Swans, Xiu Xiu and a look back on YSL. This weekend in Belgium.

Stanley Whitney, Brussels


New York-based Philadelphian Stanley Whitney makes art “about imbalance within a paradigm of balance, irregularity that invokes regularity to depart from it,” writes The New York Times. Brussels’ Albert Baronian gallery is now putting on a solo show of his work called ‘Goya’s Lantern.’ With an obvious obsession with and fascination for colour, structure also acts as a cornerstone of his practice, which is largely inspired by music and poetry. Just as is the case with gospel, blues or jazz, Whitney uses the so-called principle of ‘call-and-response’, choosing a colour and then another which will ‘respond’ to the first one. The idea is sound through colour, “creating a polyrhythm and confronting something very beautiful with a lot of humanity to see something that you think you know but then realise you don’t,” says the artist.

Opening 28th March
Albert Baronian, Rue Isidore Verheydenstraat 2 – 1050 Brussels

Farhad Moshiri, Brussels


“One of the brightest lights of contemporary art in the Middle East,” says Artinfo of Iranian-born Farhad Moshiri. The Tehran-based artist, who earned his art degree in California, has been named the ‘Jeff Koons of the Middle East’, a comparison that has not necessarily been warmly received. His paintings, installations, videos and sculptures deal with the differences and similarities between Eastern and Western culture, and frequently incorporate elements of globalised, consumerist pop culture. “I’m actually interested in second-generation pop culture, where culture is adapted; culture that is fed down by the media, one that is adapted by the general public. A very understandable example is when Coca-Cola is written in Arabic; the overall look and aesthetic of the bottle changes,” he says.

Opening 28th March 
Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Rue de Livourne 35 Livornostraat – 1050 Brussels

Yves Saint Laurent, Brussels

As one of the most influential fashion designers in history, Yves Saint Laurent, who passed away in 2008, has had a great impact on how women dress today. The New York Times describes him as “a maverick and a generator of controversy”, mainly due to his suggestion that women should wear pants, too – which was quite a revolutionary idea back in the ’60s. His multifaceted, iconic creations were inspired by the Beatnik movement and sailors’ coats, but also by Mondrian’s paintings. This exhibition gives an extensive overview of the designer’s vast body of work, with many items never having been shown before.

Until 15th May
Centre Culturel ING, Place Royale 6 Regentschapsstraat – 1000 Brussels

Compact Disc Dummies and Too Tangled, Brussels

Compact Disc Dummies, a self-described ‘electropunktrashclashrock’ outfit, is a musical duo made up of two brothers from the Belgian town of Desselgem. Call it what you will, Lennert and Janus just won the renowned ‘Humo’s Rock Rally’, a contest whose hall of fame includes the likes of Goose, Das Pop and The Van Jets. Joining them on stage will be indie electro duo Too Tangled from Ghent who’ve just released their second album ‘Where The Echoes Die’.

28th March
Ancienne Belgique, Avenue Anspach 10 Anspachlaan – 1000 Brussels

Recorders and Hey Yeah, Brussels

Having just returned from mixing their debut album in Los Angeles (out on EMI this summer) with none other than Tony Hoffer (M83, Phoenix, Beck, …), Belgian five-piece Recorders are heading back to the live arena this weekend. Grab the chance to get a preview of their record ‘Above the Tide’, a mix of post-pop, indie rock and electro, before they embark on an English mini-tour with Glasgow rockers The Fratellis. Supported by Belgian indie poppers Hey Yeah!.

30th March, Les Halles de Schaerbeek, Rue Royale Ste Marie 22a Koninklijke Sinte-Mariastraat – 1030 Brussels

Precise Operations, Antwerp


The group exhibition ‘Precise Operations’ is a tribute to painting in all its forms and unites the eclectic works of seven different artists from Belgium, The Netherlands and New Zealand, who have all chosen the paintbrush as their weapon of choice. The show demonstrates each artist’s individual conceptual approaches – while Monique Jansen focuses on process, Alexandra Kennedy follows a highly conceptual approach while Noel Ivanoff explores paintings’ possible three-dimensionality.

Until 29th March
Factor 44, Bleekhofstratt 44 – 2000 Antwerp

Swans and Xiu Xiu, Antwerp

Influential American post-punk band Swans can look back on a long and eventful history that includes the usual break-ups and reunions, as well as no fewer than 12 full-length albums. The latest, The Seer, was released in 2012 and managed to score Pitchfork’s seminal Best New Music label: “For 30 years Swans have challenged the boundaries between beauty and ugliness, music and noise, catharsis and abuse. To borrow a verb from their own violent, polarized world, The Seer is the album that transcends them,” Pitchfork writes. Swan will be joined on stage by Californian avant-garders, Xiu Xiu.

30th March
Trix, Noordersingel 28-30 – 2140 Borgerhout, Antwerp

Ulla von Brandenburg, Ghent

Kiosk are presenting German artist Ulla von Brandenburg’s very first Belgian solo show, ‘Gleich Gleich Gleich’, an expo showcasing a site-specific installation focusing on two recent video works. The Paris-based artist, whose work has been shown in renowned places like the Venice Biennal or Paris’ Palais de Tokyo, is especially known for her unsettling films, “haunted by sinister figures and secret symbols, ” as The Guardian puts it. Captivating.

Until 14th April
Kiosk Gallery, Louis Pasteurlaan 2 -9000 Ghent

Supersonic Youth, Liège/Luik


The group exhibition Supersonic Youth, a showcase of young and up-and-coming photographic Belgian talent, is now coming to Liège/Luik after its first stop at Rotterdam’s Fotomuseum. Curators are Anne-Françoise Lesuisse and Marc Wendelski, who were also responsible for Liège/Luik’s 2012 International Biennial of Photography and the Visual Arts. Featured artists include members of photography collective Big Girls Don’t Cry as well as Thomas Sweertvaegher, nominated in our Grey issue as Belgium’s best new talent by Stefan Vanfleteren. Plus Julie Calbert, who’s behind the Cloud Surfing series in our White issue and also made it into the selection. Congrats!

Opening 28th March
BIP, Place des Carmes, 8 – 4000 Liège / Luik

Charif Benhelima, Charleroi


After his fascinating Polaroid exhibition in Brussels’ Bozar last year, Charleroi’s B.P.S 22 is now showing a different side of the Belgian photographer. ‘The Allochtoon’ unites new works – a series called ‘Welcome to Belgium’ – as well as ‘Semites: A Wall under Construction’, both with strong autobiographic undertones. Exploring identity, time, space and memory, Benhelima is inspired by his own past: growing up as an orphan of a Moroccan father and a Belgian mother.

Until 26th May
B.P.S. 22, Boulevard Solvay 22 – 6000 Charleroi