Photography, rap royalty and garden gigs. This weekend in Belgium

Sébastien Bonin, Brussels

You’ve probably already come across photographer Sebastien Bonin‘s images on the pages of The Word, especially if you’ve been keeping an eye our style section. Now he’s putting on a solo show of a completely different character, a collection of predominantly monochrome photographs, the result of mesmerising artificial constructions. Playing with the common notion that photography is inherently depictive, he challenges the viewer with these apparently ‘blank’ images to sublime and abstract effect.

Opening 20th September
Exhibition runs until 5th October
Chaussée de Wavre 155 Waversesteenweg – 1050 Brussels

Bozar Electronic Arts Festival, Brussels

With Pitchfork-knighted English producer Gold Panda, experimental electro-pop duo Hype Williams and UK producer Matthew Barnes aka Forest Swords, the first edition of Bozar’s Electronic Arts Festival is kicking off this weekend with a bang. Successor to the Electronic music festival – a party we never missed in four years – it’s not only the name that’s undergone a makeover: the festival’s new appraoch gathers the best of today’s electronic music while providing a platform for all kinds of electronic arts, from film and photography to new forms of artistic expression. We’re certainly up for it.

From 20th to 22nd September
Bozar Center for Fine Arts, Rue Ravensteinstraat 23 – 1000 Brussels

Fernand Baudin Prize, Brussels

With the proliferation of electronic reading gadgets from Kindles to Kobos, it’s easy to forget that books are often artworks in their own right. The Fernand Baudin Prize, named after the famous Belgian typographer and author, aims to keep the traditional book form alive and to highlight the talent and craftsmanship of the artisans who make them. Behind the initiative are, among others, Wim Clauwaert from Wiels’ bookshop and Bernard Marcelis from Brussels’ book mecca Filigranes, and at Sint Lukas university library you can now browse this year’s lucky winners. For bookish types, and the rest.

Opening 20th September
Library Sint-Lukas, Rue des Palais 70 Paleizenstraat – 1030 Brussels

Oh My Garden, Brussels

It’s getting colder, autumn is upon us – all the more reason to enjoy the very last sunbeams of summer and Oh My Garden’s very last edition of the year. For the finale of this second season of cozy garden concerts, Elise Mélinand from Berlin and Saara Markkanen from Finland will mount the magical stage, along with Rainbow Jazz Friends, a group the organisers discovered at a flea market in Etterbeek. Come early for this lovely, intimate musical summer-ending, as seats are uber-limited.

21st September
31 Rue Dillensstraat – 1050 Brussels

Dent May, Brussels

American singer-songwriter Dent May first burst onto the scene with a ukulele- themed debut in 2009, inspired by Lee Hazlewood and Serge Gainsbourg. Since then he’s ditched the twangly four-stringed instrument and released a second album called “Do Things”, once again on Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label. It’s a catchy sound with a positively Beach Boys-ish vibe that has clearly undergone a bit of an evolution and now includes synths and electric guitars. Worth a listen.

21st September
Botanique, Rue Royale 236 Koningsstraat – 1000 Brussels

Graham Coxon, Brussels

Most have probably heard of singer-songwriter, painter and multi-instrumentalist Graham Coxon, one-time lead guitarist of legendary Britpoppers Blur. But what many might not know is that Coxon, whom Noel Gallagher once described as “the most gifted guitarist of his generation”, has produced eight solo records over the years, most recently “A+E”. The 43-year-old is so far showing no signs of fatigue and continues to serve his loving fans with steaming platefuls of slightly punky, lo-fi, garage rock. The time has come to catch him on tour.

21st September
Botanique, Rue Royale 236 Koningsstraat – 1000 Brussels

El-P, Brussels

Jaime Meline a.k.a. El-p emerged at the peak of New York underground hip-hop hype and has been a major figure in the alternative scene ever since, as an artist, producer, and owner of record label Definitive Jux. El-p’s sound, which unites bleak futurism and low fidelity, is famous for its skilful wordplay dotted with science fiction references. It’s hip-hop of the raw and edgy kind and his newest creation “Cancer 4 Cure” was knighted by Pitchfork with the “Best new music” honour. His live show is famous for getting heads spinning.

21st September
VK, Rue de L’Ecole 76 Schoolstraat – 1080 Brussels

Best Coast, Brussels

Californian duo Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno caused quite a bit of commotion in indie pop when they released their fuzzy surf-rock debut album “Crazy for You” back in 2009. This year’s follow-up “The Only Place” pretty much continues their tried and tested formula for success, in this case a typically catchy blend of lo-fi surf pop, simple and heavily soaked in Californian sunshine. A bright, clean and shiny-happy garage sound, coming soon to a Botanique stage near you.

22nd September
Botanique, Rue Royale 236 Koningsstraat – 1000 Brussels

We Have Band, Brussels

We Have Band are married couple Thomas and Dede and their mate, Darren, who all met while working for the same record label in London. The trio hit it off right away and produced a debut album called “WHB”, a mix of melodic synth pop and dancey electro sounds. Their latest attempt “Ternion”features some new wave elements and leans a bit further over to the darker side, A self-described disco- rock trio with a weirdo name, they’ll be disco-rocking up to Brussels this month for a must-see gig.

22nd September
Botanique, Rue Royale 236 Koningsstraat – 1000 Brussels

STIJLfiguren, Antwerp

STIJLfiguren is an eclectic group exhibition curated by Belgian artist Wim Wauman at SECONDroom in Antwerp. The theme is ‘Figures of Speech’, a subject that has been interpreted by all the artists individually, with Charlotte Lybeer, Herman Van Ingelgem, Sarah Corynen, Timothy Stappaerts, Loerta Visiv and Benjamin Deymere all gracing the programme.

Until 14th October
SECONDroom, Ijzerlaan 30 – 2060 Antwerp

50 Shades, Antwerp

Antwerp’s Galerie Micheline Szwajcer proudly presents the very first solo show of Scottish artist Lucy McKenzie for her first foray into Belgium. ’50 Shades’ refers to the controversial E.L. James novel ’50 Shades of Grey’ and its status as a phenomenal commercial publishing success as opposed to actual literature. Her multi-layered works cross several genres from painting to illustration, writing and design, and combine appropriated as well as self-generated material. A fascinating exhibition that deals with the different aspects of how an artist processes source material as well as misogyny and the politics of the far right.

Until 20th October
Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Verlatstraat 14 – 2000 Antwerp

Athos Burez, Ghent

The work of Antwerp-based photographer Athos Burez combines two areas of the artist’s expertise: as a current student of photography who has also earned a degree in fine arts, he mixes bits and pieces of both worlds, creating a fascinating and cold aesthetic. His work can be funny and eerie, and certainly somewhat odd, even, as he attempts to add a twist to seemingly banal scenes from daily life.

Until 29th September
A&G Gallery, Schepenhuisstraat 17 – 9000 Ghent

Geert De Smet, Ghent

Geert De Smet, the Leuven-born Belgian sculptor, studied drawing and painting at the E. Leon Academy in Anderlecht. His intriguing statues, first cast with the intention of turning them into bronze later on, are full of poetry and abstraction. After a number of exhibitions on both his home turf and abroad, Galerie S&H de Buck is hosting his fantastic solo show, and it’s well worth a visit.

Until 29th September
Galerie S&H de Buck, Zuidstationstraat 25 – 9000 Ghent

Lara Mennes, Genk

New photography kid on the block Lara Mennes, who’s already made it into our ‘ones to watch’ list of Belgium’s next best photographers, is now putting on her very own solo exhibition at Genk’s C-Mine. Titled ‘Between Stories’ the show features old as well as new images by the Antwerp-based Central Saint Martins graduate, and is the fruit of a serach for memoirs in a number of different locations, an archive of the forgotten artefacts from buildings with only traces of their past human activity. Lara’s work stops time and gives pause for thought, particularly about the social impact of architecture and landscape on its inhabitants.

Until 14th October
C-mine Cultuurcentrum, C-mine 10 bus 2 – 3600 Genk