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Brussels Gallery Weekend, Brussels. Supporting the art scene nationally and internationally

Renowned for its liveliness and multiculturality, Brussels is a city that features historical and architectural landmarks from internationally distinguished museums to popular artist ateliers. Being a dynamic city, the atmosphere surrounding the art scene is energetic and dynamic.

Launched in 2008, Brussels Gallery Weekend has been organising the four-day event, taking place every September. The gallery weekend promotes the gallery season with a variety of exhibitions, panel discussions and tours of the city’s leading contemporary art galleries and institutional art venues. «Since launching, the gallery weekend has become further diverse. Artists rent venues and there is a sense of collaboration within the community of Brussels».

Brussels Gallery Weekend highlights and supports the Brussels art scene, both nationally and internationally. «We represent the art scene locally through our online platform. Our website acts as a lens which is available all year round to showcase artists work and communicate any of the side projects we are engaging in». Their online avenue also contributes to their international representation.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Brussels Gallery Weekend hired Google to complete a run through of their online portfolio. After running the tests, Brussels Gallery Weekend found out that their second strongest online audience is primarily based in the United States. Further, the institution organizes a variety of cultural projects and events that are available to everyone. 

Generation Brussels exhibition

Beside their collaborative efforts with various galleries, Brussels Gallery Weekend organise their own exhibition named Generation Brussels. This exhibition, in fact, has been ongoing since 2018. Their aim is to highlight the younger generation of artists in Brussels who aren’t of yet, represented by a specific gallery. «Generation Brussels brings together a range of artists living and working within Brussels. Anyone from art school students, recent graduates and aspiring artists are welcome».

Last year saw the exhibition collaborate with Belgian commissioner Evelyn Simons. The commissioner’s knowledge and experience of the young art scene in Brussels added to the level of multiculturality found within Brussels. «A curator of exhibitors carefully selects our exhibition of young and aspiring artists». «This year, we have a duo of creators. The event is based around new media. We are, in fact, planning to showcase videography inspired by technology. We want to portray an idea of what happens in each generation. It is a crucial factor that art is able to question our identity. Each generation has experienced a different avenue of this and therefore a different individuality».

The first curator of Generation Brussels was Louise Phillips. He still offers aid to the gallery weekend event whilst teaching at the Royal Academy in London. Another event they offer their visitors is the Brussels Gallery Walks. This event takes place on several Saturday afternoons during several months throughout the year.

Discovering Brussels internationally commended contemporary art scene, the walk throughout Brussels metropolitan neighbourhoods allows individuals to meet local artists, designers, and absorbs the level of art surrounding the city itself. 

Brussels Gallery Weekend launched fourteen years ago. «Initially our aim was to attract additional collectors to remind people that there aren’t only museums which display art. This year we are working alongside forty-five galleries». Aracde, Archiraar Gallery, La Patinoire Royale-Galerie Valerie Bach, Ballon Rouge Collective, Baronian Xippas were some of the galleries lined up in the programme last year. Each of the artists represented by the galleries showcased in the Brussels Gallery Weekend are chosen specifically by the galleries themselves.

The Brussels Gallery Weekend calendar currently exhibits Willhead Eilers and Phillip Mueller, Reality Kings. The installation is in partnership with Carbon 12 (Dubai) and consists of a series of four handed paintings as both artists practice their skills to construct a body of work that is neither Eiler’s nor Mueller’s. As a centrepiece of the exhibition, the large-scale painting acts as an ode to Thomas Couture’s Romains de la decadence, a nineteenth century work depicting vice in Ancient Rome. The Roman poet Juvenal declared that «Cruler than war, vice fell upon Rome and avenged the conquered world».

Installation view, Jim Hodges at Gladstone Gallery, Brussels, 2021

Galerie Greta Meert is another on the Brussels Gallery Weekend calendar. Debuting James White’s first solo exhibition, the art embodies nine black and white pictures which wield prodigious cinematic qualities. Expect seventeenth century Dutch still-life’s and Weegee’s theatrical photographs of New York’s streets.

A material reality of kitchen appliances contributes to a peak into the artist’s daily life in the twenty-first century. «We decided to organise a project called Candle Up. The light a candle scheme is part of the gallery weekend’s efforts to support the feed the culture, a camaraderie grocery shop committed to feeding art workers who are in need». Actors, dancers as well as other creatives created Feed the Culture to support their creative community within the art realm.

Feed the Culture

The grocery shop takes place once a week and consists of one-hundred percent unsold food. Around 220 portions of shopping get handed out every week and eighty art workers benefit from the campaign. With the number of individuals in need of help increasing daily, Feed the Culture is having to keep up with the high demand. «Being able to provide support to such a worthy cause is very important to us here at Brussels Gallery Weekend. Buying a candle from Candle Up creates a quant atmosphere in homes and helps someone who really needs it».

Each fragrance from the candles are selected by Quintessence LAB, a delicate scented candle brand who are dedicated to creating products with optimum sensitivity. Quintessence Lab perpetuates the lively family tradition of designing perfumes and scented products with great meticulousness and understanding.

Covid-19 impact of the creative industry

«The coronavirus pandemic has expectedly been a difficult time for many. There have been challenges and triumphs for us during the pandemic and national lockdown. A positive aspect for us is that we exceeded our expectations. We are thriving on creativity and forcing ourselves to think out of the box to come up with innovative and resourceful ideas to keep us going during a difficult period in time. On the other hand, negative aspects include the stress of a global pandemic and running a gallery weekend event. Neither of these have been easy, but we have tried to go ahead as best we can, whilst also ensuring our full support is there for anyone who may need it».

Preparing various engagements, Brussels Gallery Weekend keeps to a diligent schedule. «We like to announce our up-and-coming events a week or two in advance. This keeps things exciting and always present. We host brunches, drinks and dinners as part of our social activities, which the Coronavirus pandemic has put on hold. We usually entertain a large number of guests but have recently toned things down to a smaller scale».

Focusing their efforts on the content of the event, the gallery weekend has several projects in the works. «We have an innovative VIP programme on the way. We are hoping to construct QR codes in different locations where members of the public can scan them and be invited to a special location».

Partnerships with media groups

Brussels Gallery Weekend has partnered with various media groups. «We are actually partnering with a bakery who used to provide bread editions with artists. They organise various events with us. We also have various partnerships with hotels. We appreciate the opportunity to form new partnerships and are equally excited to partner with Lampoon Magazine. Growing with our partners is a huge investment for us».

The team at Brussels Gallery Weekend is made up of freelancers. There are around four individuals who work prior to the event and around twenty during the event. Relying on interns, they have recurring internships available each summer for aspiring individuals to gain experience from. The Brussels Gallery Weekend aspires to work with art schools to invent social and educational commitments. «We provide workshops on how to pitch and get represented by art galleries». It is crucial for the gallery event to provide people with culture and art who aren’t fortunate enough to experience it in their daily life. «We offer guided tours to refugees and their families. This is one of the most important and vital things we do here at Brussels Gallery Weekend». 

1000 Brussels, Belgium
The Brussels Gallery Weekend is an event dedicated to contemporary visual art in Brussels.

Shanay Taylor

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
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