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Brussels Gallery Weekend celebrates 15 years: getting into those smaller networks

Brussels is watched by young artists, collectors, and curators alike, and events like Brussels Gallery Weekend celebrate art from all over the world, right in the center of the city.  This year, Brussels Gallery Weekend will take place in Brussels, Belgium, from the eight to the eleventh of September 2022.

This four-day event takes place every September, but this year it is also Brussels Gallery Weekends fifteenth anniversary. That’s fifteen years of evolution towards artistic globalisation, celebrating and nurturing rising talents, along with creating a sense of collaboration within the community of Brussels, followed by the rest of Europe. 

The director Louise Phillips talks about Brussels’ artistic scene

According to the director Louise Phillips, more Belgian artists than ever before are moving to Brussels due to the cost of living in other art capitals like Paris and London. She also acknowledges that there’s a new energy in the city, with initiatives pushed mainly by younger artists; «you need to be there to look for things and find hidden jewels, if you get into those smaller networks, you’ll have a very exciting life», claims Louise regarding the Brussels art scene. 

Visitors can indulge in tours of the city’s art galleries and observe up-and-coming artists, originating from around the globe. Brussels Gallery Weekend features the Brussels artistic scene, shining a spotlight on local and international artists. For this year’s fifteenth anniversary, Brussels Gallery Weekend has news in store for visitors. Beginning with the artists, this year’s gallery weekend will consist of large-scale artworks, such as massive sculptures and canvas paintings, mostly done by new-generation artists. 

The 15th anniversary of the four days event

The Meeting Point is the main location for Brussels Gallery Weekend. The structure is a historical icon. For Belgians, it is one of the most embolic spaces in the country: the 25,000 square meters former printing office of the National Bank of Belgium. The place where once Belgian currency was printed and which was regarded as one of the most heavily guarded buildings in all of Belgium, will be used as a gallery space for the duration of the event.

This will be the first time the public will be permitted access inside the former bank. Within this space, visitors can marvel upon safes bigger than apartments, and thickened doors that once held millions of euros, along with the artwork placed about, videos, and live performances. 
And, as per the previous years, each gallery has their own curators by gallerists or special guest. 

Brussels Gallery Weekend, the four-day event, launched fifteen years ago. «Initially, our aim was to attract additional collectors to remind people that there aren’t only museums which display art», explains Louise. Brussels Gallery Weekend is divided into three different sections, with the core of the event involving forty galleries representing artists from all over the world.

Thanks to that degree of coverage, the artists get to show off their work to people coming from all corners of the world. «We are super proud to show the diversity and activity that is taking place around Brussels», Ms. Phillips exclaims.

Like most of the world, the past two years of Brussels Gallery Weekend weren’t the easiest. The event was only able to be accessed mostly by Belgians or Europeans due to Covid restrictions. For the 2022 edition, organizers are optimistic that it’s all going to be different.
Of course, the artists exhibiting within the galleries and institutions are the special guests first and foremost. 

To spread the word globally concerning Brussels Gallery Weekend, organizers are expecting an international turnout. Visitors and groups from France, Germany, the US, and Asia are confirmed to be in attendance. Louise continued to explain why foreign visitors convene in Brussels every September for Gallery Weekend. «Historically, Belgium has a reputation in the art community as the country with the most collectors per capita. There is a collective soul in Belgium».

Galleries and private collectors from around the world come to get in touch with Belgian collectors, thanks to most of the works being for sale. The works displayed in museums and institutions are the only pieces that aren’t acquirable. 

From local artists to international participants

The artists exhibiting within the galleries and institutions are the special guests first and foremost. This year, patrons can expect guests’ artists from home turf and around the world.
From Belgium, Benoit Platéus will be one of the featured artists. Benoit was born and raised in Belgium and is currently based in Brussels. Within his paintings, he plays on the theme of space and affiliation between mediums, exploring abstraction. During Brussels Gallery Weekend, his artwork will be on display at the contemporary art gallery, Meessen De Clercq. 

Also hailing from Belgium, photographer Sébastien Bonin will be one of the special guest artists to be present. Mr. Bonin is known for his photographic process and manipulating color and forms, constantly moving between representation of the subject and abstraction to create a surreal image of landscapes and patterns. Visitors can find Sébastien Bonin’s work at the Michel Rein Gallery. For the fifteenth anniversary, Mr. Bonin will also be supporting a project with Partner Youth Centers. Kids will prepare a show with his support and their work will be displayed at the Meeting Point. 

Artists from overseas are going to join Brussels Gallery Weekend

Artists from overseas will be making the journey to Brussels as well. Los Angeles based emerging artist Aryo Toh Djojo is known for his paintings depicting spirituality though Ufology. His work will be on display at the Stems Gallery, which regularly exhibit the work of ascending artists. 

French artist Prune Nourry is expected to attend Brussels Gallery Weekend as well. She lives and works between Paris, New York, and Brussels, marrying the concept of globalization in the artistic realm. She’s an artist who likes to question the relation to the notice of balance concerning body, healing, imbalance due to gender, and between living spaces.

Her artistic style blends performance, sculptures, and videos to create innovative techniques, and frequently works with numerous types of materials. Prune Nourry’s projects are based on meetings with psychoanalysts, geneticists, and anthropologist specialists. During Gallery Weekend, visitors can find Ms. Nourry’s work at the Templon Gallery, located in the heart of Brussels. 

Generation Brussels 

In addition to collaborating with galleries, Brussels Gallery Weekend organizes their own exhibitions, termed Generation Brussels. This addition to Brussels Gallery Weekend was created in 2018, and this year, in 2022, it is celebrating its fifth anniversary. The aim of this exhibition is to highlight the younger generation of artists living in Brussels who aren’t yet represented by a specific gallery. 

Generation Brussels 2022 will be curated by Maud Salembier. Ms. Salembier has a background in art and film history and has worked for galleries such as Bozar and Argos as an exhibition coordinator, along with experience directing resident artists. Maud is currently a professor at ESA Saint-Luc Bruxelles, while maintaining roles as an independent curator and author. In February 2018, she created LaSapore, a nomadic curational and editorial platform with an aim to publicize and support contemporary artistic creation. 

Louise Phillips started Generation Brussels five years ago, with the aim to be a springboard for younger artists. «At the start of Gallery Weekend, the aim was mostly to remind the Belgian public that galleries were open and offer a wide range of exhibitions by globally renowned artists in town, all for free», claims Ms. Phillips.

The event evolved, alongside the galleries, and the committee decided to continue to support younger artists who aren’t yet represented, to give them visibility during those four days, in hopes to initiate conversations with galleries, curators, and institutions. To participate in Generation Brussels, the artist can be of any nationality, but they must be residing in Brussels. 

Digital Art in The Works

Now more than ever, there’s a growing appreciation for digital art, specifically NFT artwork. Selling for millions of euros and the public becoming eager to learn more, Brussels Gallery Weekend may be gearing up to ease in some NFTs and welcome digital art in the future. NFT art is a concept that is still quite new for curators and gallerists. Most galleries for now are concentrating on works of art produced by hand, not all of them are open to NFTs yet. 

According to director Louise Phillips, she claims their job is to remind people to visit galleries and see real art in physical spaces, meet one-on-one with the artists, exchange knowledge and information with them, along with the gallerists. However, to keep up with the digital trend, Brussels Gallery Weekend is launching a new website in August to maintain an online version of the event for those who can’t travel. They don’t consider this website to be digital art per say. 

During the lockdowns of the pandemic, organizers of the event created a virtual gallery with Google, and it was hit. Users from all around the world accessed Brussels Gallery Weekend online, and this year Ma. Phillips is hoping for a pilgrimage of admires from around the world.

Since 2007 Brussels Gallery Weekend four-day event has sustained and promoted the Brussels artistic scene, shining a spotlight on local and international artists.

For its fifteenth anniversary event, held from September 8th to 11th 2022, Brussels Gallery weekend will feature large-scale artworks from both established and emerging artists in a new location: the 25,000 square meters former printing office of the National Bank of Belgium. contemporary visual art in Brussels.

Kaitlyn Durbin

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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item collections in limited edition
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Hemp production in Italy
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