The 38th edition of Art Brussels takes place from 28 April to 1 May at Tour & Taxis. This contemporary art fair presents 157 participants from 26 countries with works from established artists, emerging new talents as well as artists to rediscover. The event will offer a vibrant programme bringing together the best of the contemporary gallery scene and spanning almost 1,000 artists.
The participating galleries are divided into different sections according to the artists on show: PRIME (for mid-career and established artists), DISCOVERY (emerging artists), REDISCOVERY (artists where recognition is long overdue), INVITED (emerging galleries that are transcending the typical gallery format) and SOLO (solo artist presentations).
Retaining its youthful profile as a discovery fair, Art Brussels is one of Europe’s most original and most established fairs. Since its inception, the event has evolved into one of the top European contemporary art fairs and is a must-see in the international art calendar. From 28 April until 1 May 2022, the European capital becomes a focal point for collectors, gallerists and art lovers from all over the world. Art Brussels also provides a unique opportunity to explore the artistic richness of the city, which is home today to an ever-greater number of emerging and established artists, galleries and curators.
Art Brussels 2022 gathers a record number of SOLO presentations, with more than 30 galleries highlighting the work of an individual artist. Among the key SOLO presentations will include: Wanda Koop atBlouin Division (Montreal) who examines the landscape through the lens of technology; Aurélie Pétrel at Ceysson & Bénétière (Geneva, Luxembourg, Lyon, New York, Paris, Saint-Etienne) who reflects on the photographic medium; Tuukka Tammisaari at Kristof De Clercq (Ghent) whose paintings are inspired by nature, (art) history and pop culture; Paul McCarthy at Xavier Hufkens (Brussels) whose humorous works criticize American mythologies and politics; Dankyi Mensah at MARUANI MERCIER (Brussels, Knokke, Zaventem) whose colourful portraiture documents the development of the social and political landscape in Ghana; Jacques André at Personne n’en veut, j’achète (Antwerp) whose eponymously-titled project addresses his status as an unemployed professional; Nazanin Pouyandeh at Sator (Paris) whose works explore her personal evolution and relationship between Iran and Europe; Natsuko Uchino at Sorry We’re Closed (Brussels) whose practice is defined by its interaction with agriculture and craft; Philip Aguirre y Otegui at valerie_traan (Antwerp) whose work centres around migration, water and the shelter of architecture; and Noel W. Anderson at Zidoun-Bossuyt (Luxembourg), known for his exploration of black male identity through the medium of textile.
The best SOLO presentation will be awarded the SOLO Prize (supported by Hiscox), with a cheque of €10,000 for the winning artist. The winner is selected by a professional jury and will be announced on the opening day of the fair.
About Discovery: meet the contemporary art scene
Art Brussels is known as a hotbed for young talent, and a number of artists aged under 30 are exhibiting in Discovery including: Rose Barberat (1994) at PACT (Paris); James Collins (1992) at Claas Reiss (London); Megan Dominescu (1997) at Anca Poterasu (Bucharest); Afra Eisma (1993) at No Man’s Art Gallery (Amsterdam); Brandon Lipchik (1993) at Robert Grunenberg (Berlin); and Charlotte Vandenbroucke (1993) and Loïc Van Zeebroeck (1994) at Dauwens & Beernaert (Brussels).
The best Discovery presentation (whether a solo show or a dual presentation) will be awarded with the Discovery Prize, supported by Moleskine. A cheque of €5,000 will go to the winning gallery, as selected by a professional jury.
About Prime: meet the artists concurrently on show in museums and art institutions
Art Brussels will present artists who are exhibiting in important art institutions concurrent to the fair, including: Kasper Bosmans at WIELS (Brussels) and Rirkrit Tiravanija at CC Strombeek (Grimbergen) (Gladstone, Brussels, Los Angeles, New York, Seoul); Hadassah Emmerich (Whitehouse Gallery, Lovenjoel) at Bonnefanten Museum (Maastricht); Guillaume Leblon (Nathalie Obadia, Brussels, Paris) at Palais de Tokyo (Paris); Wael Shawky (Lia Rumma, Milan, Napels) at M Leuven; Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (Mendes Wood DM, Brussels, São Paulo, New York) at Jeu de Paume (Paris); Kiki Smith (Lelong & Co., Paris, New York) at Fondation Thalie (Brussels); Rinus Van de Velde (Tim Van Laere, Antwerp) at Bozar (Brussels); Floris Van Look (Keteleer, Antwerp, Brasschaat, Otegem) at De Warande (Turnhout); and VOID (LMNO, Brussels) at Botanique (Brussels).
Themes across the fair
Going beyond the different sections outlined in the fair, many of the galleries and artists participating in this year’s edition of Art Brussels reflect a preoccupation with similar themes, ideas and concepts, including but not limited to:
Gender, identity and the body
One of the key themes that emerges across the artists on show is gender, identity and the body, particularly in relation to mortality and the erotic. Examples include: Kiki Smith at Lelong & Co (Paris, New York), known for her figural representations of mortality, abjection and sexuality; Carmen Calvo atLuis Adelantado (Valencia) in whose work feminist themes play a prominent role; and Mark Manders at Zeno X (Antwerp) whose art reveals a fascination with the head, which is depicted as detached from the body and juxtaposed with different elements.
Elsewhere, other artists explore socio-political struggles, race, ethnicity and LGTBQ+ identity in relation to visual culture. These include: Kenny Dunkan at Les Filles du Calvaire (Paris) who refers to Caribbean culture, particularly the Carnival, and the ambiguous duality between colonialism and local tradition mixed with the African slave history; a group presentation of Amelie Bouvier, Sean Crossley, Ella Littwitz and Emmanuel Van der Auwera at Harlan Levey Projects (Brussels) that deals with notions of body; Didier William at M+B (Los Angeles) who draws on Haitian history and his personal experience regarding colonialism and resistance; Gaëlle Choisne at NICOLETTI (London) who addresses cultural complexities with references to Creole traditions, ancient mythology and popular culture; and Jingze Du at Steve Turner (Los Angeles) whose black and white paintings represent the artist’s status as an immigrant.
Climate and environment
Another prominent theme within this year’s fair is climate and environment, with artists exploring the relationship between humans and the environment. Many of these aim to raise awareness of human-cause environmental degradation and natural ecologies, including: Ronan McCrea at Green on Red (Dublin) presents, whose work centres on the controversial Dublin Waste-to-Energy facility; Chris Soal at WHATIFTHEWORLD (Cape Town), who uses unconventional found objects to question the impact on urban living; and Peter Buggenhout at Axel Vervoordt (Antwerp, Hong Kong) and Laurent Godin (Paris) whose unpolished sculptures are created from industrial waste, horsehair, entrails and house dust.
Many of the artists also explore the position of animals in the midst of our changing relationship with the environment, including: André Romãno at Vera Cortes (Lisbon), who blurs the boundaries between human and animal, nature and culture; and Daniela & Linda Dostálkova at Piktogram (Warsaw) who address post-humanist issues related to the protection of animals.
Other artists reflect the social impact and importance of architecture and urban environments. These include MLF Marie-Laure Fleisch’s (Brussels) booth, featuring works by Julie Legrand, Ronny Delrue and Sergio Breviario, focuses on the use of the environment as an inspirational force to confront our relationship to the world; Xavier Theunis Green on Red (Dublin)who examines space and perspective through playful interventions; Hector Zamora at Albarrán Bourdais (Madrid) who rearticulates the physical characteristics of a specific urban or architectural environment; and Stijn Ank at Michael Janssen (Berlin) shows plaster works can be considered as a research in the relationship between matter and void.
Internet and technology
A third recurring theme involves works that talk about the impact of digital imagery on art and culture, the concept of ‘information overload’, and the speed of consumer technology around the world. ASPN (Leipzig) shows Katarína Dubovská whose installations use images that are dragged and twisted until all the cells are disintegrated; Charlot (Paris, Tel Aviv) displays among others Quayola who merges classical aesthetics with software and algorithms; House of Chappaz (Barcelona, Valencia) and Joey Ramone (Rotterdam) present a common booth with works by Momu & No Es that criticize hyperconnectivity and express distrust towards the use of ‘new reality’ technologies; and Nagel Draxler (Berlin, Cologne, München) shows works by Kirsi Mikkola who invented GLO, a character who is both a feminist artistic statement and a mascot for the formation of a fan base.
Additionally, numerous Art Brussels galleries have also collaborated with NFT artists, including: ADN Galeria (Barcelona) with Avelino Salo; Erika Deák (Budapest) with Attila Szucs; DMW Gallery (Antwerp) with Marius Ritiu; Sanatorium (Istanbul) with Sergen Şehitoğlu; Sapar (New York) with Alejandro Magallanes; and Super Dakota (Brussels) with Chris Dorland.
For more info about the full exhibitor list, please click here.
Public opening days:
Friday 29 April, Saturday 30 April and Sunday 1 May from 11am to 7pm
Venue: Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86c, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tickets: www.artbrussels.com (Online registration mandatory)
Discover Art Brussels: Other initiatives and artistic projects at the fair
Art Brussels and Dan Perjovschi in solidarity with Ukraine
The Romanian artist and peace activist Dan Perjovschi has created a series of five pins that will be on sale at the fair, inviting visitors to show their support for Ukraine. The entire purchase price of the pins will be donated to the charity Ukraine 12-12. The artist made 5 touching black and white drawings that criticise the Russian invasion. Perjovschi is represented at the fair by Michel Rein (Paris, Brussels) who will also sell the original drawings for a Romanian charity chosen by the artist.
Art Brussels and NFT
In its steadfast engagement with the latest trends in the contemporary art market, and as the art market continues opening up to NFTs and the Metaverse, Art Brussels has partnered with the newly founded Parallel.art. Through this partnership, Parallel aims to bring the participating galleries to the blockchain space by supporting their Web3, NFT, and crypto related initiatives and to introduce the fair’s visitors to this paradigm shift. Parallel connects contemporary art practices with Web3 technologies. By combining conceptual explorations with bespoke tools they bring art projects to life within sustainable blockchain ecosystems.
Positioned at the heart of the fair, the Parallel booth serves as an NFT “touch point” with the aim to inform, educate and support future NFT collectors and visitors who are curious about blockchain-based art practices. They will assist in wallet creation, purchasing, and larger questions around art and crypto. The booth will also serve as a starting point for guided tours for the fair’s invitees and visitors of the galleries that have NFTs for sale. Extending the physical presentations at the fair, Parallel is partnering with JPG, a curatorial protocol for NFTs, to showcase a selection of the NFTs presented by Art Brussels galleries. This will establish the first Web3 exhibition for Art Brussels, in collaboration with those leading the charge in making NFT curation a key part of this evolving space.
To explore the topic of NFTs further, Parallel will organise a series of talks in collaboration with the fair’s institutional partner iMAL (Art Center for Digital Cultures & Technology), the leading New Media Art Center in Brussels. Parallel will immerse the Art Brussels professionals and visitors into various aspects of NFTs, unpacking, exploring, critiquing and harnessing the constellation of concepts that form this new and fast-moving space. By bringing together major players of the contemporary art worlds and crypto/NFT experts, they will use this opportunity to build bridges between these two worlds.
The Parallel partnership with Art Brussels will bring the art fair and the participating galleries to the blockchain space by supporting their Web3, NFT, and crypto related initiatives.
L’Oeuvre et Son Double in the Stibbe Lounge – curated by Sam Steverlynck
The exhibition L’Oeuvre et son Double, curated by Sam Steverlynck in the Stibbe Lounge at Art Brussels, unites the work of various artists participating at this year’s Venice Bienniale, both at the main exhibition called The Milk of Dreams, curated by Cecilia Alemani, and several national pavilions. The title is a reference to Le Décor et son Double, the installation Daniel Buren conceived for the iconic, extramural exhibition Chambres d’Amis, curated by Jan Hoet in 1986, inviting 50 artists to exhibit their work in private houses in Ghent. Buren went a step further by not only applying his characteristic banded motif to the guest room of the house of the – recently deceased – collector Anton Herbert, but also realising a reconstruction of the room in the museum. Though both rooms look identical, the stripes were applied at the upper part in Anton & Annick Herbert’s house, whereas at the lower part in the room in the museum. Cleverly playing out the contrast between copy and original, the private and the public, the installation – that in matter of fact only existed completely when mentally connecting both venues – functions as a perfect metaphor for an exhibition simultaneously showing works by artists at the Venice Biennial and Art Brussels. Referring to themes addressed in Cecilia Alemani’s exhibition – including the body in metamorphosis and the relationship between the body and earth – some of the selected artists show works that come from a similar series as in Venice, while others play with the notion of double, copy or mirror image.
Artists include: Ignasi Aballí, Francis Alÿs, Mirella Bentivoglio, Mariana Castillo Deball, Latifa Echakhch, Jane Graverol, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Louise Lawler, Rosana Paulino, Solange Pessoa, Carol Rama, and Sandra Vásquez de la Horra.
Carte Blanche in the Ruinart Lounge with artist Jeppe Hein
Every year, since 2018, Ruinart has invited an international contemporary artist to share his or her vision of the champagne house. In the footsteps of Jaume Plensa, Liu Bolin, Vik Muniz and David Shrigley, Ruinart is giving Carte Blanche to Jeppe Hein. The artist has designed an evolving project to be discovered through the seasons at the different major contemporary art fairs where Ruinart is present. This collaboration will be celebrated by an artist’s book and collector’s item encasing a Ruinart bottle. Art Brussels will be the first contemporary art fair to feature this project that will be launched in March.
My, Our, Yours – Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles
My, Our, Yours presents the work by artist Valérian Goalec curated by Maud Salembier. Goalec observes the shape of utilitarian objects and spaces for reception and exchange from everyday life and public space. These mass-produced artifacts and mass-produced devices seem to be designed to be inconspicuous. When divorced from their original context however, they take on a poetically absurd sculptural appearance, acquiring a different status through their spatial disposition or through the transitional operations effected on their materials or their scale. The project designed for Art Brussels hence takes into account the often clinical and standardised dimension of art fairs, their ephemeral and modular aspect; the transit places, the spaces of speech and the standardised places of conviviality of the big shows. It proposes an exploration of proxemics as a process of being-with-others, through touch, sight, smell or sound. The visitors activate in an almost imperceptible loop the flows in presence.
First laureate and prize winner Art Contest 2020
The performance L’Air, by Myrthe van der Mark, is based on the sculpture L’Air (1938) by Aristide Maillol. The performer sits down on a trolley. She takes the pose of the statue and directs air into a harmonica as she inhales and exhales. The seemingly light pose becomes a physical struggle, which is reflected in the body and the sound as the performance lasts for a few minutes. This performance will be presented every two hours during the fair.
Myrthe van der Mark was appointed first laureate at Art Contest 2020 with L’Air.
The online gallery offer – Artsy Online Viewing Room
Art Brussels also announced the partnership with Artsy, the largest global online marketplace for buying, selling and discovering art by leading artists. As Art Brussels’ online Marketplace Partner, Artsy will provide a unique opportunity for exhibiting galleries to promote their virtual booths showcasing their artists’ artworks to Artsy’s global audience. Collectors can experience Art Brussels on Artsy to discover artists, save favourite works, view works on their home walls using Artsy’s AR mobile tool and directly purchase work from galleries at the click of a button.
Discover the virtual showcase here.