Ostend lies at the North Sea and is Belgium’s largest city at the coast. It’s a popular holiday destination amongst Belgians and foreigners alike. Both Leopold I and Leopold II, the first two kings of Belgium, liked to reside in Ostend during their holidays, which influenced the modern development of the city of Ostend tremendously. Ostend was also the birthplace of world renowned painter James Ensor for who the city was a great inspiration and Ostend continues to inspire artists as the citybooks prove.
In the fall of 2009, Jeroen Olyslaegers and Christiaan Weijts were in residence in Ostend and in the second half of January 2010, it was Bernard Dewulf’s turn. Peter Holvoet-Hanssen and Austrian author Milena M. Flašar completed the five literary city portraits on Ostend. Vrijstaat O. acted as a host for the artists, and took care of a public encounter with interviews and recitals.
The Dutch photographer Martijn van de Griendt portrayed Ostend with a series of striking Polaroids. He is one of the best photographers in The Netherlands. He is known for his engaged and striking portraits of young people and photo coverages about youth culture. He has also made photo series of several other cities.
No less than nine filmmakers made City One Minutes of the city: Koen Hauser, Kobe Wens, Land van Wynsberge, Carine Vergison, Alfons Vandenbussche, Johan Opstaele, Hanns Vermersch and Monik Myle. All under the supervision of video artist Bavo Defurne.
Vrijstaat O. is a multilateral and interdisciplinary art centre that made it their mission to foster contemplation, creation and exposition of art. In their pavilion in Ostend, that functions as an artistic meeting ground, one can regularly find music, literature, poetry, debates and much more. Vrijstaat O. operates from Ostend but their projects often know a nomadic existence. Regardless of what there project is or where it takes place, Vrijstaat O. is always on the lookout for tomorrows art.
With special thanks to the famous art déco Hotel Du Parc who kindly received the authors/guests. Agence Lecomte tended to the residence of Bernard Dewulf.
Video of the launch of citybooks Oostende.