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What’s on this week: 23-29 April

13:35 22/04/2021
Our pick of the best activities in and around Brussels – and online – for the coming week

See the exhibition that brought Brad Pitt to Brussels, as Thomas Houseago’s Vision Paintings opens in the Museums of Fine Arts. The British artist, now based in Los Angeles, lived and worked in Brussels for eight years, leaving the capital in 2003. His new body of work makes its world premiere here, with two distinct themes: radiant landscapes that reflect the healing power of nature, and darker works that suggest altered levels of consciousness. Until 1 August, Rue de la Régence 3

The Mechelen leg of the region-wide Festival of Flanders, Lunalia, is fully free and fully digital this year. Among the many classical, new music and fusion concerts, special attention will be paid to the work of 16th-century composer Philippe de Monte, born in Mechelen and referred to as the last Flemish polyphonic composer. 24 April to 8 May

 A scene from La Monnaie's Turn of the Screw

La Monnaie is livestreaming another of its beautifully filmed productions, this time The Turn of the Screw by British composer Benjamin Britten. It is the adaptation of the gothic horror novella by Henry James about a governess caring for two children who becomes convinced that the remote estate in which she is working is haunted – by the previous governess. 29 April 20.30

Dorrie Wilson, an African-American academic, researcher and advisor to the European parliament who lives in Brussels, leads Bozar’s BE Side Lectures. Three online discussions with local experts will focus on the Africa diaspora’s place in social issues, such as the climate crisis and colonial monuments. (In English) 22 April to 11 July

It’s a good week to explore Brussels Museums Nocturnes, with the fantastic little Migratie Museum Migration hosting behind-the-scenes tours in multiple languages and a quirky little concert in its back garden in which plants make the music. Over at La Fonderie, meanwhile, you’ll never look at your washing machine the same again after a guided tour of In the Drum (in French or Dutch). There are four other options for the Thursday evening programme as well. 29 April, across Brussels

 Image from Iselp's exhibition Les Orages

The group show Les Orages (The Storms) at L’Iselp questions the notions of time – and its ultimate subjectivity. It is the second in a two-part exhibition series to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the contemporary art and research centre. Planned before the corona crisis broke out, Les Orages takes on a whole new meaning now. 23 April to 19 June, Boulevard de Waterloo 31

Opera Vlaanderen is presenting not just filmed operas during Covid but opera films. The latest livestream from the Antwerp opera house is Dido and Aeneas, directed by Hungarian stage director David Marton. He had already updated Purcell’s 330-year-old drama of impossible love for the 21st century and has completely revised the stage concept to create this film production. 24 April 20.00

 Dancers fold themselves across a log

The annual Day of Dance is being staged both online and in the open air this year. Dance and theatre companies and organisations will take to parks and squares for fun and provocative performances. The digital edition also proves rewarding, with performances, documentaries and workshops, as well as a film version of choreographer Jan Martens’ memorably named piece Any Attempt Will End in Crushed Bodies and Shattered Bones, co-directed by Lukas Dhont, director of the internationally celebrated film Girl. 24 April

Empathy is a buzz word lately – because so many people don’t have it or don’t know how to use it. The Brussels Imagination Club, which hosts English-language talks and workshops, presents Develop Your Empathy to teach us how to connect and co-operate with others. All BIC sessions are currently online. 28 April 19.00

The intriguing notion of an art collection as a kind of lost and found repository is at the heart of the new exhibition Lost & Found at Hangar. A Belgian and a French collector loan pieces to study the idea of creation and ownership. Until 6 June, Place du Châtelain 18 (Ixelles)

 A print of palm trees by Bruno V Roels

The Limited Edition Art Fair is back at Villa Empain, with prints, photos, lithographs and engravings up for sale. There are also workshops for both kids and adults to make your own print. 23-25 April, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67 (Ixelles)


While the performances are online, the exhibitions can be visited in real life, all part of the Brugotta Festival in Bruges. It’s a celebration of local artists and ranges from large-scale photography in public places to livestreamed blues and Americana. Until 2 May, online and across Bruges

Photos, from top: Thomas Houseago’s ‘Guide Explains My Death’ (cropped), 2020, acrylic on canvas, courtesy the Artist and Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, photo by Paul Salveson; ©Bernd Uhlig/La Monnaie; Gwendoline Robin’s Cratère 6899, The Image Generator III, Platform 0090, Antwerp, 2020, photo by Thor; courtesy Day of Dance; Bruno V Roels’Sensory Memory’, 2020, photography and ink, courtesy Gallery Fifty One

Written by Lisa Bradshaw