With contemporary art crowds flocking to Brussels from all over, we headed over to Independent art fair, who’s second edition taking place this weekend at the city’s Vanderborght building, and came back with a little review of our afternoon spent walking through the venue’s many halls.
Photography Thomas Ost
1. Super Dakota: Alex Clarke’s Under the Sky in Your Eye (Window) (2016-17)
Young, fresh and vigorous: the British painter’s unfaltering inquiry into the philosophy and nature “practice”. What is a practice? Actions over objects? What does it mean to create? A careful study of colour construction, sensibility and perception.
2. Tatjana Pieters: Michael Pybus’ New Wave (2017. Acrylic x UV blacklight paint x ink)
Borrowing from a wide array of art history and pop culture references, Pybus creates punchy, nostalgic remixes of the familiar – displaced from its original context, yet still harmonious, thanks to the artist’s repetition and signature style. Poignant remarks on the relationships between the art industry and consumerism, fetishisation and value systems.
3. Gladstone Gallery: Kasper Bosmans’ Legend Painting (2016-17. Gouache x poplar panels)
The new local art scene’s darling: Bosman’s three dainty yet pertinent miniature “work indexes”, which serve as the starting points for his larger, and more concrete visual installations – also present at this stall. A chance to peak into the mind and working process of one of Belgium’s rising stars.
4. Tim Van Laere Gallery: Kati Heck’s Schutzengel of Painting (2015. Textile x polystyrene x metal x epoxy)
Heck’s large, plushy two-piece installation of a decapitated “protective angel” is sure to grab your attention. Based on the German artist’s autobiographical influences, it’s however intended to be entirely open to interpretation. Heck’s demand for museums and galleries’ trust in artists – which, thankfully, Tim Van Laere never fails to do.
5. Travesía Cuatro: Jorge Méndez Blake’s The Exploration Library (2017. Pencil x paper)
From afar it could pass as a simplistic black and white photograph, but closer inspection reveals a hyper-realistic pencil mural of the leafy Amazonian rainforest. Méndez Blake’s decolonial exploration into ideas of utopias and progress, through metaphors of libraries and cultural imperialism is quite frankly just breathe-taking.
6. Office Baroque: Alexandre da Cunha’s Slit VI (2016. Maraca x hemp string x acrylic x linen)
In line with the Brazilian artist’s abstract, monochromatic aesthetics, this large mural is another example of his works inspired by found objects – in this case, the maraca. A compelling juxtaposition of the hard, neo-concrete geometry with the playful exoticism.
7. Trampoline: Vaast Colson’s Liberatomania (2017)
The Antwerp-based artist’s interactive and inquisitive art installations, based on the classic children’s game hangman. A fun yet effective way of grabbing your attention, and creating the yearn to learn more. Art for – and with – the masses.
8. Air de Paris: Eliza Douglas’ Follow Me (2017. Oil paint)
The young American-based-in-Germany multimedia artist’s first ever art fair show, thanks to the Paris-based independent gallery. Soft yet attention-grabbing hyper-realism of the artist’s own swirling hands, reflecting Douglas’ fresh take on contemporary painting. An opportunity to say you saw her here first, in the years to come.
9. The Approach: Germaine Kruip’s Rhombus (2017. Polished brass)
A reflection of the Dutch-born, Brussels-based theatrical artist’s work on geometry, sound and art: Kruip collaborated specially with the musical instrument maker Thein Brass to design a fully functioning, diamond-shaped triangle instrument. Suspended in the air, it invites you to take it into your hands – if you’re lucky, you might be able to witness it being used for real.
10. MAGNIN-A: Amadou Sanogo’s Sans tête L’Amour se pend (2017. Acrylics)
A vibrant mural, with as much intrigue in its outer appearance as it does in its hidden and non-conventional working process. Made in Sanogo’s open atelier, it is a product of – or rather, a reaction against – his everyday realities within the struggles and violence in Bamaka. Warm, comforting primary colours, with strong hints of subversion and resistance.
Worth mentioning: Elephant
For contemporary art lovers: the rather rare and collectible Elephant magazines are made available at Independent. Beautiful design and cutting edge content of all ranges. Not to be missed.
Le Restaurant .Albert
Independent has all your foodie needs covered with their gastro pop-up restaurant, operated by the team behind Point Albert. A complete menu proposing only the best, fresh and seasonal produce in innovative fusion platters, to be enjoyed on the Vanderborght Building’s rooftop terrace – the perfect way to take full advantage of our current blessed weather.