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Our weekly selection of cultural things to do in Belgium: An exhibition in Ostend, an urban arts festival in Brussels, young photography talents in Antwerp, and more. Be safe, bring a mask, see you there!

Detours festival

From 23 to 26 September Brussels

This week sees the 11th edition of International Urban Arts Festival Detours, which aspires to bring theatre to the streets and the streets into the theatre. At the crossroads between hip-hop and contemporary dance, it offers a new perspective on urban arts, manifesting in an interdisciplinary program comprising urban dance, music, performances and street art. Check out the plentiful program here

Exhibition: John Armleder at Kanal Pompidou

Opens Thursday, 24 September Brussels

The term exhibition does not suffice to describe this ambitious art spectacle renowned Swiss artist John Armleder has created across the six floors of the former Citroën showrooms. For no less than seven months, the performance artist, painter, sculptor, critic, gallerist and curator, who was heavily involved with the Fluxus movement in the 1960s and 1970s, will take over Kanal Pompidou with It Never Ends, an extensive, interdisciplinary program directed at all kinds of audiences. Visitors can dive into Armleder’s own oeuvre, discover the works of the many artists he invited, attend weekly events and performances, spend time at the experimental library, participate in printing workshops, hang out in the café next to a gigantic installation by Charlemagne Palestine, …  Worth a mention: a big part of the ambitious project is accessible for free seven days a week, a testament to openness and inclusiveness.

Contemporary design market at Tour & Taxis

26 and 27 September Brussels

As every autumn, annual festival Design September spreads through Brussels with over 100 events, from lectures and open studios to awards ceremonies and an an Arts & Crafts tour, offering a great window into the contemporary design world and its current tendencies while shining a light on Belgian and international designers. One highlight is the second edition of the Contemporary Design Market at Tour & Taxis, an initiative promoting the support of local design and craftsmanship. It’s a great opportunity to discover the best of Belgium’s contemporary design scene across all disciplines, from rising talents to established names.

Exhibition: Nothing For Free at PI: Pleasure Island

Opens Saturday, 26 September Ostend

We’re always happy to come across art initiatives outside the country’s artistic epicenters. One of them is PI:Pleasure Island, an artist-run space in Belgian coastal town Ostend. This weekend as well as the next you can discover the group show “Nothing For Free” which seeks to juxtapose different visions to create a wide discourse, focusing on the idea that thinking and its subsequent reality rely on a continuous dialogue. The exhibition brings together works by Juan Pablo Plazas, Nikolaas Demoen, Noureddine Ezarraf, Deveny Faruque, Pommelien Koolen, Remie Vanderhaegen, Emile Van Helleputte and Aaron Daem.

Talent watch: Blume! Masters Expo 2020 at FOMU

From 24 to 27 September Antwerp

Teo Becher

Graduation show season continues: this week we recommend the commencement exhibition by the photography master students at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. It’s titled “Blume!” (meaning flower in German) and might give you a few hints on the future of contemporary photography. With works by Elias AsselberghFabien Silvestre Suzor, Frederic Pels, Kaat Somers, Teo Becher, and many others.

Exhibition: Stephan Balkenhol at Keteleer Gallery

Runs until 15 November Antwerp

Antwerp’s Keteleer gallery is currently presenting its first sholo show of German artist Stefan Balkenhol in an exceptional location: the Bremdonckhoeve in Brasschaat, one of the oldest buildings in the Antwerp region. It has been used as a residence, stable and farm since the 14th century and still features the original beam structure. A unique and intimate backdrop to Balkenhol’s painted figurative sculptures, often depicting everyday people. He uses a variety of woods, crafting each work from a single block.

Cover photo Ulrike Biets

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