CIAP is a platform for contemporary arts based at C-mine — a revitalised mining site in Genk, a stone's throw from the Dutch and German borders.
At this moment, CIAP finds itself at the point of multiple transitions — in-between institutional models, infrastructures, and locations. In partnership with FLACC (workplace for visual artists), we have decided to merge in 2021 into a new art institution with a new infrastructure, located at C-mine. The contract was awarded to architectural firms 51N4E and Point Supreme, and the realisation of their project will begin in the spring of 2021. Thanks to the support of the City of Genk and the Flemish Government, CIAP and FLACC hope to move to C-mine — already as a new organisation — in the spring of 2023.
We perceive this transition not only as a challenge but, in the first place, as an opportunity to ‘thrive in uncertainty’ and fundamentally change the way we work. In the coming years, we will function as a shape-shifting organisation, adapting to the needs of our collaborators, partners, and environment and exploring how to facilitate and make different peripheral, precarious practices public. Based on our belief in the importance of sustainable, long-term trajectories, CIAP avoids any form of overproduction and alternates periods of intense action and externalisation with moments of self-reflective introspection, or ‘lying fallow’.
CIAP is excited to be undergoing this transition in Genk — a city with a fascinating past, representative of the transformation from the industrial to the knowledge economy, from fossil fuels to green energy. The principles guiding our work respond directly to this rich context: the industrial heritage, the disturbed landscape with its resilient fauna and flora, the diverse, multicultural community, and the almost-forgotten history of Genk as a health retreat and station d'artistes — a favourite resort of amongst painters, scientists, and writers. At the same time, CIAP also tries to position itself in the globalised world, with people growing further and further apart from each other, the rest of life on Earth, and even from their own bodies.
This is, without a doubt, why we feel the urge to work around the notions of hospitality, ecology, (self)care, and periphery and invite artists, curators, researchers, members, and neighbours to join in. At CIAP, they get time, space, and resources to reflect on these questions, let their ideas incubate, and at the right moment, share them with others. Striving for the permeability of disciplines and categories, we recognise that making art does not happen in the vacuum but is an activity amongst others. Rather than claiming to be blazing trails, we want to support and complement the valuable work of fellow curators, artists, biologists, horticulturalists, sociologists, architects, and citizens.
Since its founding in 1976 by a group of art-loving citizens, CIAP has kept evolving, moving, and expanding its reach, but always remained close to its grassroots origin. Still today, we function as a membership-based association, and we benefit from the contributions of a small community of members, who support us financially but also contribute their time and skills to our organisation. If you would like to get involved as a partner or become a CIAP member, see how to make it happen. CIAP is one of the 11 members of VERY CONTEMPORARY, a network of contemporary art venues in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion. The partners of VERY CONTEMPORARY relate to each other through the language of contemporary art. The border region of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany is their training ground.