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What’s on this week: 25 September to 1 October

15:35 24/09/2020
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels. Space is often limited due to cornoavirus regulations. Always book early and check guidelines at every venue

A must-see of the autumn arts season is an exhibition shared between Brussels and Ghent. Danser brut, staged across Bozar and the Dr Guislain Museum of psychiatry sheds light on the connections between dance and involuntary or repetitive movements. Through the use of outsider, modern and contemporary art as well as medical archive documents and video clip, the exhibition examines different forms of expression in the body, face and hands. What does all this unrestrained movement tell us about our mental well-being? Danser brut looks at movement in all its forms: from windmills to dance epidemics, from trance to hysteria, from the asylum to the stage. Don’t miss it. Until 10 January, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23 & Dr Guislain Museum, Jozef Guislainstraat 43, Ghent

Botanique’s big annual festival of alternative music might be forced to welcome fewer people this year, but it’s full-steam ahead in any case. The incredibly popular Les Nuits Botanique (normally in the spring) sees local and international musicians and bands in all of the vast building’s halls and spread around town. Its fame is based on its experimental and exciting nature as curators comb the underground stages of the world, looking for the best act you’ve never heard of – or maybe the most offbeat. For some awesome head-banging, check out The K; for happy, multi-lingual pop, don’t miss Mayra Andrade; and for dreamy electronica, see Belgium’s own Haring. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Until 17 October, Botanique and other venues

Brussels Design Market

A highlight of the mammoth Design September programme is Brussels Design Market, an excellent collection of vintage and contemporary furniture, lighting, art and other household objects. Since its launch in 2002, it has become the largest vintage design market in Europe. Visitors will find original and iconic pieces from Italian, French, American and Scandinavian design created by the biggest names in the history of design, such as Sottsass and Le Corbusier. If this suggests expensive, it is, but Brussels Design Market also offers plenty of less collector-oriented options at affordable prices. And anything you buy you won’t see in anyone else’s living room. 26-27 September, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86

Brussels museums are joining forces for Come♥Back, four days of ‘heart-warming activities’ to usher in the autumn cultural season. It is not only a comeback for the cultural sector, which continues to be beaten down by cancelled events, closures and audience limits, but an invitation for visitors to come back and enjoy the arts again. Besides exhibitions, there are concerts, performances, guided tours and workshops for young and old. Head to Iselp to learn ancient printing techniques, for instance, or take the kids to the Migration Museum for Flashback Games, which shows them what games you and our parents played before the digital age. More than 70 activities are spread across the capital. 1-4 October, across Brussels

It Never Ends at Kanal Center

Renowned Swiss artist John M Armleder was given carte blanche to take over six floors of the Kanal Centre Pompidou, and he has done so with aplomb. It Never Ends is an ever-changing constellation of exhibits, performances, workshops and encounters set against monumental installations created in situ. Not only that, he invited, oh, about 100 artists to join him, and he also opened his own on-site restaurant. Get to know Armleder’s own universe as well as that of the people he loves. It’s also split into two main parts, with part one lasting until the end of the year, and part 2 beginning in February. The Opening Weekend from 24-27 September will give you a taste of what this is all about. Until 27 December, Sainctelette Square 21

The Parcours d’Artistes St-Gilles turns the municipality into one big gallery. Artists take to the streets, cultural centres and even a bar or two to show off their work. A detailed map of locations is available on the website. If the weather is fine, it makes for a nice tour of Saint-Gilles as well as artist studios. Check out, for instance, I Feel Really Awake at Maison du Peuple, which takes a line from the movie Thelma & Louise as inspiration for 11 women to choose works by women from the Ixelles Museum and create works in dialogue with them. 25 September to 4 October, across Saint-Gilles

Moving Ballads

In Moving Ballads, Brussels choreographer Femke Gyselinck explores the concept of the ballad as a danced song. She has swapped the traditional lyre for a synthesizer, played by pianist Hendrik Lasure, who has composed a ballad inspired by the work of folk legend Joni Mitchell. It is performed and danced in multiple variations, inviting the audience to make connections between the music, the words and the movements – and to shifts in meaning. 1-2 October, Kaaitheater, Saintctelettesquare 20

Bozar’s Next Generation, Please! is in its fourth year, visualising the collective dreams, worries and goals of Europe’s teenagers. School pupils and youth clubs from Belgium and beyond worked on the project for an entire year, coming up with creative ways to examine their feelings around climate change, gender, identity, democracy and other pressing issues. This year they had to complete it during a pandemic that saw many of them in lockdown situations. The ensuing exhibition also includes live performances and other events. 29 September to 1 November, Rue Ravenstein 23

The best of the capital’s Art Nouveau and Art Deco addresses are opening their doors to the public for the next two weekends. These distinctive artistic movements that flourished from the 1890s to the mid-20th century – with Art Nouveau all flowing lines and organic shapes, and Art Deco geometric, patterned and streamlined – flourished in Belgium, putting the country firmly on the world architecture map. The Banad festival – postponed from the infamous month of March – offers tours of exquisite properties normally closed to the public. 26-27 September & 3-4 October, across Brussels

A photo by Sylvie Pichrist from La colère de ludd


Hainault province recently acquired some 40 works that all reflect dispossession in one way or another, whether through occupation, destruction or violence. But some of them also express resistance and commitment in the face of unspeakable loss. The title of a the resulting exhibition is La colère de ludd (The Wrath of Ludd), taken from the 2012 book of the same name. It is a reference to a revolt by English workers who tried to resist technological progress on the eve of the Industrial Revolution. Until 3 January, BPS22, Boulevard Solvay 22, Charleroi

Cities and provinces across Wallonia offer up their own versions of the collective Festivals of Wallonia, a celebration of classical and new music in the broadest sense. Featured this autumn is Festival Musical du Hainaut, with myriad concerts and activities taking place in Mons, Charleroi and Tournai. In keeping with the region-wide theme this year, Hainaut is asking us to consider the heroes of today as we listen to work by the heroes of the past, both real and mythological. Until 11 October, across Hainaut province

Photos, from top : Valeska Gert, Tänzerische Pantomimen, 1925, ©Images des collections du Centre national de la danse CN D; ©Veerle Vercauteren/Kanal; ©Meganefontaine/Brussels Design Market; ©Robbrecht Desmet; ©/BPS22

Written by Lisa Bradshaw