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change of direction

June
1990. Croxhapox has been active for only a few months. Mid April 1990 Frank has joined the group which really isn’t a group because only Hans  is occupying himself with matters. Guido is to busy in his television job. It is Frank who proposes to prospect in a more
thorough and focused manner instead of just fishing in our own pond.

One of the very first artists who are visited by Hans and Frank is Michaël Borremans. MB is at that point in time not yet ready to paint.  He’s making graphical work and drawings with an emphasis on a kind of baroque pomp.  Hans and Frank decide not yet to show the work.
 

The COD Frank envisages causes some oppoisition from Hans. He has misgivings. For example: what’s the use showing work of well known artists? They ARE well known and precisely for that reason not really interesting.  The potential is in the vast hinterland of little known or absolutely unknown artists who get no exposure because the posh circuit offers few or no opportunities for unknown talent.  
From 1991 Hans falls in with the new and adventurous discours. Immediately this COD widens the programme. Croxhapox at that moment has no location and can’t organise exhibitions. All projects are specific and thematic. An idiosyncratic drive and a nervous expansion are characteristic for those times.

Halfway through 1991 an interesting but not always easy balance between the ideas and plans of Hans and Frank dominates crox’ discourse. The ultimate failure of the first COD (croxhapox at
the time probably didn’t have sufficient resources to organise a mega project which could have been the precursor of  Over
the Edges) had little impact on the essential rationale for croxhapox as an art idea. In En Passant (1991) no well known artists, apart from a few exceptions, were programmed and also the Copy Art project (1991-1992) had young talent and breathed anarchy.

The targeted COD, with a.o. projects such as Signos (1992), met with an abrupt lack of interest from the posh scene: famous artists who were invited turned a blind eye. The limitations were a part of the discourse: was it by any measure opportune to present well known
artists?   

COD 2, zomer 1994. From the end of 1992 croxhapox is on hold. Hans has a girlfriend, Kristel. Kristel owns a house and thinks it’s a good idea to restart croxhapox in the basement of Aannemerstraat 54.   A new beginning. The projects follow the line of the first croxhapox stage, in het croxspeak important or famous artists have
no meaning whatsoever, we start at the bottom.  In 1995 Michaël Borremans has his first crox-solo, Dirk Zoete, Thomas Broadbent, Jan De Cock, Ward Denys, Anton Cotteleer, Johan De Wilde and a lot of others follow suit. The difference with the previous period is absolute freedom: there are no names.  Names are fabricated. That’s why no capitals are ever used in invitations and posters. Capitals belong to the posh scene which actually knows hardly anything about art. The COD forced by Hans van Heirseele b rings about a remarkable momentum.

During the Summer of 1995 Frank joins the team once more. It is only a short episode for Frank, the episode of the opening speeches and the concerts. Frank stresses the importance of a lively atmosphere.

At the end of the nineties Croxhapox becomes one of the most remarkable spots in Flanders.

The third COD is in a minor key: Hans leaves Belgium. He’s off to the South.

The fourth COD happens in 2004. By then, Croxhapox has been active for a while in a factory building close to Dampoort.  The artistic management argues for the importance of a more experimental position (the brainbox idea) and the team implodes. At the same time the new government policy on the arts is passed [Kunstendecreet].

At the start of 2005 Joris Van der Borght and Nancy De Vos enter the crox realm. The team is suddenly expanded with a lot of new members.  It is the start of a change towards a more expeerimental way of operating in which a transparant position and communication explicitly get as much attention as quality of form and content. At the end of 2006 the BRAINBOX project results in a masterly climax.