Art, parties and Design September. This weekend in Belgium

The Word’s pink release party, Brussels

To mark the glorious occasion of our pink album (+ design special) hitting the streets, come and join us on Friday 7th September for a knees-up of (pink) cocktails courtesy of Absolut, a live gig by the Brussels Pony Club (whose Word-exclusive mix you can listen to here) and a Dj set by The Criime.  Don’t forget to pick up a couple of freshly-minted copies of our print magazine for your browsing pleasure while you’re at it.

7th September
JOYE Gallery, Chaussée de Vleurgat 125 Vleurgatse Steenweg – 1050 Brussels

Design September, Brussels

It’s that time again, folks. For the sixth year, Belgium’s capital will be transformed into a platform for all kinds of design for an entire month of September. Hosting more than 100 design-related events and bringing together major Belgian and international names with exhibitions, open doors, pop-up shops, markets and lectures, Design September also promotes multidisciplinary design efforts that unite furniture design, product design, textile design and more. Many of the exhibitions will be opening this weekend, and our favorites range from Sylvain Willenz’ glass works at Victor Hunt and an introduction to Brazilian design at House Ampersand, to the innovative creations of Belgian design collective Objekten and the Visual Grammar exhibition by Modern Theory, a platform for graphic design and visual culture.

From 6th to 30th September

Alexis Facca/Mr Jo/Tim Van Den Broeck, Brussels

On the eve of our pink album release party, our host Joye Gallery is kicking off a group exhibition of its own – and you’ll be able to catch it if you show up for the party on Friday. The expo will feature the lighthearted and colour-intense works of French artist Alexis Facca a.k.a. Paper Donut, who makes everything – from hamburgers to oversized geometrical forms – out of paper. Then there’s the magical, fairytale-ish, Alice in Wonderland-inspired black and white sketches of Tim Van Den Broeck, as well as drawings by Mr Jo.

Opening 6th September
Exhibition runs until 6th October
JOYE Gallery, Chaussée de Vleurgat 125 Vleurgatse Steenweg – 1050 Brussels

Artisan Social Designer, Brussels

One of our very favourite spots for renewing our natty old wardrobe is definitely Brussels’ MAPP store, a concept shop that’s also known for its well-selected magazine and music selection. Much more than just a clothes shop, MAPP is now putting on its very own exhibition as part of the city’s Design September gig, and will be exhibiting pieces by creators such as Irwin BarbéBoris Dennler and David des Moutis. Promoting a young generation of designers, this expo combines contemporary style with traditional craftsmanship.

Opening 6th September
Exhibition runs until 29th September
MAPP Rue Léon Lepagestraat 5 – 1000 Brussels

Brussels Art Days, Brussels

After a long summer break, Brussels’ galleries are baptising the new season with three days of special viewings. For the whole weekend, they’ll be opening their doors well into the evening and a shuttle service will be making sure the throngs can easily get around to all 37 participating galleries without too much hassle. Topping of our list of Brussels Art Day’s must-sees for this fifth edition are rising Swiss star Léopold Rabus’ haunting works at Aeroplastics (accompanied by a group show curated by Rabus himself), Gilbert & George’s London Pictures (read our interview with the eccentric duo here), and American photographer Roe Ethridge’s images at Gladstone, who is famous for his signature mix of commercial and fine art photography.

From 7th to 9th September
See here for a list of participating galleries

Colour, Brussels

As part of Design September, Brussels design mecca La Fabrika has teamed up with Belgian design web shop De Invasie to bring some colour to your cheeks. Rejecting, for the occasion, all that is black, white and beige, they’ll be showcasing some fun, high-quality bits and pieces from Studio Woot Woot, Ilse Acke, Jeffrey Van Hille and Eric Guen for a month-long colour explosion.

Opening 7th September
Exhibition runs until 29th September
La Fabrika, Rue A. Dansaertstraat 182 – 1000 Brussels

Domesticated Souls, Brussels

Contemplative and playful, the pieces that form part of this exhibition all address the same sentiment: the urge to escape busy city life. As well as exploring our unbridled access to all kinds of media, it’s an exploration of modern viewing habits and the role of domesticated as well as wild nature in our direct surroundings. The artists come from all corners, from America’s Clare Rojas to Israeli Guy Yanai and Italian Francesco Deiana. Belgium gets a look in, too, with homegrown art collective Pica pica. An eclectic and harmonious ensemble that’s colour-intense and powerful.

Opening 7th September 
Exhibition runs until 26th October
Alice Gallery, Rue du pays de Liège 4 Land van Luikstraat – 1000 Brussels

Le Salon, Brussels

Online art platform Le Salon is a website dedicated to presenting and documenting Brussels’ contemporary art scene, and for the very first time its creators are abandoning the world wide web in favour of hosting a real-life exhibition, as well as lectures, performances and a gig. The event, taking place as part of Brussels Art Days, is organised in collaboration with SIC Brussels, London’s FormContent and 1m3 from Switzerland, and is tipped to be worth the effort.

From 7th to 9th September
Le Salon, 34 Rue des Fabriques – 1000 Brussels

Leigh Ledare, Brussels

Contemporary fine art photographer Leigh Ledare, who lives and works in New York, first made a name for himself with his shock- ingly provocative “Pretend you’re Actually Alive” project, a brutal, avert-your-eyes series that explored his ambiguous and highly erotic relationship with his ageing mother, a strip- per, over a period of eight years. Ledare opts for a mix of photography, archive material and text in his mission to uncover human relationships, social taboos, and life’s great themes of identity, love and loss – and he doesn’t beat around the bush. This exhibition features over 100 pieces of Ledare’s oeuvre, with works from all his photographic series to date including “Double Bind” which showcases the artist’s ex-wife, photographed not only by himself but also by her new husband. Given the prominent role others play in his work, Ledare has called the show “Leigh Ledare et al.”: Fascinating and highly personal stuff that sometimes borders on the disturbing.

From 8th September to 25th November
Wiels, Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354 – 1190 Brussels

Dirty Beaches, Brussels

A Canadian with roots in Taiwan, Alex Zhang Hungtai is the creative brains behind Dirty Beaches,  a lo-fi pop outfit that stirred up quite a fuss in 2011 with their debut album, ‘Badlands’. They’re coming to Brussels this weekend to present a fractured, eerie and adrift soundscape that you might not want to miss.

9th September
Atelier Claus, Rue du Brabantstraat 23a – 1210 Brussels

Kazuo Shiraga, Antwerp

Throughout his artistic career, Japanese artist Kazuo Shiraga has chosen to ignore the principles of painting and pictorial composition to the extent that at one point he even abandoned the brush altogether. Having joined the Japanese avant-garde movement “Gutai” – which demanded painting suffused with action and performance as well as true artistic originality – Shiraga began to paint with his bare hands and feet. He developed a method that would later become his trademark: painting with his feet while hanging from the ceiling attached to a rope. The goal, apparently, was to eliminate all consciousness and deliberate composition from his work and to “overcome the duality between body and soul”, between the unconscious power of the body and the conscious power of the mind. This tension, the so-called concept of shishitsu, is central to Shiraga’s work. A fascinating look at one of Japan’s most revolutionary artists.

Opening 6th September
Until 20th October
Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Oude Koornmarkt 16 – 2000 Antwerp

Kumi Oguro, Antwerp

Kumi Oguru is a Japanese artist who has spent much of her recent past in Antwerp. Her dreamy and atmospheric photographs are mainly inspired by the language of cinema, and attempt to establish tension between the genres. She makes historical, theoretical and visual parallels between photography and moving pictures while evoking cinematic genres like horror and thriller. All this is achieved by staging locations and people, theatrical play and deliberately placed effects. Her sober images are almost invariably inhabited by beautiful but faceless mystery women in unusual poses, set in bizarre, sombre and even bloody surroundings and hint at a before and after that’s never quite revealed. Oguru’s first book, “Noise” has recently been published by Caillou Bleu.

From 8th September until 14th October
Stieglitz 19, Klapdorp 2 – 2000 Antwerp

Ilustrarte 2012, Ghent

Every two years, Portugal’s Ilustrarte festival invites children’s illustrators from all over the world to send in their artworks. This year 1,600 answered the call, and a jury of five selected the fifty best submissions. Among the selected scribblers are a number of Belgians, including Tim Van de Abeele, Anne Herbauts and Kaatje Vermeire. After the winning works were exhibited in Lisbon, the show, whose ultimate goal is to promote children’s illustration as an art form, is coming northwards for a stint at Ghent’s KASK, and it’s not just for kiddies.

Opening 6th September
Exhibition runs until 30th September
KASK, Campus Bijloke, Zwarte Zaal, Louis Pasteurlaan 2 – 9000 Ghent