On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, S.M.A.K. is presenting ‘The Collection (I): Highlights for a Future’ which includes about 200 works from the collection and, like the opening in 1999, it will occupy the whole museum. In this exhibition, S.M.A.K. wants to look mainly at the present and the future. Well-known classics, outstanding newer works and also recent additions to the collection are to be used to show the position of the museum and of art in contemporary reality and to make new links with other, sometimes surprising and less well-known works in the collection.

‘The Collection (I): Highlights for a Future’ starts out expressly from the present-day conclusion that it is currently impossible to capture the social reality and the art world in one overarching linear storyline or concept. Inspired partly by the architecture of the S.M.A.K. building, the exhibition has been divided into seven sub-presentations, each of which spotlights a number of current trends in society and/or the art world and illustrates them with works from the museum collection. In addition to these proposed guidelines, the exhibition is intended in the first place to be a generous hand extended to the visitor. Visitors are warmly invited to immerse themselves in the labyrinth of contemporary art and to discover for themselves possible connections between the various artworks from the museum’s collection.

Three key works from the S.M.A.K. collection will also be returning temporarily to the place where they were initially created – the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) – under the heading ‘There & Back’: Panamarenko’s 'The Aeromodeller' 'Wirtschaftswerte' by Joseph Beuys and 'Le Décor et son Double' by Daniel Buren. The second, private part of this work can be visited at the Herbert Foundation once a month during the course of the exhibition.

Lastly, the underlying dimension of ‘The Collection (I): Highlights for a Future’ is – as the title suggests – the need to create a proper building for contemporary art in Ghent so that the collection can be permanently displayed and housed under the best circumstances both in the museum and the reserves.

With works by Allora & Calzadilla, Francis Alÿs, Harold Ancart, Carl Andre, Giovanni Anselmo, Art & Language, Richard Artschwager, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Salam Atta Sabri, Kader Attia, Sven Augustijnen, Francis Bacon, Nairy Baghramian, John Baldessari, Miroslaw Balka, Artur Barrio, Massimo Bartolini, Gaston Bertrand, Joseph Beuys, Guillaume Bijl, Johanna Billing, Dara Birnbaum, Pierre Bismuth, Marinus Boezem, Michaël Borremans, Charbel-joseph H. Boutros, Ricardo Brey, Marcel Broodthaers, stanley brouwn, Daniel Buren, Kathe Burkhart, Nina Canell, Chuck Close, Leo Copers, N. Dash, Franky D.C, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Thierry De Cordier, Raoul De Keyser, Johan De Wilde, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Luc Deleu, Wim Delvoye, Nikolaas Demoen, Jim Dine, Peter Downsbrough, Rein Dufait, Lili Dujourie, Marlene Dumas, Sam Durant, Joana Escoval, Jan Fabre, Belu-Simion Fainaru, Christoph Fink, Mekhitar Garabedian, Tatjana Gerhard, Jef Geys, Vincent Geyskens, Joris Ghekiere, Adrian Ghenie, Robert Gober, Zvi Goldstein, Raymond Hains, András Halász, Hamza Halloubi, David Hammons, Karin Hanssen, Heide Hinrichs, David Hockney, Ann Veronica Janssens, Joachim Koester, Surasi Kusolwong, Annika Larsson, Louise Lawler, Lee Kit, Jac Leirner, Bernd Lohaus, Jorge Macchi, Mark Manders, Werner Mannaers, Danny Matthys, Bjarne Melgaard, Henri Michaux, François Morellet, Oscar Murillo, Bruce Nauman, Carsten Nicolai, Sophie Nys, Oswald Oberhuber, Saskia Olde Wolbers, Henrik Olesen, Meret Oppenheim, Panamarenko, Manfred Pernice, Urs Pfannenmüller, Nicolas Provost, Royden Rabinowitch, Jean Pierre Raynaud, Gerhard Richter, Meggy Rustamova, Anri Sala, Wilhelm Sasnal, Michael E. Smith, Nedko Solakov, Bart Stolle, Tove Storch, Walter Swennen, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Javier Téllez, Robert Therrien, Sven 't Jolle, Narcisse Tordoir & Vincent Geyskens, Luc Tuymans, Adam Vackar, Englebert Van Anderlecht, Rinus Van de Velde, Koen van den Broek, Jan Van Imschoot, Herman Van Ingelgem, Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven, Philippe Van Snick, Richard Venlet, Verlust der Mitte, Henk Visch, Wolf Vostell, Lois Weinberger, James Welling, Jordan Wolfson, Zhang Peili and Gilberto Zorio.