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What's on this week: 11-17 October
You may have never heard of Griffo but his work is well worth discovering in a current exhibition at the Comic Book Museum entitled Signed Griffo. A graduate of the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts, he travelled the world, doing very well as an advertising artist. He then returned to Belgium in 1980 and gave up advertising to devote himself full-time to comics. His style is realism, inspired by the French artists Moebius, Tardi and Bilal. The quality of his art made him an instant hit with many of the top comics scriptwriters who jumped to work with him.
Until 24 November
The Royal Library of Belgium has a new name, KBR, and is creating a new museum within its walls which will display 300 of the priceless illuminated manuscripts that the Dukes of Burgundy collected in the 15th century and for which they created the library in the first place. In the meantime, the Palace of Charles of Lorraine (an 18th-century marvel which is part of the KBR complex) will be the temporary exhibition space and in honor of the 450th anniversary of Bruegel’s death will display the library’s complete collection (the only complete collection) of Bruegel’s prints. In his lifetime he was more famous for his prints than for his paintings. This is a must-see exhibition because once it's over the prints will go back into the vaults.
15 October-16 February
The other major Bruegel exhibition of the autumn is Back to Bruegel at the Halle Gate. A unique combination of low- and high-tech, the exhibition includes objects to handle, touch and smell as well as cutting-edge virtual reality that will immerse the visitor in Bruegel’s paintings. On the wall walk at the top of the gate, you can enjoy the magnificent view as it is today, but also, with high-tech binoculars you can experience a virtual image of the neighbourhood and the surrounding countryside in Breugel’s time. After the visit, children can enjoy an outdoor playground complete with castle, medieval village and sandpit.
From 18 October
This weekend is the last three days of the Francofaune festival, but there’s still plenty to enjoy. The festival - which exists to protect “musical biodiversity” - takes place in 20 venues in Brussels that range from the established major venues such as Beursschouwburg and Botanique to intimate venues such as Chaff and Jardin de ma Soeur. They want no part of cookie cutter music or comfort zones; instead they promote unexpected combinations: Belgian hip-hop, Québec folk, or Swiss electro-pop, to mention just a few. They give the lion’s share of the programming to emerging groups while also featuring some pillars of la chanson française.
The Accessible Art Fair brings together artists and the public. Founded in 2006, its mission is to make quality artists accessible to the public and the public accessible to the artists. By bringing undiscovered art and artists into the public eye, the fair is a platform that creates new relationships that benefit both the purchaser and the creator.
The two biggest icons of surrealism, Salvador Dalí and Rene Magritte, meet in this highlight of Brussels’ 2019-20 arts season. For the first time, a large number of works will be brought together to show how the pair saw – and influenced – each other. In 1929, Magritte spent a fateful month at Dalí’s home in Cadaqués. The Surrealist movement really took off soon after, and the artists’ reputations were forever sealed. The exhibition in the Fine Arts Museums includes paintings, sculptures and film as well as photographs of the pair and archive materials.
11 October-9 February
Jean-Baptiste André and Robin Leo are the circus arts duo André Leo and they are presenting the premiere of their latest Cyr Wheel spectacle 125 BPM on Tuesday and Wednesday only this week, at Théatre Marni. A virtuoso performance.
If you would like to discover the port of Brussels from the water, the Water Bus will be operating through the end of the month before wrapping this year’s season. You’ll get views of historic bridges, new waterside projects, the world of navigation and harbour life. And you can bring your bike if you want to go one way on the boat and return via bike paths. You can get on or off at any of five stops.
October is all about fashion and trends in Brussels. This weekend it’s Brussels Fashion Days, an annual gathering of fashion designers, fashion lovers and fashionistas. For this eighth edition there will of course be fashion shows, a pop-up store with Belgian creations, DIY workshops (sewing, production of accessories, beauty bars, live performances) and a fashion party, but this year’s highlight is the International Fashion Show on Saturday night.
Crossroads is a show that wants you to look at the Dark Ages (300AD to 1000AD) in a new light, so to speak. For this exhibition, the Early Middle Ages were not dark but a fertile era in which the Avars, the Franks, the Merovingians, the Byzantines, the Egyptians and the Vikings crossed each other’s paths to create a time of change. A period of dynamic trade and commerce, it has left behind beautiful objects and a wide variety of these exceptional objects make up this exhibition.
Until 29 March, the Art & History Museum
My Absolute Darling, about a young girl's struggle to become herself and break free from an abusive relationship with her father, won immediate praise from critics and became a US best-seller. American writer Gabriel Tallent is in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss his debut novel, eight years in the making.
16 October, 19.00, Tropismes, Galerie des Princes 11
Mega Vino, the largest wine fair in the country hits Brussels Expo, with tastings, workshops and buying direct from the vineyard.
Internationally acclaimed Irish pianist Míċeál O’Rourke performs a recital next Thursday at the Royal Conservatory in aid of the Association Femmes d’Europe, whose mission is to organise cultural events and finance small-scale humanitarian projects for the benefit of women and children in Europe and beyond.
17 October, 19.00
Charleroi is hosting the first-ever solo exhibition in Belgium of the work of Teresa Margolles, one of Mexico’s most influential contemporary artists. Her work is firmly rooted in the realities of her home town, Culiacán, one of the centres of the country’s infamous drug wars. Having first trained as a forensic scientist, Margolles has had access to what she sees as the mirror of her society: the morgue. Her photography, video and installations are a comment on social violence and death and the toll they take on the living. Amid all of this are site-specific interventions by Brussels-based artist Marc Buchy on surveillance and its constant gaze.
Until 5 January, BPS22
It’s always a treat to go the Ghent and this weekend it’s especially true with Gent Glas’s Glass Pumpkin Patch. Gent Glas is a unique public glass studio with café and gallery. Their team of international glassmakers come together each week to introduce the public to glassmaking. On Sunday they will be holding their first fundraising event to benefit their educational programming. Available will be more than 200 pumpkins in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours as well as specials on their regular hand-made items. There will also be live glassmaking demonstrations.
13 October, from 12.00
The International Nature Festival marks its 25th anniversary. This Namur festival is dedicated to wildlife film and photography, including talks and activities