20 things to do in Belgium this weekend

Festival fun in Brussels, basement parties in Ghent and radical acoustics in Antwerp. Go do the right thing.

Thursday 8th – Sunday 11th November: Independent Brussels 2018 at Vanderborght building, Brussels 

Start your weekend right with a very special international art fair coming to the heart of Brussels. Independent aims to be a space for looking, engaging and creating, breaking the static and stale qualities of a traditional art fair mould. The curatorial minds behind this event “hope to create an urgency of live events and build a social retreat where people can stay all day”. Expect performance art from David Sherry and Céline Gillain, and screenings of work by Leo Gabin and Haseeb Ahmed. It showcases not only galleries from around the world, but also music and DJs to keep you dancing. And as if this weren’t enough, The Word Radio will be taking over for a six-hour live broadcast on Friday, with Tanuki Records, Oval Angle, Mathias MU, Islas, Victor De Roo and Liesbeth Feys. See you there.

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Thursday 8th – Saturday 17th November: From the House of the Dead at La Monnaie, Brussels

As part of La Monnaie’s exemplary 2018-19 season, Dostoyevsky is reincarnated in operatic form in this epic by Czech composer Leoš Janáček for From the House of the Dead. On the dark brutalities of a Siberian prison camp, expect complex and sinister music that might sadden you, move you or uplift you.

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Thursday 8th November – Sunday 16th December: Isabel Fredeus’ Mutable Surroundings at BOAB Art Gallery, Antwerp

For an exhibition that promises to be “one big board game where the different artworks each proclaim their own power relationship to space”, hit up Isabel Fredeus’ first solo show at BOAB Art Gallery. Her thinking is engaged with symbolism and geometry, paying attention to the relationship between a circular shape or a square grid. Get lost in the artworks like you would the pastel pools of Hockney.

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Thursday 8th November – Saturday 22nd December: Aline Bouvy’s Bastinado at Galerie Albert Baronian, Brussels

Brussels-based visual artist Aline Bouvy‘s work spans a multitude of disciplines, including print and sculpture. Watch a canvas expand from the wall and sprawl on the floor as a plastic sculpture or shapes fit together as deconstructed architecture. Its conceptual thinking questions formal representation, as well as moral and aesthetic norms. A cooly quiet and thoughtful addition to your Friday afternoon. 

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Thursday November 8th: Extra Academy 2 w/ Jonathan Monk at Het Bos, Antwerp

Extra Academy is a platform that aims to be constantly reworking itself; it endorses an artistic practice grounded in alternative modes of pedagogy. The Academy teams up with Het Bos for an open programme dedicated to exhibiting readings, performances, workshops and screenings. The work is curated by artists Nico Dockx and Steve Van den Bosch, and has evolved out the artistic exchange between students and teachers. Full support.

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Thursday 8th November – Saturday 22nd December: Manuel Mathieu’s The Spell on You at Maruani Mercier, Brussels

Manuel Mathieu’s artworks somehow speak to the grandeur of Renaissance oil painting and the abstraction of more contemporary canvases. The Haitian artist’s thinking behind the frames engages in a dialogue with his homeland’s recent political histories, and the insurgencies that stem back to 1791. These are big, ambitious paintings, presenting twisted, morphing figures and confronting you with the power of paint.

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Thursday 8th November – Saturday 1st December: NEXT 2018 in Kortrijk and Tournai

Quipping overtly on the evils of neoliberalism, the theme at this year’s NEXT art festival is 10 years of financial crisis. Eight artists are invited to explore our economic relationships with tax evasion, charity and money across not only Kortrijk and Tournai but Lille and Valenciennes too. One installation titled Soul Seekers is born out of Mokhallad Rasem’s interviews with refugees from local communities in northern France. For something both sociologically conscious and artistically experimental.

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Thursday 8th – Saturday 17th November: Pink Screens 2018 in Brussels

For a fun and important celebration of queerness, Brussels brings you Pink Screens festival. The events feature films made up of sensitive and sensual meditations on sexuality, which you can attend alongside a workshop on gender fluidity, a performance by Jan Martens or an afterparty for the film Shakedown at Beursschouwburg

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Friday 8th – Saturday 10th November: Monia Montali & François Bodeux’s ILL SEEN at Les Brigittines, Brussels

Beckett, with his experimental forms, sinister sense of morality, death of the subject, comes to Les Brigittines this weekend, namely in a play adapted from his short novel Ill Seen Ill Said. Published in 1981 and forming part of the trilogy volume Nohow On, the story explores the interpersonal dynamics between three cross-generational female figures. The novel is playfully reworked in this piece to incorporate sound and visual art, as well as dance and dramaturgy to satisfy all your theatre needs.

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Friday 9th November – Sunday 10th February 2019: The Photographic II: Signal or noise at SMAK, Ghent

In the second run of The Photographic exhibition at SMAK, find a radicalised take on the medium of photography, where the camera itself becomes a work of art and a meditation on phenomenology. Catch the amazing work of Turner Prize-nominated UK architecture collective Forensic Architecture, Sondra Perry and Lynn Hershman, amongst other media-bending artists.

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Friday 9th November – Sunday 2nd December: Ars Musica 2018 in Brussels

The Brussels biennale for contemporary music kicks off this weekend. Made up of 63 concerts across 23 locations, Ars Musica brings us groundbreaking musical events to warm your cool November evenings. One of these events takes place at Bozar this Friday, where there will be a Concerto for Theremin and Orchestra, with the Brussels Philarmonic, directed by Brad Lubman. Whether you are a regular listener of orchestras or nightclub electronics, this series of events has something for each ear’s taste. Expect improvised music, electronic, electroacoustic and sound installations, amongst other mixed up forms.

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Friday 9th November: amigo nights 01 w/ Alfred Anders & Walrus at amigo amigo, Ghent 

Ghent is being blessed with a brand new venue this Friday, and breaking in the space for the launch party is none other than Crevette Records owner Alfred Anders and Basic Moves co-founder. Walk down the amigo amigo bar’s steps into the unknown and enter the basement party for all your Friday fun.

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Friday 9th November – Saturday 15th December: Taylor A. White at Luc Clément Gallery, Brussels 

See a little bit of Tal R’s bedroom wall collages or Basquiat’s reworking of graffiti in the selected works of American artist Taylor A. White. The artist’s thought process is playful and connected to intimate histories: White says “my work gives form to fleeting memories and the dormant mania crawling beneath the carpet of the western home.”  Art at its most fun and thoughtful.

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Saturday 10th November: BOZAR NIGHT at BOZAR, Brussels

The worlds of art and music merge this Saturday in the much anticipated upcoming edition of BOZAR NIGHT. Schiele, Klimt, Chris Marker and other artists line the walls as you party to electronic music by an international selection of artists. Fronting the lineup is the Brit Daniel Avery, Parisian Coucou Chloe and Canadian Jacques Greene, alongside Midlife’s Golin and DJ Charme and Slagwerk‘s Otis. No sleep.

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Saturday 10th November: Chik White & Els Vandeweyer at Table Dance, Antwerp

The seventh instalment of Braublff (materie und laut) takes to the stage in Antwerp this weekend. Catch the broken and montaged melodies of Chik White – a harpist, collagist and musician – who’s enjoying a succesful release on the Ghent-based imprint, KRAAK. He performs alongside Els Vandeweyer, a Berlin-based Belgian vibraphonist, percussionist and composer operating outside of the traditional world of composition. 

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Saturday 10th November: Eartheater + Tristan at Beursschouwburg, Brussels

Choreographer and musician Eartheater brings her beats straight from New York to Beursschouwburg this Saturday. Her ethereal vocals murmur at you through an electronic backtrack, echoing bitter and bodily lines like “you can’t buy this / suck my bile”. Accompanying her is Belgian-based Tristan with her new EP Illusje. For live music with a femme pop-electro twist – do your Saturday night right.

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Saturday 10th November: Tama Sumo + Prosumer at C12, Brussels 

C12 is hosting a night of rambunctiously vibrating music by Tama Sumo, Prosumer and Chris Ferreira. Dance the night away in one of Brussels’ most bustling clubs to deep house music to take you through to Sunday.

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Saturday 10th November – Thursday 20th December: Douglas Eynon’s Permanent Guest Host at Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels 

Encompassing an eclectic mix of paintings, works on paper and ceramics, Douglas Eynon‘s new exhibition opens to the public this Saturday. His previous show at Rodolphe Janssen worked with the binaries of wilderness and domesticity, transporting the space into a surreal environment. An absolute treat.

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Sunday 11th November – Saturday 5th January 2019: Bert Huyghe’s Horizons of Expectation at Rossicontemporary, Brussels

Enjoy the work of Ghent-based painter Bert Huyghe and the playful intertextuality within it. Huyghe deliberately steers away from serious gestures and instead fosters an approach to painting that is based on the inconsequential and mundane parts of daily life. See remnants of a football game or an episode from The Simpsons. Get back to the roots and form of painting; pay attention to its movement, its brushstrokes, its solemnity. 

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Sunday 11th November – Sunday 16th December: Johan Grimonprez’s Every day words disappear at Kristof De Clercq, Ghent 

Johan Grimonprez’s latest solo exhibition of video art. The exhibition’s core is a selection of six short films that will be shown in an intimate and specifically constructed space, spanning just 40 minutes. The short films montage segments from a huge archive that encompasses documentaries, family videos, news images and more. This evening is dedicated to films that engage with poetry and philosophical thinking. Take part in the art of watching like you haven’t known it before and end the weekend right.

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