How to and how not to: art at strange venues (‘Fragil’ and ‘Louise 186’, Brussels)

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Exhibitions at unusual venues? Count me in. I’m always curious. Even though a strange space doesn’t automatically mean a great exhibition. As is proven these days in Brussels. Louise 186 (last day tomorrow, Av. Louise 186, next to Rouge Tomate restaurant, 12-6pm, free entrance) is a group show set up in a big building (3.000 m2) about to be transformed in an apartment complex, with some 20 Belgian artists or artists working in Belgium, such as Fabrice Samyn, Jean-Baptiste Bernadet, Benoit Plateus and Lionel Estève. Somehow the exhibition fails to come alive. The derelict spaces are just too clean and a lot of the works are too bland. I then prefer Fragil, unpretentious, set up in what used to be the big GB/Carrefour supermarket in the heart of the city (Rue Marché Aux Poulets 5, Wed-Sun 11am-7pm, through October 18, free entrance). It’s by the people behind that lovely Zinneke Parade, and the show is based on the theme of the next parade (May 21, 2016). Works by 17 artists (Benjamin Verdonck, Isaac Cordal, Jozef Wouters) in a somewhat mysterious set-up (courtesy: Rotor). Do pick up a copy of their nice, informative catalogue (for free).

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