fbpx Herwig Ilegems - Head to Head - Voorlinden

Herwig Ilegems – Head to Head

8 March - 29 May 2023

In Head to Head, Herwig Ilegems (1962) has a literal tête-à-tête with various animals. He carefully places his forehead on the beak, nose or forehead of an animal. Will it allow this? Ilegems has no idea. He does not want to force the animal, so he first tries to establish a relationship of trust. In the endearing short film, you see how he allows himself to be comforted by an ostrich, rubs noses with an alpaca and tries to avoid the horns of a bull.

Head to Head is a touching spectacle by well-known Flemish actor and director Herwig Ilegems who approaches different animals from a position of equality. He does not show a dominating human being and a tamed (domestic) animal, but – without words – turns the traditional human-animal relationship upside down. With each animal he starts at the same eye level, he seeks eye contact, follows the gaze and copies the behavior. When he notices that the animal is at ease, Ilegems tries to rest his head on the animal’s – and that is not always without risk when dealing with a water buffalo, owl or ostrich.

Herwig Ilegems: ‘As humans, we are getting further and further removed from nature. I noticed that while making Head to Head. With the animals, it felt like I landed in another reality.’


Dutch premiere

The short film Head to Head is one you would like to watch several times to fully absorb its beauty. And that is possible starting February 11 at Voorlinden, where the film will have its Dutch premiere and will be shown continuously for museum visitors. This is Ilegems’ first art project. Best known as an actor, he made his breakthrough with the series Van vlees en bloed (2009) and was recently seen in the Netflix series Twee Zomers (2022). He also directed and co-wrote the Canvas series Duts (2010). Ilegems is less known for his autonomous work. This first art project was purchased by Voorlinden and is thus immediately included in a museum collection.

Director Suzanne Swarts: ‘Ilegems transcends his skill as an actor and throws nothing but himself on stage. Beautiful, moving and admirably well done.’



Credits Head to Head

  • Cast: Herwig Ilegems
  • Dop: Danny Elsen, Arne Focketyn, Maurice Luyten, Gerd Schelfhout
  • Art director: Herwig Ilegems
  • Grading: Frank Temmerman
  • Editing: Arne Focketyn, Herwig Ilegems
  • Sound design: Senjan Jansen
  • Produced by: Herwig Ilegems
  • Written & Directed: Herwig Ilegems

Based on sculptures of Dirk Hendrikx. Special thanks to De Studio and Annemie Van Hove (Panenka)