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What’s on this week: 2-8 April

10:01 01/04/2021
Our pick of the best activities in and around Brussels – and online – for the coming week

While the question as to what art really is may never be fully settled, Belgian artist Luc Tuymans and VUB scientist Luc Steels have set out to get an objective idea by investigating how artificial intelligence experiences art – specifically Tuymans’ painting “Secrets”. Bozar hosts an exhibition dedicated to nearly two years of research on the relationship between AI and art. 3 April to 2 May, Rue Ravenstein 23

You won’t be entertaining a crowd at Easter, so you’re free to tune in to Belgium’s biggest cycle race of the year. It’s the 105th edition of the Tour of Flanders on 4 April. Watch it live on La Une or Eén or online in French or Dutch.

An ensemble made up of only trombones? Belgian band Crossbones Trombones will blow you away with their endless ingenuity. Catch their free live show at AB via Facebook or Instagram. And in fact there is accompaniment: Singers Noemie Wolfs (former Hooverphonic) and Johannes Genard (School is Cool) and Balthazar bassist Simon Casier. 5 April 19.00

Film still from Anything for Jackson

Brussels film festival dedicated to horror, fantasy, sci-fi and grindhouse – the fabulous Bifff – is going digital for its 40th anniversary edition. Sure, it’s fun to watch slasher movies in a whooping audience full of Bifff fans, but grabbing your partner and yelling “boo!” during a particularly tense scene is pretty good, too. Choose from nearly 50 features and more than 60 shorts, with intriguing titles such as Cyst, Bloody Hell and Anything for Jackson (pictured). That last one is recommended, btw. 6-18 April

The Escapades music project in Brussels sponsors classical concerts in venues with limited access to culture, such as psychiatric institutions and prisons. The next series of concerts are online but were produced by inmates of Forest prison. They are free, livestreamed straight from the Brussels Conservatory. 1-4 April

Pink Screens Film Festival is putting highlights of its cancelled autumn edition online. The event examining and celebrating all kinds of queer identities plans to be back in full force this coming November, but is filling the gap now with some great titles. Check out the drama Lingua Franca about an undocumented trans woman caring for an elderly woman in New York, or Futur Drei (No Hard Feelings), winner of the Berlin International Film Festival’s Teddy Award for its honest look at intersecting identities in the Iranian-German community. 8-18 April

The drawing "About Binche" by Pierre Alechinsky

One of the founders of the avant-garde movement Cobra, Belgian artist Pierre Alechinsky has created hundreds of works on paper in a career spanning six decades. There are more than 200 drawings, watercolours, etching and lithographs in the exhibition Carta Canta, in which the artist’s playful expressionism captures the imagination time and again. 1 April to 1 August, Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Rue de la Régence 3

Cinematek presents La Belgique pittoresque, a series of short films from the first half of the 20th century that were seemingly simple stories of drama or romance but which also served as tourism marketing around Europe. The screening is free on Facebook and comes with live piano accompaniment. 8 April 15.00

A terribly cool immersive experience awaits you at the Atomium. A French art collective has created ID#2021: Symbol, a hypnotising light and sound installation. Colours, lights, lyrics and notes interact with each other, taking you on a trip through digital poetry. Until spring 2022, Place de l’Atomium 1

Every first Sunday of the month, non-profit organisation Arts & Publics partners with 150 museums in Brussels and Wallonia to offer free entry to visitors. The expansive list is on the Arts & Publics website, but a highlight this month is BelExpo at Tour & Taxis, a family expo focused on climate and the cities of tomorrow. It is in fact closed now until September, but will be open on 4 April. Be the first to see the new reception area and two new thematic installations, one on green space and one on the dream city of tomorrow. 4 April, across Brussels and Wallonia

 One of Napoleon's famous hats

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

Next month marks the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon, one of the most influential figures in the development of a modern Europe. The major and immersive exhibition Napoleon: Beyond the Myth at Liège-Guillemins railway station presents an objective and critical view of the legendary – and controversial – military and political leader. More than 300 objects are on display, originating from private collections and notable institutions in Belgium and abroad. Three scenography spaces provide a fitting backdrop to this fascinating exploration of the man, his life and his conquests. 3 April to 9 January, Gare TGV Liège Guillemins, Liège

Science experience centre Technopolis is opening TikTok Boom! to help kids and teenagers make cool videos out of science experiments they perform on-site. Lie down on a bed of nails, balance a dumbbell on your little finger … choose from one of many options and get tips for how best to film it and post it. The centre in Mechelen has extended its hours for the Easter school holiday period. Permanent, Technologielaan, Mechelen

Photos: Secrets, original painting ©Luc Tuymans, photo by Paul Hester, courtesy Zeno X Gallery Antwerp, algorithmic images and semantic network ©Luc Steels, Studio Stelluti; Pierre Alechinsky, ‘About Binche’ (1967), RMFAB, courtesy the artists, photo Grafisch Buro Lefevre, Heule; Video ©Visual System/Atomium/Facebook; Napoleon ©Bruno Ledoux collection

 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw