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What's on this week: 14-20 April
"One of the most subversive acts ever", Christian Schulte-Loh steps on stage on Tuesday night to challenge the stereotype that "Germans are not funny - at least not on purpose". He will be joined by Rory O’Hanlon, one of the rising stars of Irish comedy. Listen to our interview with Christian here...
18 April 20.00, The Black Sheep, Chaussée de Boondael 8, Ixelles
If you live in Brussels and you've never visited the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, you are missing a great opportunity to see something that exemplifies the word unique. Only open three weeks a year, the greenhouses join the spectacular architecture of Alphonse Balat (Victor Horta's teacher and mentor) with a multitude of plants, some specimens dating back to the opening of the greenhouses in 1895, and views across the royal domain including, if you are visiting at dusk, the Japanese Tower glowing in the distance like a giant lantern. At the centre of the complex, Queen Elizabeth's sculpture studio is an Art Deco marvel.
14 April-5 May, Laeken, €2.50
Celebrated Flemish choreographer Wim Vandekeybus returns with the world premiere of a new work, Mockumentary of a Contemporary Saviour. Set during a far-future apocalypse, it follows a small group of people who seem to have reached a place of safety. Yet, being human, the survivors are constantly at odds with one another, and with the mysterious child who appears to be their saviour. Rather than simple sci-fi, this typically ambitious performance promises a philosophical enquiry into utopia, dystopia and imaginary messiahs. After Brussels, the production goes to Leuven, Hasselt and Bruges.
14-22 April at KVS, Brussels
While the assertion that Brussels is the "new Berlin" isn't fully accepted by everyone, one fact is for sure: Brussels has become a major centre for contemporary art and April drives the point home with many many activities. There are the major fairs: Art Brussels (35th edition), New York Independent (see below) and the coinciding alternative fairs: YIA Art Fair, POPPOSITIONS, and OFF COURSE Young Contemporary Art. Additionally the Weils is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a major exhibition/festival produced in conjunction with Kunstenfestivaldesarts. The new version of the Belgian Art Prize will be awarded on 19 April and the winners of the 2016 Marcel Duchamp Prize will be exhibited in Hangar H18. Finally the MIMA, the ADAM, the CAB, La Central(e), the Vanhaerents Art Collection, the Loge, the Ixelles Museum, the Villa Empain, the Botanique and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts are all showing contemporary art in April. The peak days are 20-23 April and Visit Brussels will be putting on a minibus service between the venues during those four days.
The second edition of the Independent Art Fair in Brussels brings together 70 galleries and other art organisations, including 30 names not present last year. More than 40 artists are making their Belgian solo debuts at the fair. Independent is particularly keen on site-specific projects, such as Marcel Dzama’s The Mask Makers, a group show on the surreal iconography of masks, which brings together artists old and new, from James Ensor to Cindy Sherman. Meanwhile, Flemish artists appearing include Rinus Van de Velde (pictured), Vast Colson and Ghent-based collective Leo Gabin.
19-23 April at Vanderborght Building, Brussels
Holy Trinity Brussels presents its annual Bach Passion on Good Friday, this year featuring the Saint Matthew Passion, a 1727 sacred oratorio written by Johann Sebastian Bach for solo singers, featuring a full orchestra and chorus, with free and sponsored seats available.
14 April 19.00, Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral, Rue Capitaine Crespel 29, Brussels
Annual circus arts festival Hopla! features acrobatics, balancing acts, juggling tricks, trapeze manoeuvres and more.
Until 16 April, Place Sainte-Catherine, Brussels
Comic strip hero Tintin comes to life through train-related works by his creator, Hergé, and original drawings and documents from the artist’s archives.
Closes 16 April, Train World, Place Princesse Elisabeth, Brussels
If your out-of-town guests who visit the Atomium are not tempted by the Atomium ashtrays or other such objects in the gift store, there is now an alternative souvenir available in a special vending machine in the top sphere: Atomium money. Printed by Oberthur, the world's leading money printer, the bills, worth nothing as legal tender, have all the physical characteristics of actual money and are printed with an image of the Atomium on one side and a number of famous world sights on the other. They cost €2.