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45 gallery exhibitions spread out over the entire city, a rich off-program including artist-run spaces, museums, and more, plus performances, book launches, and drinks… the agenda of Brussels Gallery Weekend’s 16th edition is jam-packed. Here’s a little guide to lead the way through the jungle and help you kick off the art season with a bang!

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Exhibition: Katja Seib at dépendance

Behind the punny title  “The Softest Pain is The Pain au Chocolat” hides the fascinating work of German artist Katja Seib, a painting graduate from the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie. In her slightly surrealist creations rich with narrative elements and symbolism, Seib skillfully blends reality and illusion. Her universe, on view at dépendance in Brussels’ Dansaert area, includes mainly human subjects, exploring themes such as memory and human psychology. On view until 28 October.

Art walks: Guided neighbourhood tours

One characteristic of the Brussels art scene is that it doesn’t have an epicentre. Galleries and art spaces are spread out throughout the entire city, from Ixelles to Molenbeek. Brussels Gallery Weekend now introduces a concept that lets you discover the many local art hubs on foot, guided by an art expert. Each tour lasts about two hours, and you can choose between Saint Gilles, the Chatelain area, and many others. Book your spot here.

Talent watch: Generation Brussels at D’leteren

“Generation Brussels” puts the spotlight on young, emerging artists who have two things in common: They’re all based in the Belgian capital and aren’t represented by commercial galleries yet. Curated by Belgian art critic and curator Sam Steverlynck, “Cet obscur objet du désir” is inspired by the eponymous movie by  celebrated Spanish-Mexican filmmaker Luis Buñuel. The works exhibited by eight up-and-coming artists share his penchant for ambivalence, surrealism and the unsettling. 

Exhibition: Hoda Kashiha at Nathalie Obadia

Produced in her studio on the outskirts of Tehran, Hoda Kashiha‘s paintings captivate with an intriguing blend of the tragic and the comical, personal experiences, and art historical references from cubism to American pop art. Having studied in both Tehran and Boston, the Iranian artist has a unique perspective, addresses serious topics such as the sociopolitical situation in her native Iran and related questions about oppression, gender and identity. Another world is waiting for us runs until 21 October. 

Meet the artist: Shen Özdemir at Art et Marges

On Sunday, 10 September, at 14h00, Belgian-Turkish artist Shen Özdemir, whom we recently interviewed here, invites you to get to know her colorful, magnetic and playful universe at Brussels’ Art et Marges Museum. She recently won the international art prize of the city of Tournai, was part of last year’s Generation Brussels exhibition, and currently also exhibits at Brussels art space Sterput. Özdemir’s practice revolves around the Karnavalo tradition, and ranges from sculptures to textile art and performance. Entrance is free, but you should sign up here.

Exhibition: Shaina McCoy at Stems Gallery

Minnesota-born artist Shaina McCoy currently presents her intriguing, dreamy paintings based on her family’s photo archive at Brussels’ Stems Gallery. Although facial features are replaced by dynamic, richly textured brushstrokes, McCoy’s works are full of intimacy, activating one’s own memory while shining a light on the often-overlooked complexity of Black experiences. 

New kid on the block: KIN

“The Desert Turned to Glass” is the inaugural exhibition of freshly arrived contemporary art gallery KIN, showcasing the work of Canadian artist Charles Stankievech. In a sort of cosmic meditation, Stankievech blends science fiction speculation and contemporary theories on the origin of life, consciousness, and art. Gallery founder Nicolaus Schafhausen about choosing the Belgian capital for his project: “Brussels and its art venues have never rested on their laurels. Change has always been dynamic (…) Finding a place on this moving platform is certainly not an easy task for artists, but it remains a very exciting one.”

Exhibition: Misheck Masamvu at Bernier / Eliades

The richly textured paintings blurring the boundaries between abstraction and figuration by pioneering Zimbabwe artist Misheck Masamvu are currently on view at Greek gallery Bernier/Eliades. In his work,  which has been exhibited at the 2011 Venice Biennale, he tackles the socio-political realities of his home country and raises the question of how to preserve dignity in a state of political turmoil.

Arty party: Closing drinks

There’s not much we know about the Brussels Gallery Weekend’s closing drinks except  that they will be taking place  from 17-19h00 at Rue du Prévot 82 in the city’s charming Ixelles neighbourhood near the event’s headquarters. If you’re looking for more opportunities to hang and drink with the arty crowd, consider collecting the 5 different limited edition BGW stickers created by artists such as Eric Croes or Emma Larsson. If you get your hands on all five, the bars Tigre and CLAIR/OBSCUR will offer you a free drink.

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