Jean-Christophe Nourisson, Brussels

“Movements, from memory to oblivion, from presence to absence, from shadow to light, remain what we could qualify as the main ‘themes’ of my work” says French artist Jean-Christophe Nourisson. And it’s true. His abstract sculptures play with contradictory elements that constantly challenge the viewer’s perception. His work is also characterised by the dialogue he creates between the art pieces and the exhibition space, and a desire for the visitor to fill each piece with his or her own personal meaning, exploring the notions of exhibition space, the viewer and the artist.

Opening 10th May
Exhibition runs until 30th June
Joye Gallery, Chaussée de Vleurgat 125 Vleurgatsesteenweg – 1050 Brussels

What the Helsinki, Brussels

In collaboration with the Finnish Cultural Institute, Brussels design shop La Fabrika, known for its carefully chosen stock of furniture, lighting and accessories, is putting on an exhibition of design from Finland. Taking a fine tooth comb to the meaning of Finnish design, there’s about 30 creations on show, by both newbies and established designers. Objects range from Timo Sarpaneva’s enameled pot with wooden handle to Antti Nurmesniemi’s sauna stool, each piece careful to reference the importance of nature in Finnish culture, with a nod to the country’s distinctive way of life.

From 10th to 26th May
La Fabrika, Rue Antoine Dansaertstraat 182 – 1000 Brussels

Kool Koor, Brussels

Newly created exhibition space Blank opens its doors this week with a bit of a bang: the inaugural exhibition boasts the work of none other than graffiti godfather Chuck ‘Kool Koor’ Hargrove, who started out spraying walls and subways in seventies New York. Over time, the vibrating and colorful creations of this street art trailblazer, whose buddy list includes the likes of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, has made it from the streets into the hallowed halls of renowned international galleries and museums.

Opening 10th May
Exhibition runs until 1st July
Blank, Rue de la Régence 9 Regentschapsstraat – 1000 Brussels

De Puta Madre, Brussels

Brussels’ De Puta Madre have a special place in Belgium’s musical chronicles: with the 1995 release of ‘Une Ball Dans La Tête’, this French and Spanish-speaking motley crue of rappers was responsible for the first real hip-hop album released in Belgium, ever. Brussels’ renowned concert venue Ancienne Belgique now wants to pay tribute, with an official stone-laying (no kidding) and a gig that will see De Puta Madre perform their classic record in its entirety. A rare opportunity to catch Belgium’s hip-hop legends live.

10th May
Ancienne Belgique, Avenue Anspach 10 Anspachlaan – 1000 Brussels

KunstenFestivalDesArts presents Subjex live, Brussels

Every year in May,  a whole bunch of Brussels theatres and art centres play host to the KunstenFestivalDesArts, a three-week art festival. This weekend, the festival is putting on a one-of-a-kind party at the Dexia Art Center with Planet-Mu-signed Subjex headlining. Also on the decks are Baby Kruger, Discoballistic, Hosmoz, Dada and DJ Nitro. And you won’t even have to put your hand in your pocket to get in.

12th May
Dexia Art Center, Rue de l’Ecuyerstraat 50 – 1000 Brussels

Aaron Van Erp, Antwerp

Somewhere at the crossroads of figuration and abstraction sits Dutch artist Aaron Van Erp’s disturbing, and at times grotesque and surreal paintings. His work focus includes explorations into such sinister subjects as child abuse, terrorism and sickness. Van Erp, one of the most important young painters in Europe, is a political painter who denounces violence and human suffering – but never without a dollop of humour.

Opening 10th May
Exhibition runs until 30th June
Tim Van Laere Gallery, Verlatstraat 23-25 – 2000 Antwerp

Jan Yoors, Antwerp

Photographs, paintings, tapestries and sculptures – Belgian artist Jan Yoors’ work has many faces. 40 years have passed since his death and it’s only now a well-deserved solo show has been dedicated to his creative genius. With this exhibition of Yoors’ photographs, charcoal drawings and watercolors, this gallery is shining a light on an artist who’s been largely forgotten since the 50s and 60s when his big-sized tapestries were celebrated along with a book about his time with gypsies. The black and white photos on show focus on New York in the 60s and 70s and its ethnic diversity and richness, with everything from Malcom X to Harlem Jews, and the city’s Chinese and Hispanics.

Opening 10th May, 18h00
Exhibition runs until 20th June
Fifty One Fine Art Photography, Zirkstraat 20 – 2000 Antwerp

Sharon Lockhart, Antwerp

This weekend, Extra City is showcasing American artist Sharon Lockhart‘s video installation ‘Podwórka’. The artist, who lives and works in Los Angeles, filmed with a fixed camera to highlight the relation between the moving and the still image. Lockhart’s video lens is directed on the courtyards of the Polish city of Lodz and the children that inhabit them, creating an intimate social portrait of the resourcefulness of kids who turn these urban courtyards into things like soccer fields, playgrounds and sandboxes.

Until 29th July
Extra City Kunsthal, Tulpstraat 79 – 2060 Antwerp

Jessica Backhaus, Antwerp

Photographer Jessica Backhaus, who lives and works in Berlin, is one of the most prominent and distinguished voices in German contemporary photography. ‘One Day in November’ is a series Backhaus dedicated to her mentor Gisèle Freud, and it perfectly encompasses what she’s known for. With a focus on the quiet moments and the oft-overlooked details of everyday life, her visual language is both intimate and delicate. Backhaus’s work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions, including at London’s National Portrait Gallery and Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau.

Opening 12th May, 16h00
Exhibition runs until 17th June
Stieglitz 19, Klapdorp 2 – 2000 Antwerp

Absence # Presence, Ghent

The group exhibition ‘Absence#Presence’ connects two intrinsically intertwined opposites, giving free reign to nine contemporary artists to explore the relation between the two. Using all means of artistic expression from sculpture to painting to installations, each artist has a go at interpreting the theme. Featured artists include Manor Grunewald, Jan Verbruggen, Zachary Wollard, Eva Schlegel and more.

Until 30th June
Galerie Fortlaan 17, Fortlaan 17 –  9000 Ghent

Bert De Geyter, Tine Guns & Sarah Eechaut, Dendermonde

Young Belgian artist Bert De Geyter defines spaces, shelters them or breaks them open. His work is a quest for the secret of the space; what it defines and how to divide it. He draws with and within spaces. For this exhibition, he invites video artist Tine Guns and Word-photographer Sarah Eechaut to create visual side notes.

Opening 10th May, 19h00
Exhibition runs until 10th June
Huis van Winckel, Kerkstraat 24-28 – 9200 Dendermonde