Belgium’s art scene is a bit more rock n’ roll than you might first think, amigos. Take Gistel’s PAK gallery, for example: a non-profit art space that commands a 2-hectare natural landscape between fairy-tale medieval Bruges and sunny, coastal Ostend, spinning its own socialist tale of what art could, and should be.
Free and open only on weekends, PAK uses its Belgian countryside landscape to full effect, sprinkling fern and tree, meadow and lake, with thoughtful pieces that are possibly soon to be part of a permanent exhibition. PAK’s environment is a living collage of artful matters and monuments that make you think, a dynamic artistic collaboration between artist-nature-audience.
Open to all artistic disciplines, from painting and sculpture, collage and photography, to performance and literature, PAK is also open to all and any who care to submit. There is no elitist gallery mentality here, but rather a ‘doors flung wide open’ concept that shows up-and coming young artists to gasp-worthy established names.
Working with artists local to Belgium as well as internationally, PAK aims to widen Belgium’s scope in the wider art world, and before you start thinking that it’s a very nice thought but all a bit hopeful – think again. PAK’s influence reaches further than just its lush countryside escape, as some exhibitions, such as Dark Rooms, a contemplation between photography and other arts is moving from PAK once its run there ends, to a stunning site in one of Bruges’ city centre palaces. One for you art fiend culture kids, no doubt.
As PAK’s influence continues to grow we can see it slowly taking root as a leafy pioneer on the world’s art stage – and who knows, you may be clamouring to gain entrance in a few years from now, so best to visit soon, eh? For the perfect peaceful accompaniment to your nature-filled art expedition, and possible seaside jaunt to nearby Ostend, set your bags down in the beautiful village of Moere and its boutique ex-railway station, Spoor.62. Just outside Gistel and a 9-minute cycle or 35-minute walk from PAK