Nothing is permanent: three summer exhibitions in Brussels


Next time I’ll be taking the metro at the Beurs-station in Brussels, I sure am going to look up at the ceiling. I must admit I’ve never payed any attention to the sculpture of the Belgian artist Pol Bury, hanging there. Just one of the things I realized during a summer’s day out I spent visiting three nice exhibitions in Brussels: the museum of Elsene/Ixelles, the new Elektriciteitscentrale, and the Museum David and Alice van Buuren.

There’s nothing going on anywhere in the city. It used to be true, for Brussels during summertime. But those days are over. There’s the new Magritte Museum (100.000 visitors in two months!), and the big summer exhibitions in Bozar (Sophie Calle en Jan De Cock). Having been to those, I decided to go and check out three smaller exhibitions. All of them worth visiting.

Koen_Van_Den_BroekTo start with, there’s the often overlooked museum in Elsene. The temporary exhibition Fading (until September 13) brings together paintings and pictures of forty Belgian contemporary artists, including Michael Borremans, Luc Tuymans and Koen Van Den Broek. Although the words ‘Gerhard Richter’ sprung to my mind once too often, while looking at all the paintings, I must admit: there are some wonderful works of art to be discovered.

The Elektriciteitscentrale/La Centrale Electrique is a new gallery for contemporary art. It’s located nere the Katelijne-church and the Oude Graanmarkt (Dansaert-area). It puts the collection of Albert Baronian – who’s been collecting art for 35 years – in the spotlights, with Nothing is permanent (until September 27). Although I was not that taken away by the works on display, it was a surprise to discover such an impressive space for art right in the heart of the city.

My last stop was in Ukkel. Having visited the lovely Van Buuren-house already years ago, I just payed for a stroll through the beautiful gardens (including a labyrinth with 1.300 yew trees). This summer (until October 18) they have a little something extra to seduce visitors: 13 works of art (fountains mostly) by Belgian artist Pol Bury, who died in 2005. I consider anyone who confessed to be influenced by the works of Alexander Calder worth checking out, and I must confess that there’s a couple of beautiful fountains to be seen (although 7 euro for a visit to this cute garden is a bit exaggerated).

There’s a Bury-fountain as well along the Boulevard Albert II (North Station area)  in Brussels. I’ve always considered it too ‘seventies’ and rather ugly. But I promise I’ll pay close attention to those (apparently slightly moving) balls, next time I’m in the neighbourhood. And I will look up at that ceiling.


(photo credits: Pol Bury-fountain, courtesy Museum Van Buuren; Koen Van Den Broek, ‘Red border San Pedro South Bay, LA, 2000’, courtesy Jay Jopling, White Cube, London; Pol Bury-fountain Boulevard Albert II, courtesy


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