This year’s edition of Brussels’ premier art fair, Art Brussels, is once again upon us, and we’ve spent the better part of Friday morning touring the halls and scanning the aisles on the lookout for those stands, and their exhibited wares, that you shouldn’t miss. And here, in no particular order, are those mostly Belgian galleries that, in our view, distinguish themselves from the rest.

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Kromus + Zink (3D – 02)

The Berlin-based gallery with somewhat of a penchant for Belgian artists, once again gives Rinus van de Velde prime positioning, with one of the Antwerp-based artist’s signature large-formal charcoal quasi-self-portraits visible at the stand’s entrance. Inside, a superb poster-size charcoal drawing by Hannelore van Dijck (whom we featured extensively in our Third Quarter Edition) can be seen hanging. This stand has, over the years, become a must for us at The Word.

Alice Gallery (3C – 16)

On show at Alice’s stand is a pair of magnificent paintings by artist Paul Wackers that depict thick-skinned botanical interiors. Both were made during a recent residency in Norway. Also exhibited is a neon-coloured silkscreen by Maya Hayuk as well as several paintings by homegrown heroes Pica Pica. Always a refreshing and vibrant stand.

Albert Baronian (1C – 27)

Standouts at Albert Baronian’s space included a piece by Belgian artist Xavier Mary that consisted of acoustic panels used for highways that have been given a grayscale-gradient as well as a stunning large-format photograph of Paris’ underwoods by French photographer Eric Poitevin. 

Geukens & De Vil (3D – 01)

Taking a bet on just one artist, Geukens & De Vil show the works of Czech-born Jaromir Novotny, a series of beautiful and seemingly fragile paintings on organza paper to which the artist had added small touches for a bit of depth and dimension. An absolute must see.

Base Alpha (3A – 37)

Undoubtedly one of the revelations of this year’s edition, at least for us, Antwerp-based Base Alpha are showing a series of striking Polaroid-enlargements by Belgian photographer Michele Matyn. Set within thick, heavy wood frames and printed on embossed paper fiber, the series depicts the interiors of a grotto, albeit through a highly suggestive manner. if there’s one stand you should visit during the fair, this one is it.

Galerie van der Mieden (3D – 18)

Galerie van der Mieden shows, amongst other, a series of photographic trompe l’oeils by Brazilian artist Caio Reisewitz, who also currently has a solo show at the gallery’s space in the center of town. Also showing are two prints by Belgian photographer Filip Dujardin that take as starting point architecture and add surrealistic elements to it meaning you’re never really sure what you’re look at is, actually, what you’re looking at. Finally, on the stand’s outer wall, a superb print by Danish photographer Adam Jeppensen, whom we had first discovered at Amsterdam’s Unseen, can be seen. A stand we’ve taken a habit of always visiting. 

Galerie Rodolphe Janssen (1D – 27)

Historically one of the big-wig galleries at Art Brussels, Brussels’ Rodolphe Janssen’s stand once again doesn’t disappoint. Taking the prize for most inventive and original piece, Adam McEwen’s TBC, 2015, (inject print on cellulose sponge) surely made us take a closer look. The gallery is also showing a mesmerising series of five works (mixed media on paper) by Romanian twin brothers Gert & Uwe Tobias.

Fifty One Fine Art Gallery (1A – 15)

The Antwerp-based gallery, always a favourite of ours at Art Brussels, was showing an intriguing print by German photograph Michael Wolf, who captures rooftops in such a manner as to completely remove any sense of depth and distance.

Messen de Clercq (1B – 01)

The Brussels-based gallery’s stand, although substantial, seemed to be entirely monopolised by the works of José Maria Sicilla, whom we had already noticed at one of the fair’s previous editions. True to form, the Spanish painter shows a series of abstract paintings, both large and medium-format, whose colour palette simply dazzles in subtlety. Also showing are still life paintings by Fabrice Samyn. A must see.

Office Baroque (1D – 18)

A striking piece on show at Office Baroque’s stand is the Keith Farquhar scribble on corrugated, galvanised steel. Brings a bit of much-needed street thuggery to the overly pompous prevailing air. 

Also not to be missed during the fair are the stands of:

  1. Tatjana Pieters (3A – 09), for a charcoal drawing by Birde Vanheerswynghels.
  2. Galerie Daniel Templon (1B – 27), for a signature Jonathan Meese canvas.
  3. Gladstone (1B – 16), for Andro Wekua’s oil, pastel, chalk and paint stick canvas.
  4. Jablonka Maruani Mercier Gallery (1B – 52), for The Wrong Place I to V, a series of lovely water-coloursby George Shaw.
  5. Nadja Villene (3B – 12), for three flower prints by Belgian photographer  Jacqueline Mesmaeker.

Last but not least, a series of concerts by local bands and artists will be taking place throughout the fair. Here’s our personal pick:

Saturday 24th April

  1. Musique Chienne at 16h00.
  2. Bright Entity at 17h00.
  3. Different Fountains at 18h00.

Sunday 25th April

  1. Mittland och Leo at 16h00.
  2. Dennis Tyfus / Vom Grill at 17h00.
Art Brussels runs until Monday 27th April at 20h00.