Carl De Keyzer: Cuba, la lucha

Hello! Today I’m telling you about a great exhibition in the Roberto Polo Gallery. I pass by this gallery every day on my way to work. I never walked in before, until the name of one of my favorite belgian photographers appeared in the window display…!

Carl De Keyzer

I once wrote a small article about Carl De Keyzer at university for a class about photography. To prepare myself, I went to the Munpunt library close to De Brouckère and found 2 books: Moments before the flood (2012) and Congo (Belge)(2009). For his series Moments before the flood, De Keyzer travelled along the European coastline to photograph sea landscapes. In his pictures you can feel the power of nature. There’s a tension between the smallness of human beings and the powerful sea that could swallow a piece of land any time. These are images I won’t forget in a long time. But the second book about the traces of our colonial history in the Congo, was the one that moved me even more. It has some really shocking images about our past that we rarely get to see in a land that tries to hide its colonial history. I hope to own a copy of these books some day! Check the Muntpunt collection if you like to know more about belgian photography 😉 . Carl De Keyzer is a member of the world famous co-operative, called Magnum Photos, founded by one of the most known photographers ever, Henri Cartier-Bresson. But let’s talk about Cuba now!

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Andres Serrano ‘Meet the artist’

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Hello! A few years ago I saw a documentary about the use of crucifixes in art. They talked about a work of art called ‘Piss Christ‘ from the American artist Andres Serrano. A lot of people were very angry because they thought Piss Christ was an insult to Christianity, so the picture was vandalized. I didn’t really know what to think of it, but it was certainly an image that stayed in my head. When I saw a poster of a new exhibition in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, I knew I had to see it! A retrospective about the work of Andres Serrano opened this week and it seems to attract a lot of people. I participated in a ‘Meet the artist’ event with a group of people. We had a guided tour by the artist himself, and I must say he’s a very nice person! Are you ready to meet him?

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Agnès Varda returns to Brussels

Hello everyone! I said it before, but I still think that if there is anything we Belgians can be proud of, it’s our belgian art. In my journey to learn more about belgian artists, Agnès Varda couldn’t be left out. When I was a student, her name was mentioned a few times in a course about visual art. I never saw her work in real life though, until now. There’s an exhibition in the Museum of Elsene/Ixelles called ‘Patates & companies’ (potatoes & company)!

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What can you expect?

I very much appreciated the exhibition because it has a personal touch. Agnès Varda lived in Ixelles when she was a kid and you can feel that she still has a strong connection with the neighborhood, even though she left Belgium a long time ago. 

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M. Chat expo in Brussels

Hello! As simple as the drawing might be, this cat makes me happy! Chances are it has the same effect on you, just admit it 😉 . Monsieur Chat is created by the Swiss street artist Thoma Vuille who lives in Paris for the moment.

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The design of M. Chat is based on a children’s drawing, but the artist made it into a very powerful symbol that is known in big cities all over the world. With its first appearance in France, Monsieur Chat could be seen on rooftops or high walls, looking over the city with his big smile. The intention of Toma Vuille is very clear: he wants to make people happy by showing them a cute cat.  It’s not complicated at all, but it works! Cities can be gray sometimes and when you’re in the morning rush to go to your work it might be nice to see M. Chat, even for a few seconds, especially when you didn’t expect it. Monsieur Chat can be seen in several cities in France, but also in The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Sarajevo, Vietnam, Senegal, Japan, South Korea and Brazil. The only thing I don’t get is why not in Belgium? Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I couldn’t find any sign of M. Chat in Belgium. I would love to see Monsieur Chat in Brussels! For now, the only way to see him is to visit the Martine Ehmer Gallery, where the artist is currently exposing.

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Macbeth: My first opera experience

In January I wrote a blog post about my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016. One of my resolutions was to go to the theater once in a while, because it’s something that I’m not really familiar with. Well, since the beginning of 2016, I tried two different pieces. The first one was a play called ‘Robin Hassan Hood‘, a story about the fact that people who live in the suburbs all over the world are facing the same struggle. It’s like living in a jungle where you have to find a way to survive. I did like the play, but it didn’t move me in any way. But then this weekend I saw Macbeth in the KVS, an opera directed by Brett Baily. Wow! After seeing it I wasn’t able to talk because I was fighting back tears. I will show you a short video at the end so you can have an idea of what to expect.

7 Owen Metsileng as Macbeth - photo by Nicky Newman(photos by Nicky Newman, source: KVS website)

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Boris Tellegen @ Alice Gallery

Boris Tellegen is a Dutch artist also known as Delta. Delta is the name he used when he became active in the street art scene. Alice Gallery is currently presenting his work and since I love art with a street background, I really wanted to see it. Before I tell you something more about the artist, let’s see some pictures. 

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Akram Haissoufi : Après les murs

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Hello! I was thinking of going to the BRAFA art fair this weekend, but when I saw the entrance fee on their website, I thought it was better to go for plan B. I asked myself ‘how can I see great art in Brussels for free?’ You would be surprised of the possibilities! I decided to go see the exhibition of Akram Haissoufi at Espace Magh, rue du Poinçon 17 (close to Central station). 

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I assume Akram Haissoufi is a relatively unknown artist, because there is not much information about him online. All I can tell you so far is that he’s a visual artist and film maker from Morocco. The expo ‘Après les murs’ tells the story of people who leave their country to get a better life in another country. It’s about crossing borders and bumping into walls (both real and metaphorical). Being able to leave your country is a human right written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s not easy to get across the borders and people are often labeled as ‘illegal‘. The artist also refers to the fact that the new country is probably very different from what they had imagined.  He represents their mental journey during this process. Today thousands of refugees are crossing boarders in search for a better life, so with that in mind I took a look at the paintings.

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Public art in Brussels: the man from Atlantis

There’s something strange about public art. On the one hand, there are sculptures that you can’t ignore and that everybody has an opinion about. Like the red blocks from Arne Quinze at the belgian coast for example. You either love it or hate it. On the other hand, some artworks are just as remarkable, and yet people don’t pay attention to them. How come? Like this strange creature for example. Did you see him yet?

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Top 3 current expositions in Brussels

As you know, Brussels has a lot to offer when it comes to modern and contemporary art. The New York Times even wrote that Brussels is the new Berlin because it attracts a lot of international artists. You can find the full article here. In the past months I visited several exhibitions and art galleries. I didn’t have time to see everything on my list, but these are the 3 exhibitions I think you shouldn’t miss:

1. I BELGI. BARBARI E POETI

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If there is one thing we Belgians can be proud of, it’s that we have a lot of artists that made it in the international art world. From the modern masters like Permeke, Magritte, Broodthaers, Spilliaert or Alechinsky, to the new generation like Koen Vanmechelen, Berlinde De Bruyckere or even Hell’o Monsters. The exhibition focuses on the barbaric, unique, crazy, poetic, playful and unusual work of these Belgian artists. Think about dancing skeletons, a tattooed Jesus or a face made of little plastic soldiers. I love it! See more pictures and video’s here. You can visit the expo until 24 January 2016 in the Vanderborght building in Brussels.

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I Belgi – Barbari e poeti

Last weekend I visited an exhibition about Belgian art in the Vanderborght building in Brussels, called I BELGI – BARBARI E POETI. What? It’s Italian for ‘The Belgians, Barbarians and Poets’. I love the concept of this expo! It’s about  the barbaric, unique, crazy, poetic, playful and unusual work of Belgian artists. The title is in Italian because in Rome, Caesar once said that Belgian warriors are the most barbaric and fearless of them all. The expo shows old famous artworks, like Permeke, Magritte, Spilliaert, Broodthaers, as well as the new generation, like Koen Vanmechelen, Berlinde De Bruyckere and even Hell’o Monsters. It was the first time I visited the Vanderborght building, and I was pleasantly surprised. I wonder what will happen to the building, since the government is planning to sell it. These are a few of my favorite artworks:

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Funeral Fish, 2015 by Pascal Bernier.

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