iGuana’s ArtFactory division has successfully completed a very important and difficult project which involved digitizing personal notebooks of Jan Hoet (1936 – 2014), an internationally renowned Belgian curator and art critic. We were truly honoured to be entrusted with this project by the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens (MDD) and its Wunderkammer Residence where Jan Hoet’s personal library collection is housed. Jan Hoet is a pivotal figure in the development of contemporary art in Belgium. From his appointment as curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent (1975) to the founding of S.M.A.K. (1999) and MARTa (2005), he fought with fervent dedication for a place where art and the artist can find a home.

“What seemed to us to be a Sisyphean task was finished correctly and very quickly by iGuana. The high resolution images of Jan Hoet’s notebooks allow us to digitally disclose or reproduce them without damaging the originals”, says Rik Vannevel who is responsible for Communications & Social Media at the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens.

iGuana used top-of-the-line digitization equipment for this project (including world-leading, state-of-the-art Phase One camera), calibrated and operated by one of iGuana’s senior experts in cultural heritage digitization, to produce high-resolution images of the highest quality. Working in accordance with the Metamorfoze & FADGI standards, our experts ensure that works of art and other precious originals entrusted to iGuana are digitized in compliance with the highest imaging & preservation standards for cultural, historic and archival content. Jan Hoet’s digitized notebooks can now be reproduced by the museum and/or made accessible in electronic format to the general public and researchers so they can study them without physically touching the originals. The Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens is currently investigating various possibilities.

This particular project was outsourced to iGuana and digitization took place at iGuana’s ArtFactory facility. However, should a customer wish to digitize themselves, our ArtFactory team can offer specialized hardware, assistance and consultancy to ensure an appropriate set-up on customer site and provide all the necessary training to the customer’s personnel, including training on Metamorfoze and other standards.

Image of iGuana's Senior Expert on Cultural Heritage Digitization, FADGI & Metamorfoze Standards at Work in ArtFactory's Dark Room
iGuana’s Senior Expert on Cultural Heritage Digitization, FADGI & Metamorfoze Standards at Work in ArtFactory’s Dark Room

About Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Wunderkammer & Jan Hoet

The Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens is a private foundation recognized by the Flemish Government. As a museum, it makes important modern and contemporary private collections with social relevance publicly accessible. As a contemporary art centre, it aims to play an active role in the international art field. The Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens has recently been joined by The Wunderkammer Residence, a project by artist Hans Op de Beeck realized in collaboration with architect Mo Vandenberghe (studio MOTO). Op de Beeck transformed the former Villa Meander, a villa built in the early 1930s, into a special ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ (combined art object). The building is conceived as a contemporary ‘wunderkammer’ (room of wonders/surprises) that houses the personal library collection of Jan Hoet. The library also includes some 30 Hoet notebooks containing many traces of his travels, exhibitions and contacts with artists (these were the notebooks recently digitized by iGuana).

The Wunderkammer Residence also functions as a residence for artists, curators, researchers and writers with an (inter)national, non-European focus. With this new, autonomous ‘safe haven’, the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens wishes to intensify contact with artists and researchers and (re)activate the Leie region as an historically important place of inspiration for artists.

Jan Hoet (1936 – 2014) is considered to be one of the most important contemporary art directors, curators and critics in Europe.

Jan Hoet made his name in the world of art in the 1970s and 80s as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent and then founder of the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.). Jan Hoet’s most famous projects & exhibitions include Chambres d’Amis (1986) where he invited 50 internationally renowned artists and exhibited in private homes in Ghent, Documenta IX (1992) in Kassel presenting several hundred works by 190 artists from nearly 40 countries, and many more. He was also founfing director of the MARTa Herford museum in Germany.