A green cross, a clay figure and a pavilion without a roof: more of Belgium in Venice

Australian pavilion (without roof), curated by Catherine de Zegher

I’ve told you about Berlinde De Bruyckere, I’ve told you about the Belgian artists selected for Il Palazzo Enciclopedicoand about that gallery from Brussels that went to Venice to win a ‘special mention’. But while roaming the narrow streets of Venice, I discovered that there were even more traces of Belgium to be found around the city. In my boyish enthusiasm I turned it into a quest: where are the Belgians? For those who want to save some time in Venice (and time is utterly valuable with easily more than 200 exhibitions around town), here they are. With pictures.

Australian pavilion by Catherine de Zegher

AustralianPavilion_VeniceBiennale2Why should we Belgians care about the Australian pavilion, with an exhibition by Simryn Gill, born in Singapore? Because it is curated by Belgian curator Catherine de Zegher, artistic director of the 18th Biennale of Sydney and former director of The Drawing Center (New York), and the newly appointed director of Ghent’s Museum of Fine Arts. Gill wants the weather to have an impact on the works on display (part of the roof was taken away), and as it was raining during the preview days, the people watching over the pavilion immediately realized what that meant: where to find shelter from the rain? Info here.

‘GlassStress’ with Jan Fabre, Koen Vanmechelen and Kris Martin


For the third time Berengo Studio (in collaboration with the London College of Fashion) is setting up GlassStress (through November 24) an exhibition for which several international artists have been asked to create a work of art in glass. At the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, you’ll find works by Thomas Schütte, Cornelia Parker and Tracey Emin, but also by Belgian artists Jan Fabre, Koen Vanmechelen and Kris Martin. Info here.



‘Noise’ with LAb(au)

Noise_Venice_Lab(au)You really have to look for it, and then you’ll find it, in one of the back rooms of Campo San Cassian (ex Magazzini di San Cassian): a work by LAb(au) from Brussels. It is not showing its most beautiful side, so do walk around it. Noise (through October 20), presenting the work of 10 artists (Piero Gilardi, Carsten Nicolai), reflects on noise as a medium of artistic process and communication. Info here.

‘Yellowing of the Lunar Consciousness’ with Matthieu Ronsse and Joris van de Moortel


Mestre-based gallery Massimo Deluca has set up an exhibition (through September 29) at two sites, the gallery and Palazzo Bonvicini, for an exhibition with paintings by 14 artists all born in the eighties. Belgian galleries Almine Rech and Tim Van Laere were involved, and at Palazzo Bonvicini you’ll find paintings by Belgian artists Matthieu Ronsse and Joris van de Moortel. Info here.


Axel Vervoordt – Tàpies – Palazzo Fortuny


Later that day I saw the huge film set spots I had seen at Palazzo Fortuny in a posh design shop. Indeed: walking into that dark Palazzo Fortuny looks as if you’re walking into a design furniture shop. With a tiny little difference: the works on the walls are by Picasso, Rothko, Miro and Antoni Tàpies. Co-curator of Tàpies – The eye of the artist (through November 24) is Antwerp-based art & antiques dealer and interior designer Axel Vervoordt. For an exhibition of a different kind. Info here.

James Ensor on his way to the costume party

FischliWeiss_JamesEnsorAnd then, as a little wink… One of the absolute must-see’s at Massimiliano Gioni’s Il Palazzo Enciclopedico is Suddenly this overview, a collection of clay figures by Peter Fischli & David Weiss. You could easily spend an hour looking at the more than 200 perspex boxes. While doing so, I discovered a Belgian-themed one: a figure called James Ensor on his way to the costume party. James Ensor, the Belgian painter, that is.

For the exhibitions I unfortunately didn’t find time to visit (Renato Nicolodi, ‘Wunderkammer’…): check the official site of the Belgian pavilion here.


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