein neuer erfolgreicher Tag’ (2008).
Guillaume Bijl had major solo exhibitions and took part in numerous group shows including the Paris Biennial (1982), Kunsthalle Bern (1986), Belgian Pavillion - Venice Biennial (1988), New Museum, New York (1998), Documenta 9, Kassel (1992), Skulptur Projekte, Münster (2007), 11th Lyon Biennial (2011), Istanbul Biennial (2013) and Manifesta 11, Zürich (2016). Recently he took part in following projects: Beaufort (2018), the Adriaen Brouwer year, Oudenaarde (2018), Play, Kortrijk (2018), Félicien Rops Museum, Namur (2018), Power to the People, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2018), the Bruegel year, Dilbeek (2019.)
Nadia Bijl




Solo – Exhibitions (selection)
1979 : Galerij Z, Antwerp
1980 : De Warande, Turnhout
1981 : 121 Gallery, Antwerp
1982 : Franklin Furnace, New York
1983 : Provinviaal museum, Hasselt
1984 : V.M.H.K. S.M.A.K., Ghent
Art Basel, Basel
1985: De Appel, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Galerie Bilinelli, Brussels
Galerie Andata Ritorno, Geneva
Apollohuis, Eindhoven
“Fitness Center”, De Beyerd, Breda
1986 : Kunstverein, Cologne
1987 : Sala Uno, Rome
Galerie Schmela, Düsseldorf
Galerij G. Terribile, Milan
1988 : Galerie Maeght, Paris
Galerie T. Rumff, Haarlem
Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam
Biennale of Venice, Belgian Pavilion, Venice
Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Kunstverein Kassel, Kassel
1989 : Le Magasin, Grenoble
New Museum, New York
Isy Brachot Gallery, Brussels
La Criée, Rennes
Galleria A. Murnik, Milano
Wewerka Gallery, Berlin
1990 : Witte de With, Rotterdam
Galerie Bébert, Rotterdam
Galerie Claire Burrus, Paris
J. Shaiman Gallery, New York
K. Wingate Gallery, New York
Galerie Littmann, Basel
N. Jacobs Gallery, London
1991 : H. Winter Gallery, Vienna
1992 : Castello di Rivoli, Torino
Galeria Ponte Pietra, Verona
1993 : Wiener Secession, Vienna
H. Winter Gallery, Vienna
Galerie Jos Jamar, Knokke
1994 : Openluchtmuseum Middelheim, Antwerp
Wewerka Gallery, Berlin
1995 : Chateau d’Oiron, Oiron
1996 : Muhka, Antwerp
Kunstverein, Hannover
Kunstverein, Freiburg
Het Domein, Sittard
Theater, Basel
1997 : Arken Museum, Copenhagen
Musée d’Art Contemperain, Montréal
1998 : Neue Galerie, Graz
Kunsthalle, Reklinghausen
Museum of Ontario, Toronto
De Paviljoens, Almere
1999 : Galerie Friebe, Lüdenscheid
2001 : Städtische Galerie, Nordhorn
Kabinett für Aktuele Kunst, Bremerhafen
2002 : Galerie A. Gentils, Antwerp
“De Koninck”, Mechelen
Galerij Jos Jamar, Antwerp
2003 : Kunsthalle am Hawerkamp, Münster
2004 : R 1, Hamburg (with Andreas Marker)
2006 : “De Stoel in de Kunst”, Sint Maria-Horebeke
2007 : Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam
2008 : Pocketroom, Antwerp
Ein neuer erfogreicher Tag, Wuppertal
S.M.A.K., Ghent
2009 : Gallery COMA, Berlin
Sculpture Trouvée, Ladendorf
2010: Cabin, Antwerp
2011: Guy Pieters Gallery, Paris
2012 : H. Winter Gallery, Vienna
Guy Pieters Gallery, Knokke
Etablisssement d’en face, Brussels
Nagel Draxler Gallery, Berlin
Galerie Gabrielle Maubrie, Paris
2013 : Centre d’Art Contemporain, Montélimar
Wax Museum installation, Art Cologne
2014 : Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam
“Feestelijke Beelden”, Rai, Europaplein, Amsterdam
2015 : “Composities en Sorry’s” Yoeri Langendonck Gallery, Antwerp
“De Sokkel”, Stadspark, Antwerp
2016 : At the Gallery, Antwerp
Nagel Draxler Gallery, Berlin
“Le Carré” , Chateau Gontier
CC Mechelen, Mechelen
Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen
“Groetend admiraal koppel”, MAS, Antwerp
2017 : ADNplatform, Barcelona
PXLcampus, Hasselt
Mengi, Reykjavik
2018 : “ ADNplatform”, Barcelona
“Adriaen Brouwer-installation”, Ronde van Vlaanderen Center, Oudenaarde
“Felicien Rops-installation”, Musée F. Rops, Namur
2019 : “Zwin Natuur Park” Center, Knokke
Pinkie Bowtie, Antwerp
Allen Gallery, Paris
Mieke van Schaijk Gallery, s’Hertogenbosch
76,4 Space, Bruxelles
2020 Lighthouse / Watchtower, De Haan

2021 “Multiple & Editions”, Royal Academy , Antwerp
Meredith Rosen Gallery, New York
Seghers Gallery, Oostende
2022 Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam
Keteleer Gallery, Antwerp
C. Nagel – Draxler, München
Duchamp- Bijl, Durbuy
Halle Verrière, Meisenthal

Group exhibitions ( selection)
1980: I.C.C., Antwerp
1981: Jeune Peinture Belge, Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussel
1982: Pali Kao, Paris
1982: Biennale de Paris, ARC, Paris
1984: Perfo, Rotterdam
1985: Hahnentorburg, Cologne
Nord, Place St Lambert, Liège
1986: Kunsthalle Bern, Bern
Group show, Zeno X Gallery, Brussels
Octobre des Arts, Lyon
St Pietersabdij, Ghent
1987: Group Show, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Beelden Buiten, Tielt
1988: Biennale of Venice, Venice
Images et Mages, Les Moulins Albigeois, Albi
Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund
Kunstverein, Kassel
Forum, Hamburg
Realisme, Zoetermeer
Das Gläsener U-Boot, Krems
1989: Open Mind (Gesloten Circuits), S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent
A Belgian Exhibition, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York
Guillaume Bijl & Ian Hamilton Finlay, Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna
Works on Paper, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Centraal Museum,Utrecht
1990: Nous citoyens de la communauté européenne, Les Moulins Albigeois, Albi
Ponton Temse, S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent
Untitle, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Artisti (della Fiandra) - Kunstenaars (uit Vlaanderen), S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent
Edge ‘90, Newcastle
Tel Hai ’90, Tel Hai
1991: Fluxattitudes, Hallwalls at The Church, Buffalo
Facts and Rumours, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam
e Boom Belge!, Frances Wolfson Art Gallery, Miami
Galeria Communale d’Arte Moderna, Bologna
Stuttgart Kunstverein, Stuttgart
Meyers – Bloom Gallery, Santa Monica
1992: Accrochage, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
documenta 9, Kassel
Al(l)ready made, Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch, ’s-Hertogenbosch
FluxAttitudes, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York
9th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney
Edge ’92, Madrid / London
1993: Accrochage, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Refusing to Surface, South London Gallery, London
Lyon Biennale, Lyon
Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nîmes
The Uncanny, Sonsbeek 93, Gemeentemuseum, Arhem
1994: Die Orte der Kunst, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Hannover
Palacio Nacional, Sintra
1995: Elvis + Marilyn: 2 X Immortal, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX
As far as Amsterdam goes..., de Appel Boys' School, Amsterdam
CAPC, Bordeaux
1996: Schwerelos - Skulpturen, Landesgalerie am Oberösterreichischen Landesmuseum, Linz
Triple X, Amsterdam
1997: Collectie te gast in Schwerte, S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent
Neue Galerie, Aachen
1998: Archiv X, Offenes Kulturhaus OÖ, Linz
Voor het verdwijnt en erna, S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent
1999: La consolation, MAGASIN-Centre National d’art Contemporain de Grenoble, Grenoble
Unplugged, London
2000: Because a fire was in my head, South London Gallery, London
Dinge in der Kunst des XX. Jahrhundert, Haus der Kunst München, Munich
Transformer, Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna
Centre Pompidou, Paris
Kunsthalle Tirol, Innsbruck
2001: Littmann Projects, Basel
Martin Janda Galerie, Vienna
2002: Malerei ohne Malerei, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, Leipzig
Private Öffentlichkeit, Museum Folkwang Essen, Essen
Shopping, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt
Shopping – A Century of Art and Consumer Culture, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool
Poëzie-Zomer, Watou
2003: Updated Collection Presentation (IV), MuHKA, Antwerp
Bright Lights, Big City, David Zwirner Gallery, New York
FONA I, MMSU - Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka, Rijeka
Objets ? Objets !, CAPC - Musée d'art contemporain, Bordeaux
Tate Gallery, Liverpool
Belgium Art Now, Athens
2004: L´Ombre du temps, Jeu de Paume, Paris
Tongue in cheek - L'humour dans l'art contemporain, Centre rhénan d'art contemporain, Altkirch
Villa Merkel, Esslingen
2005: (my private) Heroes, MARTa Herford, Herford
Private View 1980-2000 - Collection Pierre Huber, Palais de Rumine, Lausanne
50 Jahre - Years documenta 1955 – 2005, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel
Monopolis - Antwerp, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam
La Belgique Visionnaire. C’esr arrivé près de chez nous, Palais des beaux arts, Brussels
Daimler Chrysler Collection, Berlin
2006: Optik Schröder - Werke aus der Sammlung Alexander Schröder, Kunstverein Braunschweig,Braunschweig
25 years Zeno X, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
busy going crazy. the Sylvio Perlstein collection, La Maison Rouge, Paris
Images publiques, Liége
Busan Biennale, Busan
Museum of Modern Art, Vladivostok
2007: ANACHRONISM, Argos, Brussels
skulptur projekte münster 07, Münster
Vanaf nu!.., LLS 387, Antwerp
El Manifesto de Santiago, M100 - Centro Culturtal Matucana 100, Santiago di Chile
Looking for the border. Una linea concettuale dell'arte italiana e belga tra l'iconico e l'ironico, Fondazione Stelline, Milan
Cultureel Centrum, Strombeek-Bever
2008: The Ikob Collection, IKOB – Museum für Zeitgenössische Kunst Eupen, Eupen
3D - oeuvres de la collection du FRAC Limousin, Espace culturel François Mitterrand, Perigueux
Ad Absurdum, MARTa Herford, Herford
Less is less, more is more, that’s all, CAPC - Musée d'art contemporain, Bordeaux
Call it what you like - Collection Rik Reinking, Kunst Centret Silkeborg Bad, Silkeborg
SCAPE 2008, Art & Industry Biennial Trust, Christchurch
Onthaasting: About Spare Time and Slower Worlds, American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC
2009: Something else!!!!, MAN - Museo d`Arte di Nuoro, Nuoro
Chinetik, Museum Tinguely, Basel
A Story of the Image, National Museum of Signapore/ Shanghai Art Museum, Singapore / Shanghai
Danish Pavilion, Elmgreen & Dragset installation, 53rd International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale, Venice
Jeugdzonde. Overopus één en opus min één, LLS 387 / Antwerp, Hedah / Maastricht
The State of Things, BOZAR - Palais des Beaux-Arts / Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels
Halle für Kunst e. V., Lüneburg
2010: The Fate of Irony, KAI 10 Raum für Kunst, Düsseldorf
The State of Things, Bozar/ NAMOC, Brussels / Beijing
Bilder in Bewegung, Museum Ludwig, Cologne
Luc Tuymans: A vision of Central Europe, Brugge Plus vzw, Bruges
James Ensor - Hareng Saur: Ensor et l'art contemporain, S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent
ABC, Le Fresnoy, Tourcoing
2011: Von Dort Aus, Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne and Berlin
Melanchotopia, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam
11th Biennale of Lyon, Lyon
Museum Show, Arnolfinimuseum, Bristol
2012: Asche und Gold. Eine Weltenreise, MARTa Herford, Herford
Prolongation, Galerie nächst St. Stephan - Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Vienna
Wonderful – Humboldt, Krokodil & Polke, Die Olbricht Collection; me Collectors
Ensembles, MuHKA, Antwerp
2013: Drolatique, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Chinon
The Collection As A Character, MuHKA, Antwerp
13th Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul
Middle Gate Geel '13, Various Locations in Geel, Geel
Museum to scale 1/7, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels
Des Corps Compétents (La Modification) / Les Week-ends de la Modification, Villa Arson, Nice
Gegenverkehrsbereich, Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna
2014: The crime was almost perfect, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam
Le Mur, La collection Antoine de Galbert ; La Maison Rouge, Paris
Return to Sender, WIELS - Centrum voor Hedendaagse kunst, Brussels
De viekantigste Rechthoek, Kunsthal KAdE, Amersvoort
De Zee/The Sea –Salut D’honneur Jan Hoet, Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Oostend
Master Mould and Copy Room, Cafa Museum, Beijing
Nagel DraxlerGallery, Cologne
2015: The Importance of Being, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana
A Belgian Politician, Marion De Cannière contemporary art gallery, Antwerp
An Jan - Eine Hommage, MARTa Herford, Herford
The importance of Being”, Museo Arte Contemporana, Buenos Aires
Pom’ Po Pon Po Pon Pon Pom Pon, Middelheim Museum, Antwerp
The importance of Being, Museo, Rio de janero
2016: Wall to Wall, Carpets by Artists, MOCA Cleveland
11 Kunstenaars tegen de muur, stad Antwerpen
MANIFESTA 11, Zürich
See how the Land lays, West, Den Haag
Nate Lights, Plus One Gallery, Antwerp
“Intrigue” James Ensor by Luc Tuymans, Royal Academy of Arts, London
. “Agence de Voyage zoals
2017: “The Absent Museum”, Wiels, Brussels.
“Wordswordswords”, Sofie van de Velde Gallery, Antwerp
“Cappadox”, Cappadocia
“Open Mind”, At the Gallery, Antwerp
“Fleming Falloon”, Office Baroque Gallery, Brussels
“Façade”, Middelburg
“Last night’s Fortune Teller”, Daimler Art Collection, Berlin
“West, Den Haag
2018 : “Sorry-Installation”, Beaufort, 2018
“Casino – installation”, Play, Kortrijk
Power to the People, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankurt
BE::YO:ND, Plus One Gallery, Antwerp
“Unexchangeable”, Wiels, Brussels
“From the Collection, against the Wall”, SMAK, Ghent
“Idiorrythmia”, Cacbm, Paris
2019 : “Bruegel’s Eye”, Dilbeek
“Collection 1”, SMAK, Ghent
“Parcum”, ABBEYE, Leuven
“Belgium Biennal” / Ghent
2020 “The last Picture Show”, Galerie Gabrielle Maubrie / Paris
Keteleer Gallery, Antwerp
Mieke Van Schaijk Gallery, s’Hertogenbosch
Blikfabriek, Antwerp
2021 ING Bank, Brussels
Zero Gallery, Milan
Saint-Cirque-Lapopie (Artist in residence)
Musée Contemporaine, St. Etienne
Neues Museum, Nurnberg
Chateau Oiron, Oiron

2022 Cultural City, Luxembourg
Centre Pompidou, Shangai


Work in Public Collections (selection)
Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon
Chateau d’Oiron, Oiron
Centre Pompidou, Paris
FNAC, Paris
Musée de l’art contemporain, Strassbourg
Frac, Limoges
Musée de l’Objet, Blois
Centre international d’art et du Paysage , l’Ile de Vassivièvre
S.M.A.K., Ghent
Flemish parliament, Brussels
Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Brussels
Flemish Community, Ferraris building, Brussels
Nationale Bank, Brussels
MAS, Antwerp
MuHKA , Antwerp
Middelheim Museum, Antwerp
PXL, Hasselt
Vosseslag, City of De Haan
Leopold Park, Oostende
IKOB – Museum für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Eupen
MOCA, Los Angeles
Goldberg Collection, New York
Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne
Neue Galerie, Graz
MUMOK, Vienna
Niederöstereichishe Regierung, Ladendorf
Boymans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam
“Feestelijke Beelden”, Rai / Europaplein, Amsterdam
Financiële Instelling, Eindhoven
Groningen Museum, Groningen
De Paviljoens, Almere
Museum of Modern Art, Vladivostok
Ludwig Museum, Cologne
Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal
Neues Museum, Nürnberg
Daimler-Chrysler Collection, Berlin
Olbrich Collection, Berlin
Schröder Collection, Braunschweig
Städtische Galerie, Stuttgart
Sparda Bank, Wuppertal
Sammlung Reinking, Hamburg
Prices :
Preis der Niederöstereichische Regierung, 1988
Staatsprijs Vlaamse Gemeenschap, 1990
Sparda Bank Preis, Wuppertal, 2008
Provinciale Prijs – Antwerpen, 2014 - 2016

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