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What’s on this week: 8-14 November

14:19 07/11/2019
Our top picks of events and activities in and around Brussels

It’s worth a trip to the Fine Arts Museum for the sole purpose of seeing Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota’s breathtaking installation ‘Me Somewhere Els’. She made a big splash at the Venice biennial in 2015 with her textile works, which often incorporate figures or found objects, placing them in an alternate universe. A cancer survivor, her illness defines her work. “Before I was diagnosed, I thought that if I died, everything around me was going to die,” she once said. “But now I know that only my body dies, not my mind. My mind remains somewhere else.” Until 9 February, Fine Art Museum, Rue de la Régence 3

Global uprisings are few, as major protest periods tend to be focussed on more state-wide concerns. But the climate crisis is different because it looms over every corner of the earth, threatening life as we know it. Now in its fifth edition, Ecopolis looks at ecological challenges from all sides, including the protests with the intriguingly titled talk ‘Global Warming and the Male Meltdown’. The multilingual event also includes performances, workshops and book presentations. 10 November 11.00-18.00, Kaaitheater, Square Sainctelette 20

The famous Brussels brewery Cantillon throws open its doors twice a year for a public brewing session. It’s a full day that walks you through the entire brewing process, from filtration and wort to cleaning the barrels. And tasting, natch. Tours available in English, French and Dutch. 9 November 7.00-16.00, Rue Gheude 56 (Anderlecht)

Armistice Day in Brussels

Brussels will host its annual Armistice Day ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, part of the Congress Column. Led by the king, the event includes speeches from politicians, peace groups and civil society, as well as the laying of wreaths. Other events and memorials take place across Belgium, most notably in the Westhoek. Three days of activities in Ypres culminate in a special edition of the Last Post, while Passchendaele hosts a Scottish Armistice Day and a memorial at Tyne Cot. The Irish in Europe Association, meanwhile, holds a Remembrance Saturday in the Heverlee War Cemetery in Leuven. Brussels: 11 November from 11.00, Place du Congrès

Cartoonists are very apt at illustrating language, which appears as text on a page, sometimes in little balloons, with all the emphases in place. Other visual artists sometimes use language in equally effective ways, and 40 of them have been brought together for Ekphrasis. The exhibition explores a tradition of mixing the visual arts with literature, poetry and politics. The Greek word ekphrasis, by the way, refers to a laudatory description of a work of art. Until 9 February, Villa Empain, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67 (Ixelles)

Dance amid artworks at Bozar Night, the fine art centre’s event dedicated to electronica. British and Belgian DJs keep the sounds flooding the place until the wee hours. Romanian DJ Cosmin Trg is a special guest, courtesy of Europalia Romania 10 November 20.00-2.00, Rue Ravenstein 23

Bjork

There are still tickets left to see Bjork at Forest National. The Icelandic pop goddess puts on quite a show with Cornucopia: two hours of dozens of musicians and dancers prancing about a multi-storied fantasy land, dressed like fairies and playing flutes. 13 November 20.00, Avenue Victor Rousseau 208 (Forest)

Don’t be confused by the title of the Brussels Art Film Festival, which does not feature impenetrable experimental movies, but rather movies about artists. There is a broad range, from shorts and features about musicians, visual artists and actors to those featuring artistic movements, places and companies. There are international and local productions: Get to know the Villa Empain in minute detail, for instance, or find out how Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker matches music to dance so seamlessly. 14-17 November, across Brussels-City

The René Magritte Museum in Jette (not to be confused with the Magritte Museum in the centre of town) is opening its new Museum of Abstract Art this week. While the original museum is located inside its namesake’s former house, the new addition is in the house next door, following four years of renovations. It is the first museum dedicated to abstract art in Belgium, and only the fourth in the whole world. From 10 November, Rue Esseghem 137 (Jette)

Brussels Imagination Club hosts Elena Nikolskaya for the talk Managing Personal Finances with Digital Platforms. With a background in artificial intelligence and investment experience, Nikolskaya runs the expat group Brussels Investing and will talk here about mutual funds, diversification and more. (In English) 13 November 18.45-21.00, Timesmore, Blvd St Michel 47 (Etterbeek)

Antica Namur

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

Generations unite at Antica Namur, where 135 arts and antique dealers from Europe, Japan and the US gather for your shopping pleasure. While the big European houses take their place as always, there’s an emphasis this year on new and young dealers, who are shaping the art market of tomorrow. The range of items is broad, from furniture to paintings to jewels to manuscripts. Prices vary as well; Antica isn’t only for avid collectors with major investments to make. 9-17 November, Namur Expo, Avenue Sergent Vrithoff 2

Wander through lush vegetation as well as Victorian streets in Darwin L’originale, a digital and interactive exposition dedicated to one of the most famous scientists of all time: Charles Darwin. Aside from offering us an explanation of evolution in many volumes – most notably On the Origin of the Species – the 19th-century biologist was a humanist who spoke out against the slave trade, believed in religious freedom and pioneered the study of behaviourism. Experience the man’s – and society’s – evolution from a theological-based concept of natural history to one that embraced learning through examination of the world at our feet. Information is in English, French and Italian. Until 2 February, Cité Miroir, Place Xavier Neujean 22, Liège

Photos, from top: Courtesy the artist and Blain Southern, photo by Peter Mallet; ©Laurie Dieffembacq/BELGA; ©Santiago Felipe/Iris van Herpen; courtesy Antica

Written by Lisa Bradshaw