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Brussels whips up a storm of contemporary art shows this autumn
Get ready for a blast of art and design as the Belgian capital lives up to its reputation as a creative hotspot, with a swarm of exhibitions and events filling its cultural agenda. The artistic landscape is looking particularly lively with long-anticipated and eclectic solo and group shows all lined up for the season.
Uptown Design/Brussels Limited Edition
Fans of contemporary art and design are in for a treat with the seventh edition of Uptown Design (pictured, above). The Brussels Limited Edition is an inspiring walking tour around the upper areas of the city – with Avenue Louise the hub. Dedicated to discovering the best of Belgian and international design, the annual event attracts visitors from home and abroad as well as discerning amateurs and industry professionals. Founder Kunty Moureau teams up with art, design and Asian culture expert Pascale Dedoncker to inject some new ideas into this special edition.
Until 27 September, multiple venues
Brussels Art Square
Soon after the Second World War, fine art and antique dealers began gathering in the Sablon district in the heart of Brussels. Still today, it is the hub of the market in Belgium, with treasures from centuries past to today waiting to be discovered. This is made easy during the annual Brussels Art Square, an open house where all the galleries are open at once and put on special exhibitions. Pop in and out to your heart’s content, chat with the dealers about their own specialities and maybe even find a painting, sculpture or lamp you cannot live without.
One of the highlights of the autumn cultural calendar is this fascinating look into movement, from windmills to dance crazes, from the asylum to the stage. A co-operation between Bozar in Brussels and the Dr Guislain Museum in Ghent, Danser Brut explores the connections between dance and involuntary or repetitive movements involved in certain physical and psychological disorders. The exhibition includes outsider art, modern and contemporary art (painting by Michaël Borremans, above), archive documents and film clips and is the opening to Bozar’s theme for the coming season: Art & Well-being.
24 September to 10 January
Art Cares Covid/Inside-Out
When the corona crisis closed down exhibitions and galleries in spring, artist Sandrine Morgante and independent curator Maëlle Delaplanche launched Art Cares Covid, an art and social care initiative that came to the aid of fellow artists and the elderly. Via an online sale of works by Belgian artists, they raised funds for non-profit A Travers les Arts! that runs cultural projects for seniors. In recognition of their efforts, The Royal Museums for Fine Arts has given the initiative carte blanche for an exhibition Art Cares Covid/Inside-Out with the 42 participating artists represent various generations (pictured, above).
2 October to 24 January
It Never Ends. John M Armleder & Guests
For the long-awaited exhibition It Never Ends. John M Armleder & Guests, the Swiss artist and performer takes over six floors of Brussels’ canalside KANAL-Centre Pompidou to set up a series of monumental and experimental installations. The new works are placed in dialogue with a series of live events and other exhibitions, which include invitations to other artists. Originally scheduled for spring 2020, the carte blanche event has been extended for a period of seven months, before conversion work starts at the former Citroën garage showroom. The Geneva-based artist is one of the art world’s defining figures of the past half century.
From 24 September to 25 April
Xavier Noiret-Thomé & Henk Visch
An ode to painting and sculpture, that’s just one of the themes of La Centrale for contemporary art’s postponed exhibition Xavier Noiret-Thomé & Henk Visch. Panorama (pictured, above). As part of the city-centre art space’s long-running dialogue series, Brussels-based French artist Xavier Noiret-Thomé has invited Dutch sculptor and draughtsman Henk Visch to show work alongside his own own paintings and collages. Continuing the dialogue motif, other artists, performers and jazz musicians highlight the partnership in intergenerational workshops.
Until 17 January
Comès: Of Shadow and Silence
Didier Comès authored some of the most striking graphic novels in Belgium from the 1980s up to his death seven years ago. His work went from minutely detailed reality to total abstraction , with a healthy dose of mythology. After years of working for a French comic strip magazine, he published the graphic novel Silence, which cemented his fame. The story of a mute boy who roams the Ardennes after the Second World War, it is the centrepiece of the free exhibition Comès: Of Shadow and Silence. The exhibition also features work by Comès’ good friend Hugo Pratt as well as Christophe Chabouté, who was heavily influenced by Comès.
25 September to 3 January
Exhibitions selected in collaboration with Visit.brussels
Photos: Main image; It Never Ends, Schirn-Armleder © SchirnKunsthalle Frankfurt, 2019, photo Norbert Miguletz; Uptown Design-Marie's Corner-Sophie Casier; Michaël Borremans, Doo-Wop 2016 © Courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerpen, photo © Peter Cox