Brussels Art Days in One (Very Busy) Day

Max Schreier
Sep 9, 2014 9:12AM

Brussels sits physically and intellectually in the middle of Europe. Challenged with the role of bridging the space between the blue chip Mayfair district in London and the cutting edge Potsdamer Straße in Berlin, the city has risen to define itself as a place where intelligence and skill are qualities expected from new work by young and emerging artists. Questions of whether it is the new European art capital miss the mark; Brussels is the center of the contemporary Western practice. Brussels Art Days epitomises this point, and if you only have one day to survey the diverse offerings, grab a 24-hour metro ticket, and prepare for a very full and rewarding day:

dépendance | 4 Rue du Marché aux Porcs

Berlin-based Thilo Heinzmann has his third solo presentation at the gallery. A master of materials and construction, Heinzmann’s works initially seem spare, but on closer inspection they reveal both literal and figurative texture, achieved by using foams, fabrics, marble, epoxy, and other mediums, as well as aggressive cuts and slashes into the canvas, creating multi-dimensional topography.

Almine Rech | 20 Rue de l’Abbaye

The Bruce High Quality Foundation always makes the viewer laugh, and then step back and have an introspective moment where they must consider if they are in on the joke or are part of the punchline. They make attractive objects that combine popular culture and industrial materials, which are always political, critical, and beautiful.

MOT International | Place du Petit Sablon, 10

The recent Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price will show a new video installation, which blends her indie rock aesthetic with her nuanced narrative approach to the visual.

Office Baroque | Place du Jardin aux Fleurs 5

Office Baroque presents a large group show of young and up-and-coming artists. The exhibition, titled “Nuit Américaine,” includes a list of some the strongest names among today’s emerging artists. From the photographer Lucas Blalock, to Darren Bader, to Catherine Ahearn, the scope of the exhibition is vast, but the quality is consistently high.

LEVY.DELVAL | Rue Fourmois 9

Here, two hyper-current shows are juxtaposing two young American artists, John Roebas and Spencer Longo. The former works in Philadelphia developing his own personal style in contemporary abstract painting, and the latter (a member of The Jogging) creates objects that are snarky, intelligent, and a pleasure to look at.

Meessen De Clercq | Rue de l’Abbaye 2A

There are three simultaneous solo presentations at Meessen De Clercq: Filip Gilissen, Tania Pérez Córdova, and Katinka Bock. What connects these three artists is not location or medium, but rather the pietism of their work. All three create pieces that are at once immersive, while also spare, allowing the viewer to get wrapped up in a small, momentary world.

Micheline Szwajcer | Regentschapsstraat 67

A group exhibition of heavy hitters including Angela Bulloch, Bernard Frize, Carsten Höller, and On Kawara. Clearly, an exhibition that could just as easily be in a museum rather than a gallery.

Non-Profits and Project Spaces:

Ana Torfs @ WEILS | Avenue Van Volxem 354

The multi-media Brussels based Ana Torfs opens her exhibition during Brussels Art Days. Pieces which originate with found texts develop into large installations comprised of video, light, prints, and sound.

Shana Moulton @ la loge | Rue de l’Ermitage 86

Sometimes manic, often spiritual, but always colorful, Shana Moulton’s videos chronicle the existence of her constantly anxious alter ego Cynthia. The films are impossible to pull yourself away from and leave you feeling the same nervous excitement that besets the protagonist.

Elusive Earths @ Etablissement d’en face projects | Rue Antoine Dansaertstraat 161

This group show organized by curator Jennifer Teets promises to be a taste of what is exceptionally current but also under the radar. Teets’ exhibitions have often introduced artists who become sought after names shortly after they are included in her exhibitions.

THE IDEAL @ Middlemarch | Chaussée de Waterloo 550

Housed in a beautiful Brussels apartment, Middlemarch is a distinctly intellectual and thoughtful space. Rather than exhibitions, they host “episodes,” implying a narrative thread that runs the length of the series. For the current episode, four living artists (all younger than 40) are shown alongside two early 20th-century pieces. The focus is on craftsmanship and skill and parallels in processes which span decades.

Antonin De Bemels @ iMAL | 30 quai des Charbonnages / Koolmijnenkaai

This weekend is the last opportunity to see the supremely strange experimental installations and videos of Antonin De Bemels. De Bemels has created a sculpture, which since its completion, he has exhaustively tried to determine whether or not it is human.

Explore Brussels Art Days 2014 on Artsy.

Max Schreier