That 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).
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
Why 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?
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!).
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.
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.
So: 25.628 visitors for Art Brussels 2016 – previous editions: 30.836 (2015) and 28.829 (2014) – and 9.000 visitors for that first edition of Independent Brussels (they had hoped for 10.000). But it’s not about those numbers, isn’t it? Other numbers are of a greater importance: did the participating galleries sell enough works of art? While the big question remains – Is Brussels big enough for two art fairs? – one thing is certain: it’s just too much art to take in, in just a couple of days. I visited both fairs (plus that much smaller Poppositions) and read all the press. Here are a few notes, quotes, pics and conclusions, just as the art world is heading for New York, for Frieze.
So: MIMA. Brussels’ new museum devoted to urban art, hoping to attract 30.000 visitors in its first year. Hailed as a beacon of hope for Molenbeek. Six thoughts. One: for years authorities in Brussels have been talking about a museum of modern/contemporary art, and it’s still not there. While four people just decide to start their own museum, aiming for a young audience? You just have to love them for it. Two: Millennium Iconoclast Museum Of Art? Horrible name. MIMA it will be. Three: can urban art be contained in the walls of a museum? Two of the people behind MIMA have been running Alice Gallery for over ten years now and they’ve proven that it can be done. Four: of course, the buzz is great, but can MIMA become a really interesting project in the long-term, artistically? The future will have to tell. Five: can MIMA save Molenbeek? Of course not. That’s too heavy a burden. Six: just that explosion of colours by Maya Hayuk alone is worth the trip (plus the view from the rooftop terrace, of course). So: check it out.