Art Brussels is the capital’s top contemporary art fair
As one of the leading art fairs in the world, Art Brussels is integral to the Belgian capital’s reputation as a contemporary art hotspot.
For its 39th edition, the international event opens its doors to collectors and art enthusiasts at Brussels Expo from 20 to 23 April.
The return to the Belgian exhibition landmark and its 1935-built Halls 5 and 6, follows the recent staging of the fair at the city’s industrial architectural Tour & Taxis site.
Now home within the splendour of the Art Deco exhibition buildings, it welcomes 152 galleries from 32 countries who together showcase some 800 artists. The subjects they tackle range from technology and AI to spirituality and mysticism, alongside pertinent themes of race, identity and gender politics.
The appeal of Art Brussels is that these artists represent both emerging and established talents, while offering a diverse display of art. “As they say, variety is the spice of life, and this also applies to the experience of Art Brussels,” says director Nele Verhaeren.
Over the past few years, the fair has been determined to take a more creative approach to the traditional booth system of showing work. Participating galleries are divided into four sections: Prime, for mid-career and established artists; Discovery, for emerging artists; Rediscovery, for underrepresented and overlooked artists from the 20th century; and Solo, for single artist presentations.
There are 29 galleries hosting Solo presentations to highlight the work of individual artists in the form of mini exhibitions. They include the prolific US artist Jim Dine (Templon Gallery), Gavin Turk (Maruani Mercier), who's a member of the provocative and irreverent cohort ‘Young British Artists’, Belgian Hans Op de Beeck (Ron Mandos), whose work reflects universal questions within society, and the German painter Thilo Heinzmann (Dépendance), who has developed a unique visual language (pictured above). They are all competing for the Solo Prize, with the winning artist receiving €10,000.
The Art Brussels team has also prepared surprise elements for the fair, while ensuring an easy flow for visitors through the different zones of the site. “You can take our baseline literally; Art Brussels 2023 can be experienced from Discovery to Rediscovery or the other way around, as we have two opposite entrances,” says Verhaeren.
The Discovery section includes Swedish contemporary artist Jonas Lund (Office Impart, Berlin), which is notable for being the first show created using ChatGPT, exploring AI as well as its ethics (tapestry by Lund, pictured above).
Another artist in the section, melanie bonajo (Akinci), presents an immersive project, When the body says yes, that they first showed at the Venice Biennale in 2022 (pictured below).
Among the artists in the expanded Rediscovery section is TAPTA (Maurice Verbaet Gallery), an important Belgian sculptor (1926-1997) who engaged in redefining sculpture through the use of threads and textiles (pictured below).
Also attracting satellite fairs and side shows, Art Brussels is an unmissable event for anyone with a passion or even a glancing interest in contemporary art. It’s also one of the most stylish events this spring.
Art Brussels: 20-23 April
Place de la Belgique
Photos: (main image) David Plas; Thilo Heinzmann, O.T., 2022, courtesy the artist and dépendance, Brussels; Nathalie Obadia, Laure Prouvost, The Octopus Body - A sign of God, 2022 Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia; Jonas Lund, The Fat Cats of The Art World, 2023 Tapestry, courtesy the artist and OFFICE IMPART, photo Marjorie Brunet Plaza; Melanie Bonajo, Dutch entry for the Venice Biennale as commissioned by the Mondriaan Fund, photo by Peter Tijhuis; Maurice Verbaet Gallery, Tapta Lieu de transition (maquette) 1987
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