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Culture beat – September 26

17:38 26/09/2013
Mexican art, cinema from a female perspective, Brazilian electroclash, space in art and... possibly the finest comics artist Belgian ever had.

Mexico City-born artist Ana Fuentes  has, perhaps inevitably, been described by some critics as the "new Frida Kahlo". Well, there’s nothing quite like lumping artists together on the basis of their gender and nationality, is there? Fuentes started painting at the age of five, fell in love with the Flemish Primitives and soon realised she felt most comfortable and inspired when painting members – especially children – of her own family, and she has never looked back since. This new exhibition, at the Théâtre National, is “a journey into passion and longing, the human heart, my own heart - Into a great, infinite histoire de famille.” It runs until October 6 and is not to be missed.

How quickly times change, how quickly fads pass. Seven years ago, all the money in the Benelux wouldn't have got you a ticket for Cansei de Ser Sexy, better known as CSS. The all-female Brazilian outfit was officially the coolest band in the world, thanks largely to two killer electroclash singles: Alala and Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above. Obviously, being on Sub Pop label only added to the band’s value. Four albums in, Lovefoxx’s troops have long proved that they no one-trick pony, no exotic curio. And ironically, all of a sudden, tickets for their gigs are easily available. Go figure. Their new LP, Planta, produced by man-of-the-moment David Sitek (of TV On The Radio fame), is musically more diverse, but floor fillers such as Teenage Tiger Cat and Honey prove that the CSS haven’t lost their original touch. At the Botanique on Sunday.

Let us essay a bold statement:  Belgian comics artist Maurice Tillieux is, along with André Franquin, the finest exponent of bande dessinée Belgium has ever had. But, seeing as his books haven’t been turned into Hollywood blockbusters or animated series, hardly anyone outside French-speaking European countries and Quebec has heard of him or his oeuvre. The Champaka gallery presents 48 original plates of Tillieux’s finest series, Marc Jaguar and, especially, Gil Jourdan.

Inspired by the 2010 Compostela Declaration, a collective statement calling for an end to gender bias in the boy’s club that is the European audiovisual sector, the organisers of Dames Draaien put together an annual programme celebrating women’s contributions to the field, here in Brussels and worldwide. Indeed, some of this year’s cinema comes from as far afield as Iceland, India, Georgia and China. Some two dozen shorts, features and documentaries are screened across four days. Special events include Q&A sessions with the directors, after-parties, a student film prize, a master class with Belgian producer Arlette Zylberberg and a retrospective of the work of late Swiss video pioneer Carole Roussopoulos. September 26-29

Gene Roddenberry was right, in a sense: space is the final frontier. No, De Markten’s current Transformation exhibition doesn’t follow the crew of the Starship Enterprise where no man has gone before, but rather explores the spaces in which we live and work every day. Six contemporary Flemish and international artists present new work that explores space from different angles. Swiss painter Niele Toroni provides the theoretical frame by applying French philosopher Roland Barthes’ concept of the pure “zero degree” of expression. Flemish artist Gertjan Bisschop explores the abstract geometry of space. Paul Gees of East Flanders plays with two of the basic raw materials used to create and divide human space: wood and stone. Appropriately enough, this exhibition can’t be contained by the space of the gallery, and encompasses installations in several Brussels metro stations (with guided tour on October 19). Until 27 October.

Outside Brussels

Antwerp’s Eilandje, once a busy port zone and now a trendy urban neighbourhood, is the site of the inaugural edition of the Eilandfestival. The event coincides with the grand opening of the Red Star Line Museum so the theme is what was on the mind of the passenger boats’ emigrants: “The Pursuit of Happiness.” Literature, performance and gastronomy are the festival’s triple focus. Cult American author Donna Tartt presents her new novel The Goldfinch. Flemish musician and filmmaker Tom Barman discusses his latest book and his grandfather, who was a captain on the Red Star Line. Dutch author Tommy Wieringa and others read from their work. Theatremaker Bart Van Nuffelen and his troupe MartHa!tentatief perform a special piece Dinska Bronska inspired by the Red Star Line’s transatlantic crossing. Without forgetting the nosh: American burgers, Japanese yakitori, French wine and more. September 28-29, ’t Eilandje, Antwerp 

Written by PM Doutreligne and Georgio Valentino