A florist of a different kind: Taryn Simon’s historical bouquets at Almine Rech (Brussels)

Posted in books, contemporary art, photography with tags on October 14, 2016 by Utopia Parkway



What would I do? It’s a question I sometimes ask myself, playfully, visiting exhibitions. What if I would be an artist? What kind of work would I make? What would it look like? Probably something like this, I thought recently, looking at Taryn Simon‘s striking photographs of floral bouquets at Almine Rech (Brussels, through November 5). Something eerily beautiful and puzzling at the same time. Work for which a lot of research and patience is needed and that contains references to stuff that matters to us in this world, today.

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Those magic fingers are at it again: “Cold Blood” by Jaco Van Dormael and Michèle Anne De Mey

Posted in contemporary dance, dance, film, theatre on October 3, 2016 by Utopia Parkway


“Three, two, one”, a voice said. “When you open your eyes, you are still alive.” The lights went on, and it seemed as if everyone around me was waking up. A few moments later everybody in the theatre (KVS, Brussels) got to their feet for a roaring standing ovation. If there’s one thing filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael and choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey are good at, it’s this: bringing a packed theatre into a state of collective reverie. Yes, Cold Blood, the successor to that immensely successful Kiss & Cry (180.000 spectators, 300 performances, 20 countries) has its flaws, but to make a theatre with grown-ups look at things with the same sense of wonder they had when they were kids? Quite unique.

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Where’s that Rauschenberg? The paintings are on the move! “Répétition” at Villa Empain (Brussels)

Posted in art, contemporary art, contemporary dance, performance on August 9, 2016 by Utopia Parkway

Repetition_VillaEmpain_11That first view was rather disconcerting. A guy was walking away carrying a canvas. Other paintings stood on the floor, rather randomly, backs against the wall. Did I arrive too late? Was the exhibition already over? But then the guy came back and introduced himself. “I will be your host today. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate.” Euhm, yes: the paintings? “I’m moving them around”, he said, smilingly. “It’s all part of the exhibition. If you’re unable to locate a specific work of art: just ask.” And off he went. Suddenly I noticed that one of the other visitors had begun to move rather strangely, in the hall of that ever so grand Villa Empain (Brussels). You’re in for a few surprises, if you visit Répétition uninformed (through August 21).

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A picture of a painting that was a picture: “Photorealism – 50 years of hyperrealistic painting” at Musée d’Ixelles (Brussels)

Posted in art, contemporary art, painting on July 31, 2016 by Utopia Parkway

Photorealism_Ixelles1Why would you want to take a picture of a painting that is so perfect you’d swear it is a picture? Funny even, knowing that the painting tries to be the exact copy of a picture. So: a picture of a painting that was a picture. Seeing the cameras and smartphones made me smile, but it made me realize as well: it must be the reason why so many people were visiting Photorealism – 50 years of hyperrealistic painting (Musée d’Ixelles, Brussels, through September 25) on that hot Sunday afternoon. Those photorealism painters trigger the same sense of wonder as magicians do. How the hell do they pull it off?

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About a strange ad and a visit to the bathroom: Joseph Kosuth and Robert Morris recreate the past at Jan Mot (Brussels)

Posted in conceptual art, contemporary art on July 21, 2016 by Utopia Parkway


Don’t you hate it when you can’t find the answer to a riddle? Luckily I had forgotten about the one that had kept my mind busy for a day or so. Until I entered into Jan Mot gallery (Brussels), weeks later. There it was, on the table, that newspaper, opened on the same page that had caught my attention June 3rd. Suddenly I remembered that peculiar ad I had been staring at, that morning, sipping my coffee, not understanding what it was trying to tell me. It was part of an exhibition? Yes, and probably one of the strangest recent shows in Brussels too (through July 23; so: last days!).

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“We’re Pretty Fuckin’ Far From Okay”: Lisbeth Gruwez’s deconstruction of bodies in distress

Posted in contemporary dance with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2016 by Utopia Parkway


One doesn’t say no to Avignon. So when the French summer festival asked Lisbeth Gruwez for a new piece, she accepted, notwithstanding her company Voetvolk’s very busy international touring schedule. We’re Pretty Fuckin’ Far From Okay – which actually premiered at Julidans in Amsterdam – is the last part of a trilogy focusing on the ecstatic body, comprising also the successful performances It’s Going To Get Worse And Worse And Worse, My Friend and AH|HA. This time around the Belgian dancer/choreographer zooms in on fear and what it does to our body and breath.

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Things are not always what you expect them to be: Rinus Van de Velde’s “Donogoo Tonka”

Posted in art, contemporary art with tags , , , , on June 1, 2016 by Utopia Parkway


Much talked about exhibitions. You know how it goes: you’ve read all the articles and the interviews, you’ve seen the images and you wonder: should I really bother to go? Because you’re almost sure you’ve seen everything there is so see. Sort of what my feeling was about Donogoo Tonka, the successful solo exhibition by the adored Belgian visual artist Rinus Van de Velde at S.M.A.K. (through June 5). But then I happened to be in Ghent, and I decided to drop by.

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