Gone in 12 hours: Art Asylum

There’s something about spontaneous, one-off initiatives that gets our clocks ticking. You see, we’re firm believers in ‘mix-and-we’ll-see’ creative collisions, preferring the unknown to the predictable, the loose-ended to the pre-defined. So it was with much trepidation (and, granted, a raised eyebrow or two) that we stepped into Art Asylum, a 12-hour-only, 20-man-strong get together of local talent that put improvisation firmly at the centre of its mantra. Set in a former Catholic library just off Brussels’ Matongue neighbourhood, the pop-up art mashup united a merry band of painters (organiser Clyde Knowland, Alex, L’Opera, Obes, Luis Pollet, Sambr and Matthew Crasner), film directors (Yassin Serghini of Piwifilms and Helene Greindl), artists (Anna Michalska and Jerôme Desert), VJs (Pierre de Muelenare), DJs (Prince Off – P3P, Leftorium), photographers (Clemence Demesme) and musicians (a saxophonist and a yet-to-be-named indie noise outfit) in a main room overlooked by a magnificent 360 degree mezzanine. Having been given as sole instruction to consider the actual room the artwork and themselves as protagonists of a larger piece of work, each artist proceeded to get down to work, some mixing pots of paint, others sound checking. A general sense of euphoria slowly kicked in as the night got closer, with pockets of creativity popping up here and there, imbuing the main room with a raw and overpowering sense of togetherness. This was participative creation at its best, with each artists feeding off each other’s energy, creating a general mood which was at times playful, at times intense, at times sexy, at times cold, at times uplifting and at times somber. The final call to action came when the DJ went off on a dark and hypnotic trip, giving artist Jerôme Desert his cue to get his balloon performance going. And, with that, the night drew to a close, the venue still reeling from the incursion it had just been subjected to and the participants not quite sure what they had just taken part in. All they knew is that it was special, and that they’d be back.

Watch the video here