Long live the king! Vive la Belgique! ‘Bazaar België’: the best of Belgium in 100 works of art

'Chiaroscuro Variation' (Dirk Braeckman)

So you’re a tourist, travelling to Belgium. Or you’re an expat, and you’ve recently arrived. You’ve seen the images of this new somewhat clumsy king Filip, and you’re thinking: Belgium, euhm, anything else to offer than this guy, chocolate and waffles? Just try to find that hidden Centrale for Contemporary Art, in the center of Brussels, for an exhibition that feels like a crash course in Belgitude, focusing on the artistic, slightly surrealistic side of this tiny country. Bazaar België  – the best of Belgium in 100 works of art – was compiled by retiring art critic Claude Blondeel. It’s an exhibition that resembles Belgium: subdued ánd chaotic, not easy to fathom (too bad the audio guide is only available in Dutch & French). But make an effort and you’ll be surprised: works by Luc Tuymans, David Claerbout, Hans Op de Beeck, Francis Alÿs, James Ensor, Roger Raveel. Sure, it’s not perfect (second-rate works of some artists, or artists presented in a sloppy way, and Blondeel could have left out some personal favorites), but: Bazaar België (through September 29)? Every tourist should get a free ticket. (Five minute clip with English subtitles here.)

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