Beyond Borders

Timefold, 2015, by Petroc Sesti

The meaning of ‘borders’

In this exhibition 37 European and Arabic artists are presenting their own view on the concept of ‘borders‘. They all raise questions about the meaning and consequences of borders. Usually the inhabitants of a country have no influence at all on the decisions made by politicians about borders and migration. But it’s these people who suffer the most from the consequences of the decisions. We don’t have to look very far to find examples: people dying on the Mediterranean Sea trying to reach Europe, Mexican children being kept in prison on the border with the USA or the many conflicts in Gaza.

The artists are showing us different types of borders. There are natural borders created by mountains, rivers or the desert. A lot of the current borders of countries worldwide are originated by simply following these natural borders. But there are also a lot of artificial borders, splitting regions into different countries. This redrawing of border lines by politicians is always combined with conflicts and war.

The curators wanted to create a dialogue between the different artists, but I didn’t always see the connection between them. Sometimes the link between the artwork and the theme seems a bit far-fetched. I am very glad to have discovered new artists and there were a few strong pieces of art that I will remember. Personally I find that the work of famous artists like Anish Kapoor and Jan Fabre is unnecessary in this exhibition. The other art is strong enough to stand on its own. Keep reading to see my favorite artworks.

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The Light of Spirit

Olga de Amaral at La Patinoire Royale / Valérie Bach Brussels

Olga de Amaral

Although Olga de Amaral is a world-famous artist, she is not yet known to the general public in Europe. Aged 86, this Colombian artist has been making art for more than 60 years. People call her a ‘textile artist‘ or a ‘fiber artist‘ but she’s more than that. She started off by making traditional tapestries.  In the 60’s she gained fame by exposing her fiber pieces in a group show at the MOMA in New York. Before then, the rooms of the MOMA were only intended to show paintings or sculptures. At that time textile art wasn’t appreciated as it is today. De Amaral played an important role in showing people that textiles can be a form of art rather than just a craft.

La Patinoire Royale – Galerie Valérie Bach is currently hosting the first Belgian retrospective of Olga de Amaral, displaying no less than 40 artworks as well as a video called ‘The House of My Imagination’.

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Djamel Merbah – Couleurs d’argile

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Djamel Merbah

Hello! Once again, there is a lot of art to see in Brussels this time of the year. My ‘things to visit’-list is growing almost every day. Besides the main exhibitions at Bozar, Wiels and other big museums, I also want to pay attention to artwork from less known artists. That’s why it seemed worth the effort to check out the work of Djamel Merbah at Espace Magh.

Djamel Merbah was born in Algeria in 1949 and came to Belgium in the 70’s. He graduated at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Art in Brussels and Liège and did several exhibitions in Algeria and Europe. So let’s see what his work is about! (Please note that the paintings where only numbered, so I can’t give you any titles.)

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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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Expo Koen Theys & Gülsün Karamustafa

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.

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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 🙂 .

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Vanhaerents Art Collection – part II

This is part II of my review of the Vanhaerents Art Collection. I visited the exhibition ‘Man in the Mirror‘ during the Heritage Days in September 2015. There was so much I wanted to tell you that I couldn’t even fit it into one blogpost.  Read part I here.

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NO made by Mark Handforth. The artist is known for his playful and bold sculptures. Here we see a kind of traffic sign that looks like it fell on the ground. It seems damaged. Handforth wants you to experience the artwork from very close by so you can feel its physical presence.

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fragil

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Fragil is the name of an exhibition that is organized on the occasion of the new Zinneke Parade that will take place in 2016. The exhibition is an introduction to the theme fragility. No less than 17 artists currently show their vision on this theme in an old abandoned supermarket in the center of Brussels. If you are in Brussels this week, go take a look because it’s closing again on 19/10/2015. I definitely feel inspired by this expo and I would recommend it to everyone! 

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Art Brussels

Hello everyone!

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Today I show you my impressions of Art Brussels, the contemporary art fair at Brussels Expo. Last year I went for the first time and I really liked it. For this year I received free tickets, so I was curious to discover what’s new. The goal of the art fair is off course to sell art to the visitors. Even if you don’t have a budget to buy anything (like me), it’s still worth taking a look. I especially appreciate the fact that there are many Belgian galleries present, and a lot of young artists. The only thing that can be annoying is the fact that some of the visitors are a bit snobby, like on every art fair. But don’t be bothered by it! I think it’s rather funny how people try to outclass each other :). Art Brussels is only 3 days, so there isn’t much time left to go see for yourself. Let me show you a few of the artists I (re)discovered.

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