Dog days like these – when meagre desk fans just won’t cut it and the prospect of being in closed quarters has your forehead dripping – are ideal to seek refuge in the vast and deliciously chilled premises of the city’s art centres and galleries. Below are some of our locations of choice when it comes to updating ourselves on the current art scene or just simply escaping from any square inch of sun in sight.
La Centrale Electrique
As its name aptly suggests, the contemporary art centre is housed in a former power plant. Design aficionados counting the days until September can satisfy their crave with Fighting The Box (until 3rd October), an exhibition celebrating the relationship between designers and their industry. Your chance to see 20 Belgian designers (among which Marina Bautier, Sylvain Willenz, Xavier Lust or Nathalie Dewez) who open their “box”, confess about the design challenges they face and unveil the association between the creative approach and industrial production.
Place Sainte-Catherine 44 Sint-Katelijneplaats
+ 32 (0)2 279 64 52
Opened in 2002 by two well-known figures of the art world (Albert Baronian and Edmond Francey), Baronian Francey has a knack for finding the best new talent, unrelentlessly nurturing and championing it through solo exhibitions, liaising with international galleries and museums as well as creating a historical archive for each of its protégés. Make sure to catch Xavier Mary’s Over Game installation (pictured above) before the gallery closes for the summer on 17th July.
Rue Isidore Verheydenstraat 2
+32 (0) 2 512 92 95
Galerie Sans Titre
Drawing its name from a timeless habit recurring amongst uninspired artists, the “untitled” gallery has hosted solo exhibitions by international emerging artists such as Ninar Esber, Ane Graff, Sarah Westphal, Rui Calçada Bastos (pictured above) as well as group shows of local young talent and certified names like Richard Kern or Lee Ranaldo. Opened just over a year ago, the Galerie Sans Titre has established itself as one of the compulsory stops of the Canal district’s flourishing art scene and our favourite address when it comes to exciting, experimental and avant-garde work.
22 Boulevard Barthélémylaan
+32 (0) 2 513 35 32
It was about time the capital of Europe had its own proper contemporary art centre. Therefore it’s no wonder the highly anticipated Wiels generated a fair amount of buzz when opening in 2007. The likes of Mike Kelley, Luc Tuymans, and Ben Cain have displayed their work in the in the former Wielemans-Ceuppens brewery since, confirming the success and necessity of such an institution. Currently showing are Rehabilitation (until 15th August), a group exhibition by young artists exploring modernist architecture and design, and Wangechi Mutu’s My Dirty Little Heaven (until 12th September), which we reviewed last week.
Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354
+32 (0)2 340 00 50
Jerome Jacobs provoked quite the stir by opening a gallery in an old building of the upmarket Stephanie Square area in 1998, when the main trend was to occupy vast, disused warehouses along the sides of the canal. Purposely drawing attention to the bourgeois aspect of art collections that others were seeking to dismiss, Aeroplastics offers visitors a refreshing alternative to the standard – if not trite – white cube aesthetic. Summer exhibition The Alchemy of Delusion (until 14th August) introduces the work of Pat Andrea, Ion Bîrlàdeanu, Martin Kasper and Wolfe von Lenkiewicz amongst others.
Rue Blanche 32 Wittestraat
+32 (0) 2 537 22 02