(UN)COMMON VALUES: The contemporary art collection of the National Bank of Belgium is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a joint exhibition with Banco de España

Thanks to the cooperation between two central banks, some masterpieces from the contemporary art collection of Banco de España will be showcased on Belgian soil for the first time ever jointly with some contemporary pieces out of the National Bank of Belgium collection. It will bring together works by 43 contemporary artists to engage in a dialogue about the intrinsic value of art. The backdrop for this exceptional event will be the majestic, modernistic counter hall of the National Bank of Belgium.

After the successful exhibition “Building a Dialogue” (2019) that brought together pieces out of the National Bank of Belgium and the Deutsche Bundesbank’s art collections, the NBB’s contemporary art collection is celebrating its golden jubilee with a new exhibition: (UN)COMMON VALUES. Two Corporate Collections of Contemporary Art.

International, Spanish and Belgian artists

In (UN)COMMON VALUES, we will explore how the artworks reflect the changes in society, mirror the various perceptions of generations and embrace the kaleidoscopic world we live in.

Internationally renowned artists like Wolfgang Tillmans, Helena Almeida, Candida Höfer and Jonathan Monk will be joined by Spanish classics such as Rogelio López Cuenca, Sara Ramo, Daniel García Andùjar and famous Belgian artists among which Michaël Borremans, Peter Buggenhout, Jacqueline Mesmaeker, Jacques Charlier and Emmanuel Van der Auwera.

The exhibition will be inaugurated in May and run throughout the summer. Entrance is free.

The NBB’s collection: more than 2 000 artworks

The interest our exhibition back in 2019 attracted — visited by no less than 7 000 people — confirms the public’s curiosity regarding corporate collections. Created as part of the National Bank of Belgium’s patronage policy, which provides permanent support for artistic creation in Belgium, the collection regularly seeks opportunities to open its doors to the public.

50 years of art collecting is a milestone for the NBB’s art collection. The consequent development of a collection that evolves with its company and over time, is a long-term task. Today, the collection gives an interesting oversight of artistic creation over a period of five decades on Belgian soil with more than 2 000 works of art from exceptionally talented artists.

Counter hall of the National Bank of Belgium (North wing). Photo credit: Tim Van de Velde

Banco de España collection: more than 240 years of patronage

Banco de España has been chosen as NBB’s partner to mark this anniversary. Their impressive collection has been built up through than 240 years of active cultural patronage. Together, we will look back on the last half of a century, in search of our common values.

“This cultural, uncommon exchange between central banks of the Eurosystem is of great value to the National Bank of Belgium”, says NBB Governor Pierre Wunsch. “Our previous exhibition with the Deutsche Bundesbank was well received by art experts, the media and many visitors. Thanks to this unique cooperation with our colleagues of Banco de España, we can now continue the dialogue, by sharing an unparalleled selection of contemporary artworks in the heart of our European capital.”

Governor Pablo Hernández de Cos continues: “After opening the new Exhibition Hall at our own premises in Madrid, a logical way to increase the outreach of our art collection was to embark ourselves in an international initiative. Doing so hand in hand with another central bank such as the National Bank of Belgium ensures a fruitful partnership and a wonderful opportunity for the people of Brussels to enjoy a showcase of the contemporary art collections of both institutions.”

Practical information

Charles-Henry Sommelette Terme, 2015 Charcoal on paper 97 x 145 cm Collection National Bank of Belgium © NBB/Charles-Henry Sommelette Photo credit: Patrick Van den Branden
  • 20 May 2022: official opening with welcoming words by Pierre Wunsch, Governor of the National Bank of Belgium, and Pablo Hernández de Cos, Governor of Banco de España. Invitation only.
  • From 21 May to 18 September 2022 in the NBB’s counter hall, de Berlaimontlaan 3 – 1000 Brussels.
  • Open Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm.
  • Entrance free of charge.
  • Open exceptionally on:
    • 26 and 27 May
    • 21 July
    • 15 August
    • 17 and 18 September
    • 2 and 16 June, 7 July, 25 August and 9 September: Nocturnes from 6 to 10 pm.

Guided tours to be booked by Arkadia (FR): www.arkadia.be and KOREI (NL, EN): www.korei.be

Partners: Embassy of Spain in Belgium | Instituto Cervantes Bruselas | Visit.Brussels

www.nbb-expo.be | www.instagram.com/nbbartcollection | www.coleccion.bde.es

João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva Mercury, 2009 Chromogenic color copying 140 x 180 cm Colección Banco de España © BDE/João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva Photo credit: Fernando Maquieira