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What’s on this week: 7-13 February

12:32 06/02/2020
Our top picks of events and activities in and around Brussels

Beursschouwburg kicks off its three-month Let Me Know series with a festive opening weekend of (mostly) free events. Let Me Know is an answer to opinions and prejudices thrown around as facts, something that has always been with us but has never been so prevalent as in the social media age. The Opening Weekend includes such killer events as Ingel Vaikla’s audio-visual look at the subjective and the collective, a mural by Laurie Charles that is ‘colourful’ in more ways than one and La Fleur’s urban dance story about sex and work (pictured). 7-8 February, Rue Auguste Orts 20

One of the founders of Brussels Imagination Club is taking the lead for the next workshop. Using Psychology to Create a Happier Life sees certified coach Andy Whittle talking about the Perma model, an acronym for the building blocks of wellbeing: Positive emotion, Engagement, Relations, Meaning and Achievement. BIC workshops are in English and open to everyone. 12 February 18.45-21.00, Timesmore, Boulevard St Michel 47 (Etterbeek)

Bright Brussels

Good news: Spring is just a few short weeks away. Until then, immerse yourself in the warm glow of lights at not one but two light festivals this month. First up is Citizen Lights in which the good people of Schaerbeek erects lovely installations, stage cool performances and put on big parades, all using light in astoundingly creative ways. Next up is Bright Brussels, where bigger is better, as a route of light installations by some of the best international artists in the business light up the nights. Both events are free. Citizen Lights: 7-8 February 18.00-22.00, across Schaerbeek; Bright Brussels, 13-16 February 19.00-23.00, across Brussels-City

Didn’t make dinner reservations for Valentine’s Day? The House of European History has you covered. Just take your sweetie to Love in Restless Times, a special guided tour on love and romance from a historical perspective. Then add your own story to the relationship installation and sip a free Valentine’s Day drink. (Choice of English, French or Dutch because we luuuurve languages) 14 February, Rue Belliard 135

Zoo at Mima

Illustrated animals plays a big role in symbolism, whether for purposes of pride, marketing, politics or power. Think of Kellogg’s chicken, Flanders’ lion or Pepe the frog. The Mima urban art museum takes a look at anthropomorphism – applying human attributes to animals, things or concepts – in its new exhibition Zoo. International artists created in situ murals as well as brought along works that explore the wilding of humans, and the humanisation of what was once wild. Until 30 August, 39 Quai du Hainaut (Molenbeek)

The American Theatre Company presents Three Days of Rain, an aptly titled piece for Brussels at the moment. The award-winning play by Richard Greenberg takes place in Manhattan, where an estranged brother and sister join their childhood friend for the reading of a will that will shock them all. The same three actors play the parts of their parents in the second act in a play about secrets, madness and genius – passed on to the next generation just as easily as money. 13-22 February, Warehouse Studio Theatre, Rue Waelhem 69 (Schaerbeek)

The annual Carte de Visite art fair is notable not just for the nearly 900 works of art available, but also for its location in the cool, multi-storied Vanderborght building. Amateur and professional artists mix at Carte de Visite and offer up everything from paintings to jewellery to wooden sculpture at a wide range of prices. And entry is free. 7-9 February, Rue de l’écuyer 50

BILY

It’s the fifth anniversary edition of the BILY Contemporary Art Walk (BILY means ‘Brussels I Love You’), and that calls for a feast. BILY pops visitors into galleries and other spaces where works by the capital’s many diverse artists await to be discovered. This year, five chefs will take to five galleries along the way to tantalise your other senses. They’re not going to tell you which galleries, though, making it rather a chef scavenger hunt. 8-15 February, across Brussels

The Almine Rech gallery is hosting Brussels’ first exhibition of work by Spanish artist Antoni Tàpies in 35 years. Considered one of Europe’s foremost contemporary artists until his death in 2012, Tàpies spent the last two decades of his life working with sgraffito – scratching layers of paint to provide a glimpse of what lies beneath it. The opening reception is this weekend. Until 28 March (opening 8 February 17.00-20.00), Rue de l’Abbaye 20 (Ixelles)

Three doctorates, an environmentalist, the founder of the international Transition Towns movement and a brewer of beer. Sure, you might want to marry Rob Hopkins, but how about your start by meeting him at From What is to What if, a discussion of his book of the same name in which he talks about the power of imagination to move us through climate change and into a liveable future. Sometimes he draws cute pictures, too, by the way. We’re just saying. (In English, with French and Dutch translation) 13 February 20.30, W:HALLL, Avenue Charles Thielemans 93 (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre)

Portrait of a Man with a Blue Chaperon

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

Ghent has launched its Van Eyck Year with the marvellous exhibition Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution, in which more than half of all the drawings and paintings in existence by Jan Van Eyck are gathered. It’s the largest collection of his work ever assembled and includes several restored panels of the Ghent Altarpiece, available to see up close for the first time. Van Eyck Year was inspired by the completion of the restoration of the central panel of said altarpiece, on view in the city’s cathedral. Other events in the year includes the multimedia spectacle Lights on Van Eyck, a Seven Sense city walking tour and the Van Eyck shop, a pop-up featuring goods by local designers and craftspeople inspired by the 15th-century Flemish master.

Photos, from top: ©FelixSchoeller/La Halle Aux Grains; ©Guillaume Marmin/Tetro+A; ©Finsta/Mima; courtesy BILY; Jan van Eyck’s ‘Portrait of a Man with a Blue Chaperon’ (detail), c1428-1430, courtesy Muzeul National Brukenthal, Sibiu, Romania/MSK Gent

Written by Lisa Bradshaw