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What’s on this week: April 13-19

11:40 12/04/2018
Our top picks of culture and activities in Brussels

Belgium’s premier art fair, Art Brussels, looks back on 50 years this month. Aside from having grown exponentially, it has shifted venues, names and formats over the past five decades, solidifying a leading place on the European art market calendar. When it launched in 1968 in Galerie Louise, it was one of Europe’s first art fairs, and it has grown into a monumental event, attracting the curious local spectator as much as the savvy international collector. Don’t miss this anniversary edition, which – aside from the nearly 150 international galleries selling work by hundreds of artists – finds mammoth sculptures welcoming you at the door, a series of talks in English and films by award-winning Belgian artists. April 19-22, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86c

The art fair Propositions is also back, challenging Art Brussels with its fringe attitude. Putting itself forward as “highly uncommercial”, it still manages to present excellent work by established names – and continues to grow year after year. It’s uniqueness lies in its layout: The 29 galleries are curated, and the works they bring are organised into one big installation. So it’s an exhibition as much as a market. It also works according to themes, this year taking on the destruction of ecosystems. April 19-22, Atelier Coppens, Place du Nouveau Marché aux Grains 22

Journalist and author Derek Blyth continues his mission to prove that the country is anything but boring in his latest book Hidden Belgium. Listen to Scottish-born Blyth describe some of his favourite haunts at the book’s launch at Waterstones Brussels. Following on from his bestselling 500 Hidden Secrets series, this latest guide is Blyth’s personal ode to what he calls “the world’s strangest country”. Discover dreamy castles, bizarre buildings, eccentric art and adventurous hikes, to name but a few.  April 19, 19.00-22.00, 71-75 Boulevard Adophe Max

You be the judge during Trials of Money, an English-language performance – or perhaps prosecution is a better word – that invites the audience to decide the fate of its star: cold hard cash. Kaaitheater’s artist-in-residence, Christophe Meierhans of Switzerland, turns the audience into a jury in this exploration of the meaning of finance in our daily lives and our global society. A four-hour interactive extravaganza. April 18-19, Kaaistudio’s, 81 rue Notre Dame du Sommeil

Take a journey through the mind of contemporary Belgian fashion designer Jean-Paul Lespagnard in the exhibition Reflection, which he curated himself. Each of three floors is peppered with his most famous pieces and commemorates genres of inspiration – art (by, say, Wim Delvoye and Jan Fabre), culture (Manneken Pis, the entire city of Delft) and the museum’s collection (Olivier Theyskens, Courrèges). Don’t miss “the laboratory”, where you can design a scarf that reflects your inspirations. Until April 15, Fashion & Lace Museum, Rue de la Violette 12

Meet South Korea’s latest crop of new musicians in a groovy festival that celebrates the diversity of sounds from a country that Western music fans often try to pigeonhole into classical or folk. Among the six bands and solo artists on the bill of Modern Sound Korea are electro-pop band Land of Peace, guitarist and singer Choi Gonne and the first European appearance of Se So Neon, South Korea’s fastest-rising indie rock band (pictured). April 17 to May 5, across central Brussels

The lift at Place Poelaert is about to get whimsical. In her installation ‘If I Had Wings’, Finnish artist Kaarina Kaikkonen has outfitted the Marolles lift with T-shirts joined together because, she says, it “has a dream to have wings, to be free, to fly with passengers.” The project is meant to create a dialogue between different parts of the city, starting with the question: “How can we as individuals impact our own situation, society and neighbourhood?” The opening of the installation is at 18.00 on April 17 at the bottom level of the lift. April 17 to August 31, Place Poelaert

The unique exhibition Corps Héroïque (Heroic Bodies) examines themes associated with the human body: intimacy, landmarks and conventions. It questions why so many sports and cultural practices remain gendered and tells the stories of local women practicing disciplines considered atypical for them. The free exhibition also includes drawings by Elodie Claus representing parts of a woman’s body and by Marine Bernard that show new way of communicating through social networks and media. Until April 19, Schaerbeek Cultural Centre, Rue de Locht 91 (In French)

April 18 is Outdoor Play Day, in case you didn’t know. Several cultural centres and schools are planning activities on the afternoon, including the Nekkersdal cultural centre, which invites families to Place Joseph Benoît Willems in Laken, and the Brede School, which hosts games and sport in Viaduc park in Ixelles. You can event visit the Play Day website to download a form for your child’s teacher to request no homework be given out on the day! April 18, 13.00-17.00, across Brussels

The eye-opening outdoor exposition Ocean Plastics Lab showcases what science is doing to comprehend and combat the problem of plastics in our seas. Every year, between 4.8 and 12.7 billion kilograms of plastic end up in the world’s oceans. Visitors can learn about the projects and experiments taking place and about what they can do to help stop this seemingly overwhelming problem. Over the course of the free show’s 10 days, there will also be a series of talks on plastic pollution. Until April 19, Outside European Parliament, Esplanade Solidarność 1980

Did you know that Belgium has the largest number of art collectors per capita in Europe? Yet there are few collaborations between museums and these private collectors. You’re invited to the opening of Unexchangeable, which recognises these unique collections of museum-quality works from the 1980s and ’90s, usually purchased out of love for the pieces rather than as investments. The exhibition underscores how an artist’s work reflects the buyer’s character and becomes a piece of their life. Opening: April 18, 18.30-22.00, runs until August 12, Wiels, Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354 (Forest)


Staged every three years, the Beaufort open-air arts festival sees installations and sculptures – very often larger than life – popping up along the Belgian coast. Its themes and scope have ebbed and flowed like the tide over the years, but this year 18 international artists have been chosen who all come from countries that border a sea. They were given the task to consider the role of monuments in the life of a city. A map and description of the works can be had at any coastal town’s tourist office, or of course online. It’s challenging to see them all in one day, but you can plan your tour by which works you want to see or which cities you want to explore. Until September 30, along the Belgian coast

There’s no better place for a Medieval Brunch than the imposing castle of La Roche-en-Ardenne, which hovers over the picturesque town in Luxembourg province like a sentinel. You’ll be the first this year to get into the castle, which has been closed for the winter, and once there you’ll find a hearty buffet, drinks, medieval music, kids’ activities, performances and falconry. Admission is limited, so sign up right away at April 15, Féodal Castle, Rue du Vieux Chateau 4, La Roche-en-Ardenne

Photo top: Israeli artist Dana Yoeli’s “Proscenium” courtesy Chelouche Gallery/Art Brussels

Written by Lisa Bradshaw, Molly Dove