Happy New Year! What would you like to change or achieve this year? I was never a fan of New Year’s resolutions, but this year I do feel the need to think about what goals I would like to achieve. My boyfriend’s grandfather once told me that it’s important to have a goal in your life. I never forgot this sentence and the older I get, the more I think that he’s right!
I’m pretty sure that 2016 will be an exciting year for me. Tomorrow I’m starting a new job and in a few months we are moving to a different part of town. Of course we are not leaving Brussels 😉 . We need to do some renovations so I’m curious how that is going to work out. For now, we already started reading books about interior design to have an idea how we want it. A little dreaming never hurt anyone… These are my resolutions for 2016:
I want to see as much art exhibitions as possible, even if I am too busy with work or other things.
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
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.
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:
Funeral Fish, 2015 by Pascal Bernier.
Did you see the cartoons that are hanging outside of the Halles Saint-Gery/Sint-Gorikshallen? Some of the most famous Belgian cartoonists are showing their view on Brussels. I think it’s quite amusing, although they couldn’t all please me.
Anyway, I thought you might want to see them 😉 .
Hello everyone! Do you know what I like most about living in Brussels? That I get to meet lots of people from different cultures with different traditions. A friend of mine was getting married and since she told me it was going to be a mixed Moroccan-European wedding, I wanted to know all about the Moroccan wedding traditions 🙂 . She invited me to witness the henna ritual and gave me permission to take pictures!
The henna ritual is an importent element of a Muslim wedding, not only in Morocco but also in Turkey, Pakistan and so on. A few days before the wedding, a professional henna artist applies the henna on the bride’s hands and feet. Depending on the region where the bride’s family comes from, there are different patterns and styles to choose from. In the pictures and video you will see a Tanger inspired version.
The Brussels museums are slowly reopening their doors, so I can finally tell you about an exhibition worth visiting: MYSTIC TRANSPORT @ the Centrale For Contemporary Art. In the context of the Europalia Arts Festival, whose focus is on Turkey, the Centrale invited the Brussels artist Koen Theys & the Turkish artist Gülsün Karamustafa. The result is an interesting mix of cultures. I would say that the expo is about how to live as an individual in a society with different cultures, that is constantly changing.
Corner pieces, Koen Theys. There are many of these green ‘humps’ in the exhibition space. They have like little heads that are watching us. It makes me thinks of some kind of bacteria that can infect us all if we are not careful 🙂 .
As you all know, there is not much to do in the city this weekend due to the terror threat level 4. Almost all public places are closed and there are no metros, so I have no other choice than to stay home. Hopefully it will pass very soon so we can go back to a normal life again…
I found the perfect pastime for this Sunday: a documentary that is called How Art Made The World, made in 2005 by BBC. I borrowed the dvd in Muntpunt (also closed this weekend). There are 5 dvd’s, good for 270 minutes of entertainment 🙂 . I only watched 2 of them so far, but I’m ready to install myself on the couch with a cup of tea and some chocolate. Let’s see a little fragment so that I can convince you it’s worth watching.
A few weeks ago I visited the Pop Art exhibition @ the ING Art Center (Place Royale). I think it’s about time that I share my experience 😉 .
Actually, I’m not such a big fan of Pop Art, but I do like the ING Art Center. I really appreciated their exhibition of Alfredo Jaar in 2012. Now, Belgian Pop Art? Hmm, how come I never heard about that before? It made me curious enough to go take a look!
I always write a blogpost on Sunday, so for today I had something in mind about a great exhibition in Brussels. It’s just that I can’t pretend that this is a regular weekend. I’m shocked about what happened in Paris. Every book I read about blogging has learned me not to write anything when feeling very emotional or angry. Today I’m breaking that rule because yes, I am angry, yes, I am scared and yes, I feel really sad.
It’s heartbreaking to see all the messages passing by on twitter from people who lost their child, friend or husband. All these people are suffering and they will suffer for a long time. There is an expression that goes like this: if it rains in Paris, it drips in Brussels. So yes, in Brussels we can certainly feel the suffering too. I love Paris for the same reason I love Brussels: the little streets, the open-minded citizens, the cultural and artistic scene and the freedom to be who you are. All this has been swept away this weekend. Not entirely, because that wil never be possible.
I’m going to see the concert of Kamasi Washington this Monday in the AB. I wrote a blogpost about it this summer, and I remember something he said about the Ferguson shootings (read the full blogpost here). He said: “What fixes your spirit when Ferguson happens? It hurts your spirit, it hurts your heart and soul. You need something to fix it.” That’s what he’s trying to do with his music, to fix our souls.
It takes time to heal the pain that is caused, but I am convinced that Kamasi will at least make me forget about this fucked up world for a few hours.
Are you the kind of person that avoids the shopping district during the holiday season? Check! Ok, I admit that the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve can be a cozy time, but it’s so commercialized that it becomes exhausting. Especially if they put up the Christmas decoration more than a month before Christmas, pff. I know that Brussels is very proud of the Christmas market at Place Sainte-Cathérine (Winterpret/Plaisir d’Hiver), but I absolutely hate it. Too much people and not a lot of things to do.
As much as I hate gift shopping during that period, I do like to open presents myself 🙂 . And isn’t it nice to see someone’s face when they open the present you gave them? I selected 7 of my favorite shops in Brussels where I like to buy gifts for friends, family or myself. A lot of the shops have things for both men and women.