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What’s on this week: 2 to 8 February

Jef Geys at WIELS contemporary art center Brussels
12:07 01/02/2024
It’s a cultural pick ‘n’ mix with festivals of all stripes, new art shows, international contemporary dance and an electronica extravaganza among the line-up …

Until his death a few years ago, Jef Geys was one of Belgium’s most famous contemporary artists. Working in every conceivable genre and categorising almost everything he did as artistic practice, his work has always been impossible to summarise. So museums work with emerging themes, as does contemporary art centre Wiels. The exhibition You don’t See What You Think You See looks at Geys’s approach to perceptions as based on assumptions, beliefs and habits. See it for free on the 1 February opening night, which includes a DJ set. 2 February to 19 May, Wiels, Avenue Van Volxem 354 (Forest)


Bozar and the Belgian National Orchestra join forces to stage the Prokofiev Festival. It’s their third collaboration focusing on a virtuoso Russian composer-pianist following previous editions dedicated to Shostakovich and Rachmaninov. The programme is dedicated to a lesser-known period in Prokofiev's creative life, his foreign travels from 1918 to 1936. It includes the dramatic Symphony No 6 performed by the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Peter and the Wolf played by La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra and the electronic sounds of his grandson, Gabriel Prokofiev. Until 4 February, Rue Ravenstein 23

Schiev festival

Schiev festival is on a mission to make avant-garde electronic pop music. For its 9th edition, discover an eclectic line-up of innovative Belgian and international projects in a relaxed atmosphere. The Brussels event is part of a network of 13 European festivals, Shape+, all offering emerging artists the opportunity to become more visible in the industry. And if you wondered about the title, schiev is Brusseleir for something that’s crooked, distorted or misshaped! Sunday’s line-up and all talks are free, but for the other concerts, it’s best to snap up tickets now. 2-4 February, Beursschouwburg, Rue Auguste Orts 11-13


MIMA’s new group show POPCORN is a colourful, offbeat and dreamlike picture of society accompanied by a healthy Belgian dose of surrealism. Featuring 15 contemporary artists, the exhibition is designed to be a perfect winter antidote, providing a visual shock and a stimulating snackable experience. As ever, admission is free to this canalside museum dedicated to ground-breaking and iconoclastic art. 2 February to 26 May, Quai du Hainaut 39-41, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean

Lord of the Riings

“There’s some good in this world, Mr Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.” We at The Bulletin know a good thing when we see it, and the Lord of the Rings film marathon at Kinepolis is one! The cinema chain did this in December, and it was so popular, they are repeating it. Spend 12 hours with The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, interspersed with snack breaks and exploring your goodie bag. It’s the marathon to rule them all. 3 February, Brussels & other Kinepolis cinemas in Belgium

Flagey piano

Flagey Piano Days are well underway with star pianist Anna Vinnitskaya - winner of Belgium’s prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition - as guest curator. The varied programme features internationally renowned talents and audiences will be bowled over by classical works by Prokofiev and Rachmaninov, jazz and South African sounds, as well as contemporary compositions. Pictured: Zubin Kanga performs Shiva Feshareki, complementing his piano playing with immersive electronics and ambisonic sounds. Until 11 February, Flagey, Place Sainte-Croix (Ixelles)


Morocco is the guest country at the Salon des Vacances this weekend. Each year, the winter event inspires thousands to discover a new holiday destination or activity. Whether you’re looking for a sporting adventure, a classic sun & sea break or a camping trip at home or abroad, head to Brussels Expo for some travel tips. Another of the fair’s themes for the 65th edition is accommodation, from offbeat and luxury to glamping, gîtes and cruises. Until 4 February, Place de la Belgique 1 (Laeken)


The Brussels Vintage Market enjoys its monthly outing on Sunday, selling mostly clothes and shoes but also vinyl, dishes, toys, jewellery and retro design items. The event also enjoys a party atmosphere, with food trucks, drinks and DJs. It’s hosted by pop-up arts venue Reset, located in the former Dexia bank headquarters. 4 February, Rue de Ligne 8


The Affordable Art Fair Brussels is one of the winter’s cultural highlights. Offering a snapshot of the contemporary art scene, the event once again boasts a large and highly diverse selection of works. For its 15th edition, thousands of artworks by emerging and established artists are on display, represented by more than 85 Belgian and international galleries. This year, the Spotlight section presents contemporary artists who use uncommon materials in their art practice; some 25 artists employ denim fabric, old books, recycled plastic bottles and an array of other unconventional materials. 7-11 February, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86C


Chinese and Brussels dancers share the stage in Double Bill: Random Goodbyes + Echoes, a unique contemporary dance programme. KVS’s Moya Michael & Jin Xing Dance Theatre present Echoes, a 2013 work for seven female dancers who explore their individual stories to a sound arrangement by Anyal Zhang. It’s followed by the new collaboration between Michael, David Hernandez and the Shanghai dance theatre, a European première that opens a window onto a landscape of intermingling lives and cultures. 7-8 February 20.00, KVS Bol, Rue de Laeken 146

EuropaVox2Naturally one of the seven stops of the Europavox Festival is in the capital of Europe. Don’t miss this annual showcase of some of the best new(ish) bands and solo artists from the continent. Many of them are well known in their own countries – from Spain to Finland to Bulgaria – but haven’t been discovered by the rest of the continent yet. Ostensibly a mix of musical genres, it’s really all about pop, rock and hip-hop –  in all their varied forms. A fantastic two days at Botanique. 8-9 February, Rue Royale 236 (Saint-Josse)


Proving the country’s prowess in contemporary performance is this new cross-community festival It Takes a City. Four Dutch-speaking and four-French-speaking groups come together to display young talent and their ability to straddle linguistic, cultural and reginal boundaries. On the programme are a diverse selection of works and multicultural artists, including the German Staatstheatre (pictured). The biennial event includes renowned theatre organisations in the city such as Les Halles de Schaerbeek , Beursschouwburg, Atelier 210 and Kaaitheater. 8 to 17 February, multiple venues

Flatlay_of_James_Bond_watch,_gun,_and_sunglasses, wikimedia commons

Book now: Brussels’ 007 Dimension Amid espionage scandals and revelations about Brussels being a nest of foreign spies, Belgian investigative journalist Alexandro Legein talks about security in the international institutions and the danger presented by social media as well as spying. The event is organised by the International Study Group (ISG), which holds regular talks and visits to local museums and exhibitions. Non-members are welcome and can pay €10 fee at the entrance. 12 February 10.30 (doors open 10.00), Château Malou, Allée Pierre Levie 2 (Woluwe-Saint-Lambert)


Ghent Light Festival

All hail the Ghent Light Festival, with its seven-kilometre trail of some of earth’s most astounding light installations. They run from the magical to the artistic to the blinding, all freely accessible. You can start and finish wherever you like, but be aware that this is a one-way trail due to the massive crowds. People drive in from all over for this, so arrive in the city early if you need to park. Until 4 February 19.00-midnight, across Ghent

Chinese New Year (c)Joe Choi, Werkplaats Immaterial Erfgoed

The biggest and brightest Chinese New Year in Belgium is in Antwerp’s Chinatown, with the lion dance parade, music, food, martial arts demonstrations and workshops on Chinese herbs and calligraphy. In the days before and after the big 10 February event are more activities, like the exhibition Legends of Liondance, Hong Kong Movie Night and the concert Avant-garde China. Some events require advance booking. 8-11 February, Permeke Library & across Chinatown

Youth Film Fest (c) Isaac Ponseele

The Youth Film Festival lives up to its name with not only dozens of films aimed at ages one to 18 but also gaming, VR cinema and cool workshops like camera techniques, podcasting and identifying different types of animation. There is also an inflatable cinema this year for a bit of extra fun. The festival’s homebase is in Antwerp, but there are film screenings and workshops in other Flemish cities. Activities will be in Dutch, but the festival’s friendly staff are multi-lingual, of course. 4-18 February, Across Flanders


The Confluent Jazz festival is committed to showcasing a diversity of jazz styles and staging performances for a  diverse audience. For its 7th edition, it is partnering with respected and renowned jazz and musical platforms (Lundis d’Hortense, Jazz Tour, Jeunesses Musicales) as well as the Philharmonic de Namur orchestra. Audiences can expect a captivating and eclectic programme designed to win over jazz afficionados as well as newcomers to jazz. It’s hosted by the Walloon capital’s Le Delta arts centre. Pictured: Paard, performing with Lara Rosseel 8 February in celebration of 30 years of Werf records. 6-11 February, Avenue Fernand Golenvaux 18, Namur


Book now L’Amour est dan le musée Celebrate the day of love surrounded by contemporary art! That’s the proposition of Mudia, the museum that recounts the history of art in a playful way. Follow the Cupid arrows to discover how the universal theme of love has inspired artists. The guided tour – designed for couples, solo visitors or groups – concludes in the cosy Mudia café with a free celebratory drink. Bonus: there’s a childminding service available for parents. If you’re not free on St Valentine’s day, a special booklet with games and challenges is offered for visits from 14 to 18 February. 14 February 15.00, Place de l’Esro 61, Redu (Luxembourg province)

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

Photos: (main image) Jef Geys Mu.ZEE Oostende Vlaamse Gemeenschap, photo Cedric Verhelst; Prokofiev Festival ©Audrey Guttman; Mima Popcorn newsletter affiche; courtesy Salon des vacances; courtesy AAF; Rosie Sommers Micha Goldberg German Staatstheater ©Michiel Devijver, 1Siham Bouzerda; ISG talk Flatlay of James Bond watch, gun, and sunglasses, wikimedia commons©Wikimedia Commons; Chinese New Year ©Joe Choi, Werkplaats Immaterial Erfgoed; Youth Film Fest ©Isaac Ponseele; Confluent Jazz Paard-Rosseel; courtesy Mudia

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw