Wim Catrysse, Brussels

Courtesy of VidalCuglietta

Belgian artist Wim Catrysse’s new triple-screen video installations centre around Kawah Ijen, a volcano in Eastern Java. In September 2010 Catrysse spent 12 days in Indonesia to film the impressive natural spectacle, capturing a rather apocalyptic aura of the sulfur that emerges from the active crater. The chemical element has been associated with Satan’s realm as a symbol of hell, adding a rather sinister notion to the experience. Besides documenting nature in its full-blown wonderment, the artist also draws attention to the mining of sulfur, exposing the everyday business of exploiting the earth. Inspiring references to romanticists as Caspar David Friedrich, Cartrysse’s fascinating, awe-inspiring and somehow otherworldly works of nature motifs focus on the extreme and the outward-bound.

Until 23rd December
Galerie VidalCuglietta, Boulevard Barthélémy 5 Barthélémylaan, 1000 Brussels
www.vidalcuglietta.com

Fiction, Narrative & History, Brussels

Courtesy of D+T Project

Exploring themes of capitalism, corporate cultures and political speech, Fiction, Narrative & History touches upon some highly controversial issues of our times through the works of several different artists. With his video analysis of the Marxist and Communist legacies in today’s world, American artist Zachary Formwalt unravels its close-knit relationships to contemporary symbols and media imagery. Swedish artist duo Goldin&Senneby host a conference surrounding the movie Headless at Regus which delves into the artists’ research into offshore financing and the activities of an imaginary company called Headless. And finally, Dutch video and performance artist Nicoline van Harskamp uses footage of conversations, speeches or autobiographies to reveal the power of the spoken word. High-minded and high- browed stuff not for the faint-hearted.

Until 23rd December
D+T Project, Rue Bosquetstraat 4, 1060 Brussels
www.dt-project.com

Wunderkammer, Brussels

The history of the curiosity cabinet (Wunderkammer in German) dates back as far as the 16th century, when pharmacists and high-society people started collecting rare or curious objects without wanting to be encyclopaedic but trying to reveal the innermost secrets of reality and nature itself. Paradoxically, the pieces on display in the Botanique’s show focus essentially on pure creations made by contemporary Belgian or Belgium-based artists, including Jan Fabre, Michel Mouffe, Charley Case or Jean-Luc Moerman. Tattooed skulls, stuffed and stretched animals – step into a bizarre world of wonders.

From 8th December to 29th January 2012
Botanique, Rue Royale 236 Koningsstraat, 1210 Brussels
www.botanique.be

Is Tropical DJ Set, Brussels

After  having just recently set the Botanique on fire with their catchy electro rock, the London three-piece now comes back to Brussels to show their skills as DJs at the Wood’s monthly Indie Club. The newest Kitsuné output stirred quite some attention this year, not only with its radio hit ‘The Greeks’ that won them a prize at the UK music video awards, but also for covering their faces with scarfs and masks at all times (we interviewed the up-and-comers just a few weeks ago). Besides a mix of Is Tropical’s favourite tunes, Wood’s residents will keep you on your feet with the freshest indie music and timeless rock anthems (think The Clash, Blur or The Drums). Get ready for a hot sweaty night and some real rock’n’roll.

Watch the award-winning video ‘The Greeks’:

16th December
Wood, Chemin de la Meute 1 Jachtkoppelweg, 1000 Brussels
www.istropical.com

Black Lips, Brussels

Fireworks, vomiting, nudity, urinating, enflamed instruments, a chicken: The stage antics of the Atlanta four-piece can be quite a hardcore experience – nothing for the faint-hearted. The band with a penchant for provocation, evident in their latest video, just brought out their 6th studio album on Vice records this year: ‘Arabia Mountain’. Despite having Mark Ronson as a producer, Black Lips manage to keep their bad boy attitude intact. Guaranteed to be a memorable night.

Watch the newest single ‘Family Tree’:

17th December
VK, Rue de l’Ecole 76 Schoolstraat, 1000 Brussels
www.vkconcerts.be

Beyond Style, Antwerp

Courtesy Gallery 51

With its panoramic view on ‘style’, the exhibition at Gallery 51 does justice to the elusiveness and subjective nature of the term that means much more than just fashion. Focusing on the charismatic presence of the photographed subject ‘Beyond Style’ finds a common denominator in images that at first glance can seem rather opposed to the viewer. Anonymous African photos are presented next to international icons such as Brigitte Bardot or Paul Newman. The displayed works range from influential fashion images by William Klein or Frank Horvat and portraits by Irving Penn or Jaques-Henri Lartigue to Diane Arbus’ gripping photographs of eccentrics.

Opening 8th December, 18h00
Gallery 51, Zirkstraat 20, 2000 Antwerp
www.gallery51.com

Manor Grunewald, Ghent

Courtesy of Fortlaan 17

Manor Grunewald, the young Belgian painter that made it on the cover of our white album, is currently exhibiting at the Fortlaan 17 Gallery in Ghent. With the exhibition ‘I always wanted to be David Copperfield, but I turned out to be a painter’, the self-taught painter attempts to find a link between the magical and the arts, constantly bending reality and generating illusions. Nevertheless Grunewald’s works are always more defined by his paths towards the canvas rather than artistic techniques, always starting out from the observation of people and cultures and how reality is commonly perceived.

Until 28th January 2012
Galerie Fortlaan 17, Fortlaan 17, 9000 Ghent
www.fortlaan17.com

Charles Burns, Leuven

Courtesy of M Museum Leuven

Leuven’s M Museum presents more than 200 works from the past thirty years by American graphic novelist and illustrator Charles Burns, best known for his comic books referencing pop art and culture whose atmosphere ranges from kitschy nostalgia and cheap sensation to haunting horror and dark worlds. His stories touch themes as adolescence and sexual awakening and are combined with recurring images of mutation, plague, alienation and violence. What many people don’t know: Burns also designed album covers for Iggy Pop, illustrated advertising campaigns for Altoids or Ok Soda and even did covers for Time, The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine.

From 8th December to 11th March 2012
M Museum Leuven, Leopold Vanderkelenstraat 28, 3000 Leuven
www.mleuven.be

Last minute christmas sales to catch:

Brussels: Dress is more pop up sale

From 16th to 18th December

Centre Bruxellois de la Mode et du Design, Nouveau Marché aux Grains 10 Nieuwe Graanmarkt, 1000 Brussels

www.dressismore.com

Antwerp: I/OBJECT christmas pop up store

Until 18th December

Closet, Volkstraat 9, 2000 Antwerp

www.iobjectstore.com

Ghent: I/OBJECT christmas pop up store

Until 18th December

A&Gallery, Schepenhuisstraat 17, 9000 Gent

www.iobjectstore.com