JEF CORNELIS

TV works

Jef Cornelis (°1941) worked as executor, director and scriptwriter for the VRT, the Dutch-language Belgian public broadcasting corporation, from 1963 until 1998. Over those 35 years Cornelis accomplished an impressive body of work. It comprises over 200 titles and is generally considered as groundbreaking, artistically and cultural-historically.

This website documents the research project about Cornelis’ work. The research investigates three areas that have been as yet uncharted:

  • The dissonant language Jef Cornelis developed for television; the distinctive stylistic characteristics of his body of work; the problem of how to represent art and culture on television – this part considers Cornelis’ work from an image-rhetorical perspective.
    The research topic is: What contribution did the author make in the field of television language? How does Cornelis’ work relate to other European bodies of work?
  • The documentary value of Cornelis’ television films – this part researches Cornelis’ work from a art-historical angle.
    The research topic is: How unique are the images of modern and contemporary art that Jef Cornelis generated? What unique documents can be rediscovered in other European bodies of work of television films?
  • The exceptional circumstances of production under which these television films were realized – this part researches Cornelis’ work from an cultural-sociological angle.
    The subject of research is: Has there been a significant change in the way art and culture were (re)presented on television since the beginning of the sixties up to now, in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe?

Essential part of the research is a discursive programme of lectures, interviews and debates. The texts of the lectures and the transcriptions of the interviews and debates are published online. The visitor of this website can thus follow the research process and its output.

The research is directed by Koen Brams, director of the Jan van Eyck Academie (Maastricht, NL), and Dirk Pültau, editor-in-chief of the art magazine De Witte Raaf (Brussels, BE). The project is facilitated by Argos (Brussels, BE). The films of Jef Cornelis can be viewed in the video rooms at Argos and the Jan van Eyck Academie.