An exhibition organized by Dr. Jan Hoet and Manfred Feith-Umbehr. Fourteen artists, representing six European countries, took part in the 17th International Hanse Convention. Each participating artist was given access to a cube of dimensions 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5m. The cubes made of plywood, with a glass front, resembled cargo boxes. These crate-like art boxes were placed in and around the town of Lippstadt.


Magnus cube contained a sonar image of a shipwreck found off the coast of Gotland. The vessel is made of wood. It is also believed to be ancient. No diver has been down to it.



Art in the chest is a perfect combination. Not only because it makes clear that there is a sender who made something for the addressee, but also because it makes clear how vulnerable art is.

Art is always liable to attack. However accomplished a work of art may be, there is always a contraposition. There is always something to object to, something to criticize. From the very moment the artist presents his work to the public, this work has to hold its own. Even Raphael was not always praised. We therefore know today that relative objectivity in respect of present times can be reached only in future times.

A bit of this objectification is inherent to the chests in which the Hanse Art is presented. They have us keep the distance that is necessary to gain the respect for the artist’s  invention and position. Today’s art is always a subjective judgement on our society and culture. Today’s artists are seldom part of an artists´ association. They all come forward with their own positions individually. Doing so, they make use of the possibilities opened by the freedom of the art to pass judgement on the society in a way that is not possible for every member of that community. Such judgements, although observing tolerated limits, often give us a feeling of being under attack and observation. Something originally intended as communication is often enough perceived as a provocation. Art therefore always benefits from a protective frame such as is present in a museum. So, since communication, understood as an exchange that is to help us in our personal development, is always an element of art in this sense, the exchange of the chests between the cities is so important. This project combines it all: art, development, exchange and communication. These elements form a link between today’s art and all that has shaped the Hanseatic League.

Jan Hoet