Herbert Archive contains a variety of documents that are linked to the Collection: artists’ books, editions, invitation cards for exhibitions, catalogues and publications, posters, magazines, pictures, audio recordings and videos.
Even though documents are often situated within the margins of the artists’ practice, their importance should not be underestimated. Just like the actual artworks, documents give expression to the vision and social position of the artist. Examples hereof are the Magazine Sculpture of Gilbert & George in Studio International (1970), the books Statements by Lawrence Weiner (1968) and Reconstructed History by Mike Kelley (1991), the texts of Daniel Buren and Art & Language or the artists’ books of Marcel Broodthaers and Martin Kippenberger. In relation to the artworks, these documents enrich the oeuvre of the artist substantially.
Based on this conviction, Annick and Anton Herbert have built an extensive Archive, which, within the structure of Herbert Foundation, has the same status as the Collection, and this since its start.
M.Broodthaers, La Conquête de l’espace. Atlas à l’usage des artistes et des militaires, Brussels, 1975
Apart from offering a substantive framework to the artworks, the importance of the Archive is situated on a broader level as well. Exhibition catalogues, (art)critical publications and magazines such as Studio International, Avalanche or Interfunktionen, provide the possibility to gain insight into the social and artistic context around the years 1960 until 2000, which surpass the boundaries of the Herbert Collection. The evolution of the art market, the relationship between the private and public domain or the practice of museums, can be reflected upon from a broader perspective via these documents.
To conclude, the Archive also functions as the memory of the Collection and its realisation. The documents emphasise the coherence of the Collection as a subjective whole and reflect the encounters, discussions, choices and considerations of the collectors. Some artists that are not part of the Collection, such as Bas Jan Ader, Dieter Roth, James Lee Byars, Günter Brus, Robert Smithson and Richard Prince, are just as well represented by these documents. The Archive thus completes the Collection Imaginaire or ‘utopic collection’ that the collectors have in mind. This Collection Imaginaire is incomplete by definition, and therefore, the Archive, just like the Collection, stays in progress.
To underline the value and relevance of documents, Herbert Foundation regularly organises events that make the Archive accessible to the public and reflect on the content and wealth of these sources. These activities contain, among others, Master Classes, readings, film screenings, and special tours.
An overview of upcoming and past events can be found on the website under Events.
Within the framework of specific projects, researchers can make an appointment, to consult a selection of documents from the Archive. A request can be submitted to Laura Hanssens (firstname.lastname@example.org), specifying the question, research topic and yet consulted sources. Every application will be looked into individually and checked within the agenda and possibilities of the Foundation. Please submit your application well in advance. From students we also ask for a reference letter.