In 2019 we celebrate the centenary of Jan Cox (1919-1980), co-founder of the Jeune Peinture Belge, and a pivotal international figure in the early days of the Antwerp gallery De Zwarte Panter. It is there that Cox presented his strongest works, characterised by compositions with a magical, surreal atmosphere, with references to 'classical' themes such as violence, cruelty and vulnerability. Cox considered the artist's practice to be an artistic and humanistic project.

The M HKA sees Jan Cox as a contemporary artist and mainly focuses on his later oeuvre with works that can be described as 'source works' or 'key works'. These are works in which the artist sets out to explore and experiment, sharp works that remain very fresh even today and that encourage the viewer to reflect on the human condition.