21 things to do in Belgium this weekend

Dripping decadence in Antwerp, calculated chaos in Leuven and bumping beats in Brussels. Go do the right thing.

Thursday 17th May – Sunday 26th August: Charlemagne Palestine’s Aa Sschmmetrroossppectivve at BOZAR, Brussels

The Brussels-based Charlemagne Palestine might be more distinguished as a musical performance artist, but the Brooklyn native is also a regular face on the international contemporary art circuit with his larger-than-life exhibitions. Over the course of the next three months, BOZAR will be hosting the inner workings of his chaotic and hypervisual mind – and for good measure, the acclaimed pianist will be gracing the public with a special live rendition too. Start the weekend right.

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Thursday 17th May – Sunday 9th September: Jim Campers’ Forward Escape into the Past at M-Museum, Leuven

Antwerp native Jim Campers‘ photographs have a clear political edge. Updating social criticism into the 21st century, his first museum solo exhibition at M-Museum illustrates psychedelic anarchism. God bless.

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Thursday 17th May – Friday 13th July: Une collection des photographies at Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels

22 artists, endless rolls of film and 25 years of work: Rodolphe Janssen pays homage to their 1993 counterpart. Something for everyone with Nobuyoshi Araki’s shameless Japanese stills, Diane Arbus’ iconic realism and much more. Spoilt rotten.

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Thursday 17th May – Wednesday 20th June: Dodi Espinosa’s Casa de monos II at intemporal, Antwerp

Originally from Mexico, the Antwerp-based sculpturist Dodi Espinosa continues to wow international audiences with his second part of his latest exhibition Casa de monos, transported from Trampoline Gallery to his very own studio. Witness the interplay between violence and society shining a light on the darkness that surrounds us. Treat yourself.

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Thursday 17th – Friday 27th May: The BitSoil pPpup Tax & Hack Campaign at Gluon, Brussels

Oozing artistic vision: sibling duo LarbitsSisters have taken humanity’s interaction with technology as their starting point, leaving behind their interpretation of blurred lines between the physical and virtual  for a truly pertinent exhibition. You have to see it to believe it.

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Thursday 17th May – Friday 8th June: Hungarian Parallel Avant Garde – Pécs Workshop  at Philippe Piessens, Antwerp

Dominating Budapest from the late 60s to the early 80s, Pécs Workshop continues to leave an emotive impression to this day. Gallerist Philippe Piessens showcases their impact through a minimalist selection of works. Need we say more?

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Thursday 17th May: Psst Mademoiselle #4 Ana Diaz x AliA at Kumiko, Brussels

Psst Mademoiselle’s back at it again with the hottest homegrown talent: next up is Ana Diaz who’s making a name for herself with smooth vocals and hip-swaying beats, perfectly complimented by youngblood AliA’s accompaniments. Catch them before they blow up.

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Thursday 17th May – Sunday 24th June: Nel Aerts’ Checkered Checkmate at Plus-One Gallery, Antwerp

Never taking herself too seriously, Nel Aerts’ kooky prints are a dream. Her latest exhibition at Plus-One Gallery teases the eye with naive personifications and her characteristic imagery. Full support.

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Thursday 17th – Saturday 19th May: Africa is/in the Future at PointCulture, Brussels

Back by popular demand, the third edition of Africa is/in the Future offers a multidisciplinary vision for our neighbouring continent. Tapping into the artistic diaspora transgressing georgraphical borders, PointCulture will be hosting interweaving conferences and performances for a one-off immersive experience. Not to be missed.

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Thursday 17th May – Saturday 23rd June: Friedrich Kunath’s Where is the madness that you promised me? at Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp

Madness is rarely given the credit it deserves. German-born creative maverick Friedrich Kunath seeks to rectify this with his first solo exhibition at Tim Van Laere Gallery, with inspirations ranging from philosophical explorations to pop culture. Approaching universal suffering and taking into account the rawness of life, the result is a wonder to behold.

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Thursday 17th May: Extra Fort w/ Diego Ballestrasse & Valeria Cherchi at Centrale, Brussels

Centrale for Contemporary Art is back with another jaw-dropping selection sure to get you inspired. Centred around photographic achievements, RECYCLART’s Extra Fort evenings emphasise the personalities behind the shots. Hailing from Argentina, Diego Ballestrasse fuses his heritage with Barcelona’s charm, while Valeria Cherchi invites her spectators to explore the fringes of sociocultural divides within the framework of open-ended questions. Essential.

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Thursday 17th May: Memes, Subjectivity Transferences X Simon Ascencio at feeelings, Brussels

Subjectivity is a slippery concept that’s found itself at the centre of the current artistic debate. Moving away from our obsession with art for art’s sake, Simon Ascencio dives head first into his personal experience in creative form – biographically inclined.

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Thursday 17th May – Saturday 24th June: Mike Bouchet’s Energy Log at Sofie Van de Velde, Antwerp

Frankfurt-based revolutionary artist Mike Bouchet’s pieces never shy away from taboos, forcing the viewer to recallibrate their preconceived biases and poking fun at the hyper-sexualised world we live in. What’s not to like?

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Friday 18th May: HE4RTBROKEN x KFDA w/ MikeQ at Insas Rabelais, Brussels

Crossing the pond for a night to remember, seasoned DJ MikeQ guarantees booty shaking tracks for a Kunstenfestivaldesarts special, and in a brand new spot too. Supported by electro addict HE4RTBROKEN‘s signature tunes, your feet won’t stop moving til the early hours. Get your gladrags on.

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Friday 18th May: Vincen Beeckman’s Espinho at Tique, Antwerp

Exploring the fringes of urban life, Brussels-based photographer Vincen Beeckman captures the lives of outcasts. Far removed from the city lights, he stumbled across a small Portuguese fisherman’s quarter that reflects the overlap between nature’s forces, industry and underdogs.

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Friday 18th May – Sunday 3rd June: Civil Disobedience in Ghent

Over the course of the next two weeks, Ghent-based creative body In De Ruimte will be taking over their homebase to explore the peripheral zones of civic duty and artistic creation, and investigate a new framework for utopian ideals. The cross-pollinisation between activism and art has never been so tantalisingly satisfying.

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Saturday 19th May: Catclub x Spek Pride Edition at C12, Brussels

Celebrating free love, C12‘s Pride event mixes social awareness with quality beats, bringing together Brussels’ Catclub and Antwerp’s Spek. Open to all, expect sets from Sixsixsixties‘ synth-pop, feel good vibes courtesy of Gay Haze and much more. Dust off your dancing shoes.

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Sunday 20th May: Destination Earth at Het Bos, Antwerp

Music lovers rejoice: Destination Earth returns with another chock-a-block evening of delights for your ear drums. Ranging from Dutch artist Yung Gwidetti’s signature mix of silky lyrics and catchy beats to Danish electro lover Bias, there’s something for everyone.

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Sunday 20th May: Paper Works at Tatjana Pieters, Gent

Tatjana Pieters’ gallery selects 15 superb artists for their stunning exhibition Paper Works. Truly transdisciplinary, with stand-out pieces from Frenchwoman Audrey Cottin, Belgian technophile Marijke de Roover, and recent Ultimas winner Philippe Van Snick. A round of applause.

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Sunday 20th May – Sunday 1st July: Ambras at LLS Paleis, Antwerp

Decadence and the Baroque period seem synonymous. Leaning into this reputation with full force, LLS Paleislatest exhibition is a testament to this divisive style’s many contributions alongside everyone’s favourite Rubens. Positioned within the historical context of religious conflict and uncertainty, contemporary artists Oier Etxeberria, Pep Vidal and Oriol Vilanova take this as their starting point. End the weekend right.

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