Every year the Belgian capital buzzes with art events during Art Brussels. Galleries want to present themselves in the best light and put on their most ambitious shows, new art spaces time their launch with the fair, parties and dinners for collectors, gallerists and artists are being hosted throughout the city… here are our highlights of what you shouldn’t miss this week – besides the Art Brussels 2019, of course!
New kid in town: Château Nour
Open since 23 April
When several art spaces team up under one roof, creativity and collaborations usually boom, and visitors are attracted by the possibility to easily discover a number of different projects in one spot. Five Brussels non-profit art spaces, including respected art scene veteran Komplot, opened a common space in the former NOUR hair salon and Albert garden this week. The quintet, which also includes Clovis XV, Mosso, Rectangle and Superdeals, wants to explore collaborative ways of working, providing space for experimental ideas, exhibitions, workshops, residencies, and gardening projects. More here.
Art party: Catclub
Saturday, 27 April
If you still have stamina after all that art fair walk and art world talk, this is where collectors, gallerists and artists meet to let off some steam and put on their dancing shoes. For the 8th time in a row legendary party series Catclub hosts the official Art Brussels after party, this time at the Dynastie Building, a modernist gem constructed for the Expo 58, fittingly located on the so-called “Art mountain” (Mont des Arts) Behind the decks: Timothy Fairplay, Deg, and others.
Off fair: Poppositions 2019
From 25 to 28 April
All major art fairs attract so-called “satellite” or “off-fairs”. In Brussels, many have tried but only one has stayed: Poppositions takes over Le Centre Tour à Plomb-Hageltoren this week for its 8th edition, this time under the timely theme “Capital of Woke”. Over the years, Poppositions has proved to be a highly interesting counterpoint to mainstream art fairs, dealing with questions of artistic agency, self-organisation, cynicism and criticality. Accordingly, it encourages new, experimental and innovative approaches to the art market.
New kid in town II: Baronian Xippas
Open since 4 April
Art world veterans Albert Baronian and Renos Xippas teamed up to launch a new contemporary art gallery in Brussels: Baronian Xippas. It opened earlier this month in the former space of Albert Baronian gallery with two solo exhibitions. The artistic universes of Greek self-taught sculptor Takis and Belgian painter Robert Devriendt are meant to embody Baronian Xippas‘ vision for a new gallery that is “at once bold and ambitious yet grounded in tradition.”
Art walk: Views from the top
Saturday, 27 April, noon to midnight
The Masters students of renowned Brussels art school La Cambre take art out of its usual context, presenting it not in galleries and on art fairs but throughout the city in unlikely spots. Discover young talents and their in situ works spread throughout town, bringing art to bus stops, parking lots, bars, and such. With works Agathe Duperou, Johanna Grivel, and many others. On Saturday, all artists will be present to talk about their work. Details here.
Exhibition: John Armleder at CAB
Opens 23 April
Brussels’ CAB currently has a real treat in store for you: With “Alentour”, influential Swiss artist John Armleder, closely affiliated to the Fluxus movement, brings together pioneers of the Swiss art scene since the 60s, who freely address the abstraction and graphic geometry that originated in Switzerland in the second half of the 20th century. “Alentour” is designed to be experienced as a single immersive installation, a mosaic of artworks conversing with each other.
Meet the artist: Sophie Wettnall at Centrale for Contemporary Art
Saturday, 27 April, 11-12h30
This weekend you have the chance to meet and chat with Belgian artist Sophie Whettnall as well as the authors of a newly published book about her work. It all takes place at Centrale of Contemporary Art, where you can also discover Whettnall’s current exhibition. She works with video, photography, installations and performance, repeatedly making light the focus of her work, analyzing its presence, absence, and passing.
Exhibition: Paul McCarthy at Xavier Hufkens
Opens Wednesday, 24 April, 17-21h00
Paul McCarthy, one of the art world’s most prominent enfant terrible, is known for an oeuvre that is provocative, challenging, and at times disturbing, not shying away from integrating sex, bodily fluids and human orifices into his art. The American provocateur, effortlessly navigating through different genres from performance, photography and film to multimedia installations, sculpture, drawing and painting, consumerism, repeatedly deals with today’s popular culture and our innermost fears and neuroses. Xavier Hufkens presents an ensemble of sculptures, paintings and video work displayed across both gallery spaces. The exhibition comprises works from three of McCarthy’s most important video performance installations of the last two decades.
Exhibition: Pieter Vermeersch at Greta Meert
Opens Wednesday, 24 April, 18-21h00
If your schedule allows it, do make the short trip to Leuven to discover Pieter Vermeersch‘s massive solo exhibition at the M Museum (still on view till 11 August), where his magnetizing works bleed onto the walls of the space and interact with architecture. But if you’re short on time, which will probably be the case, make sure to check out the Kortrijk-born artist’s work at Greta Meert Gallery in Brussels, which currently presents a series of his paintings. Vermeersch’s color gradients are the result of a meticulous and almost mathematical process by which the artist becomes a kind of human printer – blending paint into a smooth and seamless surface he conceals any trace of the labor involved in the making of the painting.
Collection: Frédéric de Goldschmidt presents Maria Kley
From 24 to 28 April
It is not every day that you get the chance to get a glimpse of the collection belonging to one of the country’s most prominent art collectors. During Art Brussels, Frédéric de Goldschmidt invites you to discover “Encounter”, an exhibition presenting the intriguing universe of Tokyo-born, Amsterdam-based artist Maria Kley whose works aim to make human experiences and interpersonal relationships tangible and explore ways to share the passage of time. Kley’s pieces can be understood as “compressed biographies”, a materialisation of the shared time and interaction between the artist and her subject.