Cultural life in Brussels might shift into lower gear during the summer but contrary to popular belief, it does not die and disappear into a vortex of oblivion. Amongst the recommendable activities available to those whom, by choice or by necessity, will spend the better days of the summer in the city, the opening of a new contemporary art gallery has obviously caught our attention.

Marc Strijbos, the gallery owner, and Jodie Hruby, the artistic director, didn’t wait for the end of the holiday season to inaugurate this new space located downtown, on the ground floor of a new building rue Vieux Marché aux Grains/Oude Graanmarkt. Unlike most gallery owners, who tend to christen their ventures after their own names, they baptized the space “Naked State,” in reference to the simplest and truest condition of art they want to promote.

1_Installation-View
2_Installation-View

For the inaugural exhibition, entitled “Terminal Beauty,” Jodie presents her selection of emerging artists she spotted at the Master graduation jury in the art schools La Cambre (Brussels), Sint Lukas (Brussels) and Hisk (Ghent). The proposal is of course generous – offering a real visibility and a professional context to artists coming out of schools – but it is furthermore successful. Gathering the works of artists, who at first glance don’t share much except for their young age, is indeed a delicate exercise. Jodie readily avoided falling into the trap of the “store display” layout. Instead, she even blocked her own window by a large repetitive structure of Kevin Aerts. Visitors should therefore cross the entrance to see the show…

Sophie Giraux, L'espace d'une année en une minute; video projection; 4'00" loop, 2010, edition of 3

Sophie Giraux, L'espace d'une année en une minute; video projection; 4'00" loop, 2010, edition of 3

Maxime Crombez, Structure (framed), 2010

Maxime Crombez, Structure (framed), 2010

Inside, videos, paintings, drawings and installations are gathered. If no statement or even artist name is given (“the naked state”), Jodie, who works in the space, will happily provide you with any requested information and, by the same occasion, share her enthusiasm for the works exhibited. She may, for instance, explain that a video projection of the numbers 1 to 31 succeeding at a rapid rate is based on a precise calculation (1 year equals 1 minute) and that this unbridled race of numbers reminds us of the transience of time. She may also direct your attention to a small slide projection showing a simple list of words (such as “rain,” “room”…), and tell you they correspond to the tools of the artist’s grandparents, a couple of professional magicians, needed for their performances. Seemingly trivial words loaded with enchanting powers…

Overall, a sense of fragility dominates, which goes along the exhibition context (a new gallery dedicated to emerging artistic languages). The accuracy of the selection, coupled with Jodie’s generous and optimistic attitude can only be a good omen. A gallery to see and to follow!

Sarah Majerus, Untitled; oil on canvas; 130cm x100cm, 2010

Sarah Majerus, Untitled; oil on canvas; 130cm x100cm, 2010

Jodie Hruby

Jodie Hruby

Rue du Vieux Marché aux Grains 57 Oude Graanmarkt
1000 Brussels
+ 32 (0) 2 512 13 11
www.nakedstategallery.com