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What’s on this week: 12 to 18 January

13:18 11/01/2024
Escape the big freeze by embracing our pick of cultural activities, from new exhibitions to film screenings and festivals

Visit the Lionel Vinche exhibition at Fondation Blan this month to not only see the Belgian artist’s characteristic (and caricaturistic) style but also to join special events. This weekend is a guided tour, and people who owns works by Vinche will bring them to add to the exhibition for one day only. Art restorer Jessica Coppieters Mols, meanwhile, will take visitors through the steps involved in cleaning up a painting. Live electro-baroque will form as a backdrop on closing day at the end of the month, which also features a sale of Vinche’s sketchbooks that were on view in the exhibition 12-27 January, Boulevard Général Jacques 26 (Ixelles)

(c)Shoshana Walfish, Symbiogenesis, 2022, courtesy Jewish Museum

It cannot be denied: The nude woman has always been – and continues to be – a mainstay of art in all its varied genres. Sometimes figurative, sometimes abstract, sometimes sans arms and head. While many of these representations are masterpieces, the question as to their never-ending abundance still lingers. Brussels-based Canadian painter Shoshana Walfish’s Illusive Bodies explores the idea of woman as object and of objects as female bodies. Until 18 February, Jewish Museum of Belgium, Rue des Minimes 21


With Georgia the focus of the current Europalia arts festival, the country was the natural choice for the first of Bozar’s Our Burning World series. The film and talk programme delves into its complex but fascinating socio-political and historical landscape, shedding light on key challenges as the country aspires to join the European Union. As well as the debate on the need for a free culture, two feature-length documentaries, Self-Portrait Along the Borderline by Anna Dziapshipa and Magic Mountain by Mariam Chachia & Nik Voigt are screened alongside shorts by Salomé Jashi. 13 January 18.30, Rue Ravenstein 23


Step into a world where less speaks volumes. Brussels photography club VIEWFINDERS presents the exhibition MINIMAL, embracing the essence of minimal photography. Stripping away any excess, 16 photographers unite to reveal the pure core of their craft. In this collection, each frame becomes a deliberate choice, void of distractions. No clutter, no confusion - just the simple power of one notion, awaiting the viewer’s contemplation. Free entrance. 14 January 15.00-19.00 (opening) until 9 February, Mon-Fri 10.00-15.00, Brussels Women’s Club, Rue au Bois 509 (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre)

Nenets (c) Domino ProductionsBelgian filmmaker Sergio Ghizzardi travels to the heart of the conflict between nomadic reindeer herders and global industrialisation in Gaz russe, La dernière route des nenets (NENETS VS GAS). It focuses on the contrast between the two worlds and the threat to the Nenets’ ancestral way of life in the arctic tundra of the Yamal Peninsula, the source of 80% of Russia’s gas. Ghizzardi will be present at the documentary’s English-language preview narrated by Martin Swabey. 15 January 19.00, Cinema Aventure, Galerie du Centre

Cycling film festival

If you are an avid cyclist, pick up tickets to the Cycling Film Festival, one long evening of shorts dedicated to people getting around – and performing death-defying acts – on two wheels. You’ll see cyclists crossing countries, taking to dirt bike tracks, executing tricks and surviving crashes. This is entertaining stuff, even if you haven’t ridden a bike in ages. Films are shown in their original language with French subtitles. Until 16 January, across Brussels and Wallonia


Cleaning up outer space of debris is just one initiative of the European Space Agency’s (ESA). Find out more about its ambitious 2030 zero debris goal at a talk by Mathilde Reumaux, EU Relations Coordinator at ESA. The event is organised by the International Study Group, which holds regular talks and visits to local museums and exhibitions. Non-members are welcome and can pay €10 fee at entrance. 15 January 10.30 (doors open 10.00), Château Malou, Allée Pierre Levie 2 (Woluwe-Saint-Lambert)


Brussels’ hidden green spaces and Romanian community take centre stage in Here, the new film by Belgian director Bas Devos, which opens in cinemas this week. Known for his unique framing of the capital in films like Ghost Tropic and Hellhole, Devos has this time crafted a lovely little story about a man struggling with the decision to stay in Brussels or return to his homeland. Along the way he meets a Belgian scientist with Chinese roots. “I was thinking a lot about the ground you live on and the ground you claim,” said Devos in an interview. “What is a sense of belonging and of feeling simply OK with where you are?” From 17 January, across Brussels and Flanders


The inaugural edition of the Brussels Auto Show promises a motoring spectacle that’s geared to enthusiasts rather than buyers. More than 150 companies are in attendance with 400 cars, motorcycles and trucks all on colourful display. For the first time at a car show in Belgium, a 'Car Catwalk' will show off parades of high-performance and luxury supercars and hypercars. A busy programme of events includes a mobility conference and latest technological developments in the auto industry. 17-21 January, Brussels Expo, Place de la Belgique (Heysel)


Wrap up warm and explore this climate expedition aboard the Belgica at BELvue Museum. The Future Incognita Climate Fair, linked to its current exhibition Looking for… The End of the World is a star party with DIY workshops, recycling activities and star gazing, accompanied by hot bowls of soup and other warming dishes plus ‘whaletail’ mocktails. The focus is on showing there is still hope for the planet and that everyone can contribute to a climate-neutral future. €10 entrance, including access to exhibition. 18 January 17.30-22.00, Place des Palais 7


Homeward Bound 1

Whatever the temperature, embrace the outdoors and experience the enchantment of Tervuren’s Arboretum in a Homeward Bound Forest Therapy session. George Biesmans, a trained guide, leads groups in the woodlands to help people reconnect with the natural world. Forest therapy is the practice of slowing down, awakening the senses and listening to your body. 13, 21 & 27 January, 9.00-12.00

(c)Couresty Smells Like Circus

Ghent is gearing up for Smells Like Circus, which takes over several venues across the city. It’s a festival that plays with circus conventions with a fun and surprising programme of circus, performance, music, dance, theatre and talks. This year has a special focus on the figure of the clown. The long and varied clowning tradition continues to play a significant role, from comic entertainment to reflections on society. 16-20 January, across Ghent

Bach Academy (c)Courtesy Concertgebouw

It sounds like a class, but don’t let that scare you off from the Bach Academy Bruges, an annual celebration of the Baroque master. The always eclectic programme features this year the world premiere of pianist Heleen Van Haegenborgh’s Subtle Reflections on Bach, which features projections onstage created live by Lulu Cuyvers (pictured). It’s a programme stuffed with such interesting performances as well as dance, a course on listening and a talk by Bach biographer Michael Maul. 16-21 January, Concertgebouw, ’t Zand 34, Bruges

AFFICHE 2 Ramdam 2024 - ©Charly Desoubry

Tournai Ramdam Festival is now in the top three of francophone cinema festivals in the country. Its progression is all the more surprising as its focus is on films that disturb! Discover for yourself its line-up of Belgian and international movies, from the questioning and moving to the shocking and transgressive. It opens on Friday with the Belgian premiere of British thriller Femme by Sam H Freeman and Ng Choon Ping. A new category in the programme ‘Generation Ramdam’ is centred on youth. 12-22 January, Imagix Tournai, Boulevard Delwart 60

What the Fun

Villers Abbey kicks off the new year with a stand-up programme, What the Fun, spread over four months. Six emerging talents from the world of Belgian francophone comedy are set to take to the stage in the Cistercian abbey’s historic Roman room. 18 January, 15 February, 21 March & 18 April 20.00 (doors open 19.00), Rue de l’Abbaye 55, Villers-la-Ville (Brabant Walloon)

Discover more upcoming events at The Bulletin's events page.

Photos: (main image) Courtesy Fondation Blan ©Shoshana Walfish, Symbiogenesis, 2022, courtesy Jewish Museum; Nenets vs Gas ©Domino Productions; Brussels Auto Show; ©Couresty Smells Like Circus; Bach Academy ©Courtesy Concertgebouw; Ramdam 2024 - ©Charly Desoubry

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw