Nicole van Goethem (1941-2000) is a draughtswoman, cartoonist and animator. In 1987 she wins the first and only Belgian Oscar with her debut film Een Griekse Tragedie (A Greek Tragedy). van Goethem participates in several animated film productions in the seventies and eighties before making three short animated films: A Greek Tragedy (1985), Vol van Gratie (1987) and L.A.T. (released posthumously in 2002). She wins prizes with Een Griekse Tragedie (A Greek Tragedy, 1985) and makes a name for herself at home and abroad. She works on commission and provides socially critical but often humorous illustrations for numerous books, magazines and advertising campaigns. Nicole van Goethem has a preference for initiatives based on humanistic ideas and explores themes and issues such as human rights, the pension system and the role of women in society.

NICOLE VAN GOETHEM - Drawings, Animation and an Oscar

(c)Nicole Van Goethem, 'Een Griekse Tragedie', 1984 - Foto: Jacques Campens
25 September - 24 January 2021
M HKA, Antwerpen

Nicole van Goethem (1941-2000), sketch artist, cartoonist and animator, is the only Belgian to ever win an Oscar; in 1986, she won the prestigious award for her short film Een Griekse tragedie (A Greek Tragedy). In this film, infused with gentle humour, van Goethem expresses understanding for the weaknesses of mankind: three caryatids have been supporting a temple for centuries and are doing everything possible to keep the building stable, but the crumbling structure makes their work increasingly meaningless. Aside from the recognition for Een Griekse tragedie, Nicole van Goethem has won numerous other prizes. Vol van gratie (Full of Grace) was released in 1986, and was immediately nominated for the Golden Palm for best short film at the Cannes Film Festival. Her latest animated film, L.A.T., was finalised two years after her death by her partner Rudi Renson.  

Engaging with themes such as feminism, activism, social security, pensions and children's rights, van Goethems' work is socially critical and humorous. Yet even twenty years after her death, her artistic practice remains largely unknown to the general public. 

The exhibition presents a selection from the donation of Sonia Renson. It is her wish to find a permanent destination for the archive that she has inherited through her brother Rudi Renson, van Goethem's partner. The donation includes approximately three hundred framed drawings, designs, original drawings on cellophane, personal items, publications, clippings, visual footage (films and videos) and cartoons. The Oscar statuette that Nicole van Goethem won in 1986 is on loan from the producer for the exhibition. 

A programme of her short films and interviews will be compiled in collaboration with De Cinema.  

Nicole van Goethem - Drawings, animation and an Oscar is a collaboration between the M HKA, Vera Claes (Zij-kant), Josse Van Steenberge (honorary rector UAntwerp) and RoSa (Centre of Expertise, Library and Archives for Gender Equality and Feminism).