Just like every year, most museums, galleries and other exhibition spaces are putting on their best shows during Art Brussels. We have picked out some of the finest that should not be missed.
Zoë Paul, La Loge
The British artist Zoë Paul (°1987, London) spent her childhood growing up between England and the Greek island Kithira. Her Greek connection has clearly left an influence on her practice, in which she tackles topics such as archeology, mythology, the formation of society, the pre-modern, the relationship between art and the applied arts... She does so in drawings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles and murals. For her first institutional exhibition outside the United Kingdom she is now taking over La Loge, a former Masonic Temple that lends itself perfectly to her work. Under the heading ‘Despina’ – after the goddess of the home, nature and birth and death – she composes a trajectory on femininity and fertility. The result is a kind of private mythology based on rituals and archetypes that may or may not be pre-existent.
Paulo Nazareth, Mendes Wood DM
Mendes Wood DM is presenting the first solo exhibition in Belgium by Paulo Nazareth (°1977, Governador Valaderes, Brazil). The artist often refers to his mixed background in his work, addressing such themes as identity, religion, ideology and capitalism. He makes videos and films as well as installations and performances. He is known, among other things, for a series of works in which he represents domestic items with names that refer to native Brazilian tribes in translucent resin. Nazareth thereby raises the issue of the artless manner in which such exotic names are used to extol the virtues of consumer products. At Mendes Wood DM he shows similar works in resin, alongside doctored photographs of ethnographers in the Congo and a large billboard with which he subverts the trappings of capitalism for his own ends. During the opening on Wednesday April 24th he will also do two performances.
Sophie Whettnall, the CENTRALE
The Lebanese poetess/artist Etel Adnan (°1923, Beirut) has in recent years enjoyed nearconstant visibility. She has turned out to be an endless source of inspiration and sparring partner to countless artists. This is true also for Sophie Whettnall (°1973, Brussels) who, on the occasion of her solo exhibition at the CENTRALE has selected a number of works by the éminence grise which highlights their shared fascination for the landscape, light and perception. In drawings, videos and installations, Whettnall works around the senses and perception. Her work, in which she for example tries to capture light or shade, exudes a subdued form of poetry. With thousands of layers of torn paper, or a light installation that has been conceived especially for the CENTRALE, she represents an inner landscape that resonates beautifully with that of Etel Adnan.
The exhibition ‘Think about all the James Deans and what it means’ in Gallery Super Dakota is named after a – catchy – quote by Andy Warhol. The exhibition brings together work by a motley crew that contemplate the role of icons and totems in our contemporary society. The show includes work by John Baldessari, Julia Wachtel and Cyprien Gaillard as well as Lothar Hempel, Mark Leckey and many others.
Château Nour / SB34 – the pool
Besides a flourishing gallery scene, Brussels also has a fair number of non-profits and artist run spaces – of which you can find most listed on the flyer and website of The Walk (www.thewalk.be). Five of them – Clovis XV, Komplot, Mosso, Rectangle and SUPERDEALS – are now joining forces for an additional program called Château Nour. The heart of the action is the former hair dressing salon NOUR and its accompanying garden in Anderlecht. It will be a venue for workshops, talks, residencies and experimentation. Also, do check out the artist studios collective SB34 – the pool where you can also catch an exhibition by the artists (Kevin Senant, Niels Poiz …) who are opening their studios for the occasion as well. Afterwards you can have a chat at the biggest tiki bar of Brussels!
Château Nour 26-27 April from 14-22 u, www.chateaunour.be
SB34 – the pool, opening 26 April from 18h until late, open studios 26-28 April from 14-18h, www.sb34.org