As the popularity of crowdfunding is growing all over the world, more and more Belgian initiatives try to make use of this new financing model, ranging from print publication The Word Magazine to Belgian bands such as Recorders and Vismets. Brussels off-fair Poppositions, which aims at providing an alternative to the established art market during Art Brussels, also decided to try out this innovative approach to gather funds. Until 20 April you can donate money here to support the project in exchange for various rewards as for example a Poppositions tote bag or a guided private tour. We talked to founder Liv Vaisberg about the whole shebang and why art fairs are for art what porn is for erotica.
Why does Brussels need Poppositions?
Belgium has become a new epicenter for contemporary art with Brussels at its heart. Art Brussels is now a major fair and a good one. Its new curator Katarina Gregos made some welcome curatorial changes and the Brussels Art Week attracts a good crowd. But a high-quality off fair was missing, one with a critical approach questioning the art market. I want to return to the origins of Art Brussels when it was just a gathering of galleries. We don’t want to mimic the real fair and just fill up white cubes – our participants mostly show in-situ works.
How were the previous editions financed?
The first edition was financed with nothing but good will, inventiveness and some pocket money of its team members. The second edition continued on the same path but with a much more ambitious goal: to be as professional as possible. We managed, but still with almost no financial basis. This year does not look much better as we haven’t secured any subsidies yet. But we don’t want to charge participants an exorbitant fee lor make the public pay. Poppositions is for free and I want it to remain this way.
What gave you the idea to do a crowdfunding campaign?
It really fits the collaborative spirit of Poppositions. We have interesting stuff to offer in return and I wanted to support KissKissBankBank‘s Belgian launch at the same time. I hope I can prove to the critics who don’t believe in it that it can work!
What will the money specifically be used for?
The crowdfunding money will enable Poppositions to have a fantastic, meaningful scenography and a decent production. We also need to pay rent for the venue and pay some contributors.
You have a knack for catchy slogans such as “Art fairs are for art what porn is for erotica.” Can you elaborate?
The quote you mention was actually the slogan of our first edition which aimed at illustrating how art fairs are a necessary evil. This year’s slogan is from Bertolt Brecht: “What is the burgling of a bank compared to the founding of a new bank?” It fits very well as we will be occupying the former Dexia Art Center, rumored to be a temporary home for the Belgian modern art collection. We see this year’s Poppositions as an assembly of galleries, off-spaces, platforms, artist-run organisations, you name it…What matters is the quality and the self-organised nature.
You do sound quite critical of the usual art fairs. Are you going to check out Art Brussels anyway?
Of course, I have a lot of respect for Art Brussels and the galleries participating. Galleries need to sell in order to enable artists to survive, that is their raison d’être. And art fairs facilitate this. Plus, they are an amazing way to check out the current programme of some good galleries. But, just like the salon for agriculture, it is crowded, unpleasant, and just too much. As I said before: a necessary evil.
You can visit Poppositions from 24 to 27 April at the Dexia Art Center, Brussels
Support the crowdfunding campaign here