20 things to do in Belgium this weekend

Cultural cannibalism in Antwerp, tangible femininity in Brussels and sweaty grooves in Mechelen. Go do the right thing.

Thursday 12th April – Saturday 19th May: Gaëlle Leenhardt’s Les sols acides at Island, Brussels

Parisian sculpturist Gaëlle Leenhardt’s Serbian-inspired work has a pointedly destructive quality to it. After her exchange with ENSAV La Cambre, she returned to Belgrade after graduating to find artistic inspiration in this historic city. Her larger-than-life pieces bring wrecking balls and construction sites inside to interrogate life bursting at the seams. Start the weekend right.

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Thursday 12th April – Sunday 2nd September: Poème Brut at Design Museum Gent, Ghent

Poème Brut illustrates the renewed interest of designers in crafts, local techniques and materials as a reaction to globalisation and dematerialisation. Indeed, many young designers today turn to old and new materials, production processes and materiality in their artistic practices. Case in point, the show presents designers as makers and focusses on the result of this research, drawing on both established international designers and up-and-coming young talents. Some works feature long-forgotten materials combined with new technologies, while others are made of new materials using traditional techniques, which result in surprising combinations, atypical confrontations and new visions, with all works on show characterised by brutal and unfinished visual poetry.

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Thursday 12th – Sunday 15th April: Rosas’ Achterland at Kaaitheatre, Brussels

Visionary choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker is back at it again, this time incorporating three male dancers and blurring the lines of traditional masculinity. Expect gender-fluid costumes and performances with a minimalist impact. Not to forget, the whole piece is accompanied by Györgi Ligeti and Eugène Ysaÿe’s playful melodies. Treat yourself.

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Thursday 12th April – Sunday 1st July: Eating Each Other at Extra City, Antwerp

In 2018, Antwerp will for the first time count more residents with a migrant background than native Belgian citizens, making it a so-called “majority-minority city”, a city in which the majority is made up of melting pots of different minority cultures. It is with this milestone in mind that Extra City dedicates its latest exhibition to the strategy of reappropriation, taking as starting point Brazilian poet and theorist Oswald de Andrade’s Manifesto Antropofago, in which he suggests cannibalising a dominant culture by eating, digesting and excreting it in an entirely new form. Expect new thinking into the processes of reappropriation.

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Thursday 12th April – Saturday 28th April: Philip Janssens’ no needs another mountain at Ballon Rouge Collective, Brussels

Disorder is often frowned upon by society: challenging the status quo, Philip Janssens’ latest exhibition revels in the chaos of imperfect lines and texturised fabrics, playing with light through reflective surfaces and inconsistent patterns. You need to see it to believe it.

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Thursday 12th April – Sunday 10th June: Monsanto®: A Photographic Investigation at FOMU, Antwerp

GMO’s were originally created in order to increase crop fields and fight against world hunger. However, Monsanto®’s activities have had a undeniable dramatic impact on the environment and public health, while world hunger continues to rise despite decade-old warnings by scientists, farmers and activists against the dangers posed by their genetically modified seeds and herbicide. None of this, sadly, has put the breaks on Monsanto®’s ever- growing and expanding worldwide activity. French documentary photographer Mathieu Asselin has been capturing the corporation’s history over five years using photographs, advertisements and news materials to create a damning series as shocking as it is revealing, with this exhibition at FOMU perfectly illustrating the extent to which the company pushes the limits of legality and morality in its endless, even senseless, pursuit of profit.

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Thursday 12th April – Saturday 7th July: Animals V2 at Riva Project, Brussels

Art lovers rejoice! Riva Project’s most recent group exhibition Animals V2 brings together today’s contemporary art heavy-hitters, from Turner Prize winner Martin Creed’s radical installations to the notorious Jeff Koons’ humongous nostalgic sculptures. We’ll see you there.

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Thursday 12th April: Jatinder Singh Durhailay & David Edren at Het Bos, Antwerp

London-based artist and dilruba master Jatinder Singh Durhailay has teamed up with avant-garde synth master David Edren. Guaranteed to be a sonic delight – need we say more?

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Thursday 12th April: Isle of Dogs Screening + Kim Keukeleire Q&A at Palace, Brussels

The much anticipated Wes Anderson stop-motion feature Isle of Dogs hits our screens this weekend – but will it live up to the hype? At the very least, the Belgium-based animation director Kim Keukeleire’s post-screening Q&A will spotlight the technical excellence behind the scenes. An eye-opening opportunity.

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Thursday 12th April – Saturday 19th May: Like today, but more like forever at Ingrid Deuss Gallery, Antwerp

Belgian-Dutch artist duo Sofie Middernacht and Maarten Alexander present their new series of fragile photographs. Consisting of multilayered scans of pill boxes, their work’s translucidity blurs the boundaries of photography and conceptual art, giving you the sensation that what you’re seeing is in fact floating. Don’t let the aesthetics of the series fool you though, as its subject matter remains hard-edged. Indeed, the scanned pill boxes belong to a mentally ill relative of one of the artists, forced to take a daily intake of medication. The scans are built up, like a never-ending problem that manifests itself repeatedly. Every day, layer by layer. A body of work that’ll leave you with a mixed bag of emotions, between fragility, intimacy and vulnerability.

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Thursday 12th April: Cosmic Pop Records Release Party at C12, Brussels

Brussels-based future hit-makers Cosmic Pop Records grace our music libraries with another cosmic journey to the fringes of hip-hop. Releasing artist is homegrown talent Mambele, who’ll be effortlessly blending cut-throat lyrics with delicately eery instrumentals. Not to mention, young-bloods DJ Pallando and ShunGu will have your hips moving until the early hours. Get your gladrags on.

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Thursday 12th April – Saturday 19th May: 10yrs Part III at Base-Alpha Gallery, Antwerp

Double digits for Base-Alpha Gallery – it’s hard to believe that the Antwerp-based contemporary art champion hasn’t been around for longer. To honour a decade they’ve assembled a dream team selection of visual artists, from Anouk Kruithof’s slippery multi-medium installations to Charline Tyberghein’s illusory visual art. No presents, just presence.

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Friday 13th April: Kassem Mosse, Lowtec + Different Fountains at C12, Brussels

Belgium and Germany unite for one fantastic evening of musical ecstasy. Kassem Mosse refuses to be tied down to limiting genres, choosing to roam between out-of-this world techno and ambient sensations instead. His partner-in-crime Lowtec compliments him perfectly with eclectic beats and perplexing compositions. And rounding this top-notch line-up off are local talents Different Fountains and Chris Ferreira. Dust off your dancing shoes.

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Friday 13th April: LUNAR live w/ Bear Bones, Lay Low at Kafee Zapoi, Mechelen

Back by popular demand after their breakthrough success at Diklefeesten last summer, LUNAR are turning up the heat. Pledging to leave the dancefloor well and truly sweaty, expect shamanic rhythms courtesy of Venezuelan-born Bear Bones, Lay Low. Fridays are for dancing.

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Saturday 14th April: MEANDER + Charlotte Jacobs at VOLTA, Brussels

No frills for the non-profit creative mecca VOLTA’s latest offering of multi-sensory treats. Brooklyn-based musician Charlotte Jacobs seamlessly moulds her jazz roots with Scandinavian flare. MEANDER puts it all on the line with improv experimentation, sure to activate your feels. You have to hear it to believe it.

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Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th April: Splḗn at Chinastraat, Ghent

Splḗn are back for another open-air edition, perfect for the new season. Past up-and-comers include Music From Memory’s Jamie Tiller and Stroom‘s Nosedrip – clearly co-founder Felix Claus has an ear for quality. Ghent’s Chinastraat provides the perfect backdrop with sandy dancefloors and plenty of outdoor space for hanging out. Don’t sleep.

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Saturday 14th April: Ignatz, Innercity, Urall + DJ Jan Matthe at Forbidden City, Antwerp

Landon-based artist Bram Devens aka Ignatz is known for his sparse, emotive songs indicative of the human condition. To boot there’s plenty of electro beats to get your tails wagging to Innercity’s ear-searing distortions and many more. Worth the hangover.

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Sunday 15th – Thursday 19th April: Sascha Braunig’s The Crease at Office Baroque, Brussels

In her paintings, Sascha Braunig investigates the confining restrains of the canvas through a mixture of portraiture, surrealism and radiant abstraction. With her illusive paintings and sculptures, the artists blurs the line between figure and abstraction, her body of work both intensely real and dreamlike, reminding the viewer that art is, above all, an emotion rather than a tangible sensation. Delivered in various shades of neon, Braunig’s subjects are given human qualities and, for her first solo exhibition at Office Baroque, she presents a new series of works in which the female figure is presented in various guises. Like hypnosis, her swirls will make you submit.

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Sunday 15th April: LABO L!VE – La théorie des rêves at Labokube, Brussels

From deep sleepers to insomniacs, slumber time is a human universal. Labokube will keep you wide awake whilst dreaming softly with a jam-packed line up of imaginative ethereal displays. Roman composer Laryssa Kim is sure to impress with a multi-dimensional performance, while Refurinn Kitsune lies somewhere between meloncholic minimalism and pop. Two birds, one stone.

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Sunday 15th April: Outdoor Legacy’s The Watermelon Woman at CINEMATEK, Brussels

The first feature film by an African-American lesbian, The Watermelon Woman was a landmark for intersectional representation. Cheryl Dunye defies taboos around female sexuality and questions why women of color are not given the praise they deserve in Hollywood. Told through the lens of black and white 1930s movies, with Dunye herself breaking through the fourth wall. Come one, come all.

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