Ten Belgian galleries on Art Brussels

To mark the start of Art Brussels tomorrow at 11h00, we interviewed 10 participating Belgian galleries –  Sofie van de VeldeSuper DakotaTransit GalleryRodolphe JanssenVan der Mieden GalleryD+T Projects,  Harlan LeveyAlbert BaronianXavier Hufkens, and Rossi Contemporary – to talk about the fair’s new location, evolutions since last year and why Brussels is probably one of the best places for contemporary art in the world.

Art Brussels 2015.

Art Brussels 2015.

1. Bert de Leenheer & Dirk Vanhecke, Transit Gallery

What can we look forward to seeing at your booth this year?

A great work by Mehdi-Georges Lahlou, new large scale paintings by Thomas Huber, new ceramics by Johan Creten, great paintings by Virginie Bailly and Luc Dondeyne, recent political work by Nikita Kadan and a 3 meter high sculpture by Karel Breugelmans.

How has Brussels’ contemporary art scene evolved since last year’s edition of Art Brussels?

Very dynamic, Belgian galleries all moving to Brussels, new art fairs from NYC and Paris.

Exciting.

What do you make of Art Brussels’ recent move to Tour & Taxi?

Exciting.

What other fairs and exhibitions will you be visiting during Art Brussels this year?

No time.

2. Sofie Van de Velde, Gallery Sofie Van De Velde

What can we look forward to seeing at your booth this year?

At this year’s booth we’ll be showing works by Charlotte Posenenske, Perry Roberts, Max Pinckers and Ilse D’Hollander.

How has Brussels’ contemporary art scene evolved since last year’s edition of Art Brussels?

We are not part of the Brussels art scene because our gallery is in Antwerp. We have a great country with great artists and incredible collectors.

A great country with great artists and incredible collectors.

What do you make of Art Brussels’ recent move to Tour & Taxi?

I did art fairs long time with Ronny Van de Velde one of them was BRAFA. It is a very nice place- it is also great geographique place- where you can park very well. I am very happy with the new choice.

What other fairs and exhibitions will you be visiting during Art Brussels this year?

Cinematec curated by Anouk Declerq – it’s a great program! Van Doesburg in Bozar and Vincent Meesen in Wiels.

3. Damien Bertelle-Rogier, Super Dakota

What can we look forward to seeing at your booth this year?

We will be presenting a great installation in situ made of wooden crosses by french artist Sarah Derat, along with large scale pieces by Chris Dorland and paintings by Hugo Pernet.

How has Brussels’ contemporary art scene evolved since last year’s edition of Art Brussels?

I think the scene is a bit more settled after last year’s hype, it is still growing with more newcomers, a new fair in town and more galleries. The city is growing at a good pace.

The city is growing at a good pace.

What do you make of Art Brussels’ recent move to Tour & Taxi?

It was inevitable, the old location wasn’t practical, and foreign clients were complaining about it. This is easier and cheaper to go to.

What other fairs and exhibitions will you be visiting during Art Brussels this year?

Unfortunately I won’t have the time to visit anything else really, it’s a busy time for us.

In terms of contemporary art, what would like to see more, or less, of in Brussels?

Cutting edge art.

Art Brussels 2015.

Art Brussels 2015.

4. Gregory Thirion, D+T Projects

What can we look forward to seeing at your booth this year?

We will be featuring artworks by Kristof Kintera. He is mostly known for sculpture that ranges from small mechanical devices to large installations along with the most incredible works on paper. The artist has recently had major museum shows at the Jean Tinguely Museum (Basel) and the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. He also has a lot going on in various institutions in Belgium and enjoys great support from local collectors who are eager to see more of his works. Thus we will be showing very large installations along with his newest works on paper.

How has Brussels’ contemporary art scene evolved since last year’s edition of Art Brussels?

It is difficult to say that the scene is changing dramatically in one-year’s time. I would rather say that Brussels undergoes an organic development and every year confirms its deep involvement in the field of culture and contemporary art in particular. This is obviously noticed by important exhibitions in its museums, private institutions and also in the burgeoning activity of galleries coming from abroad or that move from one space to another – with a strong focus in the upper part of the city. Along with that, international projects such as Independent from New York make their way through the local network with their first presentation during Art Brussels.

Every year, Brussels confirms its deep involvement in the field of culture and contemporary art in particular.

What do you make of Art Brussels’ recent move to Tour & Taxi?

One can only wait until the first edition to see what the major changes will be, apart from its geographical move. It will certainly profit from an infrastructure that already hosts the great BRAFA in January and that boosts a lot of visitors. Also, the fair organizers will have more freedom given the fact that they will run the fair in an environment where they have no strings attached with the managers of the Heysel, which possibly had some constraints and limitations.

What other fairs and exhibitions will you be visiting during Art Brussels this year?

Every year, Brussels offers a variety of activities to every possible audience. The VIP program increases the number of venues, but also, the artists and the gallerists have a variety of choices in terms of visits outside the fair. This being said, being part of the main fair that takes place at Tour & Taxi, it will not be very easy for us to cover all the events and we will have to make difficult choices.

In terms of contemporary art, what would like to see more, or less, of in Brussels?

Contemporary art has always been part of the local culture. Thus, people who are professionally involved in the field – colleagues gallerists, artists, collectors, auction houses, institutions journalists and those who provide a number of services in this industry such as sponsors, transporters, technicians, insurers, etc. – have their role to play. I mean, everyone can contribute in this field that has many doors and that can provide motivated people an opportunity to bring something to the building of culture. On the other side, I would not say that we should take something out of the whole thing. Because at the end of the day, those who try to do something are noticed and everyone can enjoy and learn from their experience. Culture, in its variety of facets, is an essential part of our life especially in these difficult times of financial crisis and international unrest.

5. Tamara Beheydt, Van Der Mieden Gallery

What can we look forward to seeing at your booth this year?

We will present new works by some gallery-represented artists: Alain Biltereyst, Filip Dujardin and Dirk Vander Eecken.

How has Brussels’ contemporary art scene evolved since last year’s edition of Art Brussels?

We left Brussels shortly after Art Brussels last year and are now situated in Antwerp, so it is hard to say how Brussel’s art scene has evolved.

What do you make of Art Brussels’ recent move to Tour & Taxi?

This year we expect the fair to find a new focus, with less galleries but a warmer atmosphere and a lot of activities. The new location is interesting and well situated. We look forward to exhibiting there.

We expect the fair to find a new focus, with less galleries but a warmer atmosphere.

What other fairs and exhibitions will you be visiting during Art Brussels this year?

No idea yet.

In terms of contemporary art, what would like to see more, or less, of in Brussels?

We think the Brussels art scene is very diverse, which is a very good quality. But again, not being part of the Brussels art scene anymore, this is a tough question to answer.

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6. Sybille du Roy, Rodolphe Janssen Gallery

What can we look forward to seeing at your booth this year?

This year we’ll present a group show with new artists who recently joined the gallery such as Douglas Eynon, Emily Mae-Smith but also artists we’ve been working with for many years now such as Adam McEwen, Gert & Uwe Tobias, Sam Moyer and many others.

How has Brussels’ contemporary art scene evolved since last year’s edition of Art Brussels?

This year we see many off fairs giving themselves a chance around Art Brussels. I believe this is a reflection of what’s happening in the city, very exciting no?

What do you make of Art Brussels’ recent move to Tour & Taxi?

It’s very refreshing and great to see the fair will be in the center of the city. New energy, well located and beautiful location.

Brussels’ art scene is very exciting, the city deserves more attention.

What other fairs and exhibitions will you be visiting during Art Brussels this year?

The more I can, but we might be stuck in the gallery or at the booth ;-).

In terms of contemporary art, what would like to see more, or less, of in Brussels?

More visibility for artists run spaces maybe? To show the richness of our city and all the possible discoveries. Also more foreign collectors, Brussels’ art scene is very exciting, the city deserves  more attention.

7. Harlan Levey, Harlan Levey Projects

What can we look forward to seeing at your booth this year?

This year we’ll be bringing strong pieces from three of our core artists: Marcin Dudek, TR Ericsson and Emmanuel Van der Auwera. Both Emmanuel and Marcin call Brussels home. All works we will present are part of long-term research projects, and executed in a DIY style. Media include funerary ashes, gaffer tape, polarization filters and performance.

How has Brussels’ contemporary art scene evolved since last year’s edition of Art Brussels?

There is more of everything; more artists, more galleries, more non-profits, more blogs, more shows, more, more, and more. I appreciate Art Brussels’ “Discovery” approach, because Brussels itself is a city to discover. You’d have to be an unemployed, idea-starved insomniac to take it all in. You’d also need an appetite that seeks out the unexpected. The city is wonderful, but not at all straightforward.

I appreciate Art Brussels’ “Discovery” approach, because Brussels itself is a city to discover.

What do you make of Art Brussels’ recent move to Tour & Taxi?

I’m positive about the less is more attitude and the straight line from “Discovery” to “Rediscovery.” I don’t drive in town and from the gallery to either venue with public transport there’s not a huge difference in terms of commute. That said, the new venue is much closer to city life than the Heysel, and makes it easier for visitors to get to other events. Smaller, tighter, closer, all seem like constructive changes.

What other fairs and exhibitions will you be visiting during Art Brussels this year?

Poppositions and Independent are exciting compliments to the main fair. The Servais Collection is always interesting. Ronald Rozenbaum’s show is intriguing. I will definitely go to the open studios at Greylight Projects, which is a great artist-run initiative. For several reasons, ‘Cabinets des Amis: An Accidental Collection’ is not too miss. Realistically though, between the intense performance I have planned with Abner Preis during Art Brussels Gallery night, my booth and meetings, I’ll be happy if I see anything else.

In terms of contemporary art, what would like to see more, or less, of in Brussels?

I’d like to see more focus on ideas and less egocentrism. This is a desire that goes from institutional projects to individual promotional strategies, and that I find particularly vital in cases of public art. Less top ten lists and pseudo journalism, it closes minds and defeats itself. How can you know the top ten when you’ve only actually gone to 6 shows out of the 30 potentially most interesting? What about the 30 you didn’t even hear about? I’d also like to see the growth of something that resembles a 21st century platform to communicate the rich production and activity here.

8. Morgan Haquenne, Galerie Albert Baronian

What can we look forward to seeing at your booth this year?

We will have a solo show with Larissa Lockshin, and a booth with severals works of difference artists such as Tony Oursler, Helmut Stallaerts, David Brognon et Stéphanie Rollin, Robert Devriendt, David Brian Smith, Lionel Estève, Ron Gorchov and Aline Bouvy.

How has Brussels’ contemporary art scene evolved since last year’s edition of Art Brussels?

New artists , news galleries.

The new location is a good thing, much more central and in a better neighbourhood.

What do you make of Art Brussels’ recent move to Tour & Taxi?

We’ll see after the fair. But, we think that the new location is a good thing, much more central and in a better neighbourhood. About the space itself, I can’t really say before seeing the organization of the fair, the halls etc….

In terms of contemporary art, what would like to see more, or less, of in Brussels?

More collectors who come from abroad to see the galleries in Brussels.

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Art Brussels 2015.

9. Francesco Rosi, Rosi Contemporary

What can we look forward to seeing at your booth this year?

The ceramic sculptures of Eric Croes, the oil paintings of Thomas Mazzarella. Two young Belgian artists living in Brussels.

How has Brussels’ contemporary art scene evolved since last year’s edition of Art Brussels?

Brussels’ art scene has seen a magnificent crescendo for years. It’s probably one of the best places for contemporary art in the world.

What do you make of Art Brussels’ recent move to Tour & Taxi?

In my view, contemporary art exhibitors will make the most out the space in this beautiful site that is Tour & Taxis. Better than the antiquarians of Brafa.

It’s probably one of the best places for contemporary art in the world.

What other fairs and exhibitions will you be visiting during Art Brussels this year?

Alas, I will have no time to visit hardly anything.

In terms of contemporary art, what would like to see more, or less, of in Brussels?

I would love for the Gagosian Gallery to settle in Brussels. That would be the icing on the cake.

Art Brussels 2015.

10. Simon Devolder & Elisabeth Van Caelenberge, Xavier Hufkens

What can we look forward to seeing at your booth this year?

An incredible portrait by Alice Neel from the 60’s, new work from our Belgian artists Harold Ancart, Cris Brodahl, Michel François and Walter Swennen as well as work by international stars Tracey Emin, Thomas Houseago and Sterling Ruby. We’re very excited.

How has Brussels’ contemporary art scene evolved since last year’s edition of Art Brussels?

The Brussels art scene is livelier than ever. It seems like there is a new non-profit space or gallery opening every other week. Simultaneously existing exhibition spaces and galleries propose more and more ambitious shows and projects that make a difference on an international level.

It seems like there is a new non-profit space or gallery opening every other week.

What do you make of Art Brussels’ recent move to Tour & Taxis?

We feel it is a good move. We love Tour & Taxis. The building has true identity, something unmistakably Brussels, which is important in an era where fairs all over the world tend to look the same. The new location also allows it to connect better with the city that has so much to offer.

What other fairs and exhibitions will you be visiting during Art Brussels this year?

We can never get enough so we’ll try to see as many shows as possible. We recommend David Altmejd at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and Daniel Buren at the BOZAR.

In terms of contemporary art, what would like to see more, or less, of in Brussels?

The city needs a dedicated museum for Modern and Contemporary art.