20 things to do in Belgium this weekend

Cold wave festivals in Sint-Niklaas, Pink noise in Antwerp and Christmas Galas in Brussels.

1. Thursday 15th December: William Klein – 5 cities at Botanique, Brussels

Famed street photographer William Klein is mostly known for his rebellious approach towards set styles and traditions, boasting a visual language defined by distortion and an instinctive attitude. Botanique invites the American artist for his first major exhibition in Brussels, in which visitors are guided through the five megapolis – New York, Rome, Moscow, Tokyo and Paris – he made his own.

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2. Thursday 15th December: Valérie Mannaerts and Sophie Nys at Maniera, Brussels

Valérie Mannaerts’ current solo exhibition at Maniera explores different materials, sounds and colours, in her signature visual style that’s marked by surreal and autonomous paintings and sculptures. Catch the artist this Thursday as she talks to multidisciplinary artist Sophie Nys.

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3. Thurday 15th December: Meer dan 10 edities at LLS 387, Antwerp

Ulrike Lindmayr’s art space LLS 387 hosts an intimate publishing fair with some of the city’s most prolific players, from literature and art magazine Oogst to photographer Lara Gasparotto’s Roche and Luc Tuymans’ Within. One-day only, don’t sleep.

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4. Friday 16th December: Eeva-Mari Haikala at Wiels, Brussels

Finnish photographer and former WIELS resident Eeva-Mari Haikala uses video, performance, photography, sound and installation in an attempt to visualise time and stillness. For the opening night of her solo exhibition at WIELS, Haikala invites four performers for an exuberant dance, filling  museum space with movement. Runs until 8th January.

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5. Friday 16th December: Exit 54 at Recyclart, Brussels

54 Kolaktiv’s now customary end of year party, an established value in the city for as long as we can remember, ignites the Recyclart venue once again. A night that does hip hop just as well as it does grime and techno, the collective invites Brussels rappers Roméo Elvis, Berrykrimi, Zwangere Guy and Jay MNG, DJ Vega and Felix Phonetics, Antwerp duo Coco Haram, local beatmaker Beatsforbeaches, and a ton of other surprises to the refurbished train station’s stage. Essential.

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6. Friday 16th December: Pizza Noise Mafia at Rectangle, Brussels

Disruptive duo Pizza Noise Mafia – consisting of TG Gondard and Carrageenan – performs at Rectangle art space this Friday in collaboration with current WIELS resident Christophe de Rohan Chabot.

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7. Friday 16th – Saturday 17th December: Closing parties at The Hope, Brussels

I’ts been a wonderful eight months at infamous and much-loved Brussels art space The Hope, who’s closing its doors for good after the weekend. But The Hope wouldn’t be The Hope without going out with a bang. The closing weekend brings Berlin-based DJ John C Judd and hip-hop crew LuvGang to the venue’s notorious cellar space for two nights bound to be unforgettable.

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8. Friday 16th December: Futurepast at Klub Goud, Antwerp

Future and past meet at Antwerp’s skyscraper club venue Klub Goud for a night of deep vinyl digging and uplifting DJ sets by Turkish Onur Ozer and Futurepast residents Davy and Pjay, that’ll go on until the early hours.

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9. Friday 16th December: Marie Wynants – La botanista exhibition at HAVN, Antwerp

Brand new Antwerp gallery HAVN inaugurates its opening with an exhibition by photographer Marie Wynants, who describes her work as ‘post-epileptic’. Alongside Wynant’s photographs, Sas Adriaenssens presents La Botanista, her first jewelry collection, inspired by plants and herbs from her garden.

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10. Friday 16th December: Hantrax, Other Robots and Red Zebra at Kinky Star, Ghent

Antwerp underground Baroque producer Hantrax pairs up with Other Robots, who combine futuristic visuals and modular synths and electrorock wizard True Zebra for a unique performance at Ghent’s underground artery Kinky Star.

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11. Friday 16th December: BIM fest at De Casino, Sint-Niklaas

The fifteenth edition of cold wave/post punk BIM festival is a celebratory one, with a line-up – Belgian from start to finish- boasting more than a few impressive acts the likes of Dive (a one man performance by Absolute Body Control’s Dirk Ivens), Underviewer (a Front 242 side-project), a one-time only reunion of Charleroi-based trio À;grumh and many, many more.

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12. Friday 16th – Saturday 17th December: Supermarket at Firma, Vilvoorde

Vilvoorde co-working space Firma hosts, together with design blog Baroness O., a Christmas design market, featuring a mix of young and upcoming designers – who’ll be selling their creations, from clothing and jewelry to illustrations and cosmetics.

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13. Saturday 17th December: Heartbroken at Beursschouwburg, Brussels

Heartbroken takes to Beursschouwburg once again for their 8th edition. This time around the collective invited French female DJ collective TGAF-members Oklou (who’ll be performing one of her emblematic intimate live sets), DJ Ouai, Britisch-Colombian Florentino, and Heartbroken’s own crew Liyo and Steff. Moody, emotional and not to be missed in any case.

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14. Saturday 17th December: Get out of the out at Swallowing Helmets, Brussels

Artists Camille Ferriere, Verena Buttmann and Clement Hebert researched the outer limits of the private and public space through different media – from drawing to performance – while developing a singular visual language and identity.

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15. Saturday 17th December: Rezzett, Wendy Gondoln, Dark Brown Feeling and Dennis Tyfus at Les Ateliers Claus, Brussels

Brussels-based 7″ label Meeuw Muzak ends the year in style with a Christmas Gala that has vocal harmony group Dark Brown Feeling, Rezzett’s mysterious techno and Rothko-chapel, Cologne techno and radio ads inspired duo The Three Wise Men perform at independent and experimental music bastion Les Ateliers Claus.

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16. Saturday 17th December: Facettes at ISELP, Brussels

Facettes’ – a French-Belgian artistic collaboration –  second edition once again combines artists with sharp art critics, scholars, gallerists and other art world players in order to create a multifaceted publication, exploring perspectives and issues. This Saturday, the launch of the second edition takes place at art space ISELP, and features a discussion between artist Adrien Tirtiaux, curator Maité Vissault and former Villa Medici resident Véronique Goudinoux.

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17. Saturday 17th December: Sorry label releases at Pinkhouse, Antwerp

Antwerp-based Sorry label – led by Mathias MU and Jo Caimo – celebrates the release of their compilation double CD, on which different artists musically interpreted the concept ‘pink noise’, alongside the release of MU’s own album at artists’ residence and experimentation space Pinkhouse, with concerts by the label’s artists De Batteries, MU and Caimo themselves, Borokov Borokov, Oscar Weyers and Rowan Van As.

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18. Saturday 17th December: Detka at Het Bos, Antwerp

The first edition of hip-hop inspired party concept Detka brings quintessential Brussels rapper-producer duo Roméo Elvis and Le Motel, Dutch Torus and Larry Appiah and Brussels-based electro-hiphop mixmaster Dave Luxe to Antwerp’s Bos. Deviant dancing guaranteed.

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19. Saturday 17th December: Han Hoogerbrugge at Base-Alpha, Antwerp

For Limbo Lottery – Han Hoogerbrugge’s solo exhibition at Base-Alpha Gallery – the artist created a zoetrope, an optical toy in which figures made to revolve on the inside of a cylinder, that symbolises our present-day sins – think cosmetics, smileys and daily habits – in an existential animation stream. Runs until 4th February.

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20. Saturday 17th – Sunday 18th December: Papier Carbone at BPS22, Charleroi

The first edition of Charleroi’s micropublishing and print festival Papier Carbone – hosted by 6001 is the new 1060, BPS22 and Le vecteur –  compiles concerts, artists’ stands, workshops, markets and other surprises in the city. A great ocassion to head over to Le Pays Noir.

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