The weekend 16.02

Rosemarie Trockel, Brussels

German-born, Cologne-based Rosemarie Trockel is one of today’s most influential artists, boasting past shows in such renowned places as New York’s MoMA. Now, she finally gets her first big exhibition in Belgium. Alluding to the symbolic and aesthetic of Surrealism and Dada, her subject matter is concerned with contemporary issues, all clearly coming from a female perspective. Trockel questions current concepts of culture, sexuality and art, challenging conventional ideas about social, sexual and gender-related identities and exploring the relations between the conscious and unconscious, the culturally formed and unformed. Wiels’ exhibition gives a comprehensive overview of Trockel’s multi-faceted, diverse artworks ranging from her famous knitting pictures to collages, installations, videos and ceramics spanning a period from the early 1980s until today.

Opens 17th February, 18h30-21h30
Exhibition runs until 27th May
Wiels, Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354 – 1190 Brussels
www.wiels.org

Betty Tompkins, Brussels

Betty Tompkins was a late bloomer of sorts, at least when it comes to her shining artistic stardom. Her rise in the art world took a while, but when her works were finally exhibited for the first time in 2002, she made quite a bang. With her large-scale, photorealistic paintings of sexual intercourse, she ignores all convention and sets out to shock. Apart from the aggressive frankness of the pieces, the era they were created makes them all the more provocative. Tompkins made her first so-called Fuck Paintings in the late 1960s and early 1970s while part of the feminist art movement in the US. This exhibition shines a spotlight on a selection of the artist’s newer works, including both drawings and paintings that stay true to her affinity for close-up sexual imagery that has lost nothing of its confrontational impact. Not for the faint-hearted.

Opens tonight, 16th February, 18h00-21h00
Exhibition runs until 29th March
Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Rue de Livourne 35 Livornostraat — 1050 Brussels
www.galerierodolphejanssen.com

Church of RA, Brussels

Recyclart’s Walls gallery is hosting an exhibition by Church of RA, a Belgian art collective established around Kortrijk’s post-metal band Amenra. Featured artists include Colin H. van Eeckhout, Olli Bery, Mathieu Vandekerckhove, Stefaan Temmerman, Christophe Mencke, Webecameaware and more. Showcasing an eclectic mixture of bits and pieces from different artistic fields, the exhibition ranges from photography to sculpture to performance to video art. What’s more: Friday night’s opening will also feature the book launch of the ‘Smoke & Dust Bootleg Collection’ and concerts by CHVE/Harlowe and Syndrome, all solo projects of Amenra band members.

Opens 17th February, 19h00-22h00
Exhibition runs until 11th March
walls | gallery Recyclart, Rue Des Ursulines 7 Ursulinenstraat- 1000 Brussels
www.welcometowalls.blogspot.com

Michel Mazzoni, Brussels

A vernissage for the exhibition opening of Michel Mazzoni, a French-born, Belgium-based photographer, at Anyspace gallery will also serve as a book launch. Published by Paris’ Editions Enigmatiques, Mazzoni’s latest book ‘God’s Left Eye’ will be presented to the public for the first time. Slipping into the role of a contemporary archaeologist, the artist uses these images to explore the empty and invisible places of this world, trawling deserts and airports and sites that have been exposed to nuclear tests, among others – a sort of cartography of our planet’s territories continuously being transformed by human and natural forces.

Opens tonight, 16th February, 18h00-21h00
Exhibition runs until 17th March
Anyspace Gallery, Rue van Eyckstraat 59 – 1050 Brussels
www.anyspace.be

Kasper Demeulemeester, Brussels

Kasper Demeulemeester‘s project Black&White Photography is inspired by what he thinks of as the whitest and the blackest pages in rock’n’roll history: Metallica‘s Black Album and The Beatles‘ White Album. The Belgian photographer, who has worked for Vice magazine among others, uses human bodies (models painted head to toe in different colours) as backgrounds for the iconic records. For the opening night at Bonnefoi, the organisers have landed a special coup: besides DJs Mensch, Erger je niet and Blanche, Bietnik, Sturmovik & Antonov, who will perform for the first time as a quartet, eccentric US band Beatalicca, known for their hilarious mash-ups of Beatles and Metallica songs, will play an unforgettable gig. A rare opportunity to see this quirky lot in Belgium.

Opens tonight, 16th February, 20h00-04h00
Exhibition runs until 15th March
Bonnefooi, Rue Steenstraat 8 – 1000 Brussels
www.boonefooi.be

PIAS Nights, Brussels

A lot of time has passed since the birth of record label PIAS. Creators Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot started out by distributing music in Belgium only, a venture that grew into a big fat multinational success with offices all over the planet. PIAS celebrates its 30th birthday this weekend with a two-day festival, shining a light on some of the best artists on its books, from post-rockers Mogwai to M83, Editors’ Tom Smith or Berlin’s electro darlings Modeselektor. While Friday’s line-up looks like it’s going to be an intimate and cozy affair, Saturday is dedicated to stirring up an electro party with 2manydjs performing their super-cool ‘Under Covers’ show in their first Brussels gig in yonks. As a bonus, music makers will get the opportunity to meet the record company’s artistic directors and present their bands during a so-called Music Speed Dating type affair.

16th and 17th February
Tour & Taxis, Avenue de Port 86c Havenlaan – 1000 Brussels
www.piasnites.com

Sofie Muller, Antwerp

The title of Sofie Muller‘s exhibition ‘The rest is silence’ comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The final words of the play’s main protagonist, who is the ultimate personification of derangement, inner doubts and rebellion, sit well with the exhibits of this Belgian artist who lives and works in Gent. Her installations, sculptures and drawings address the medical phenomenon of blacking out while also referencing ‘Fahrenheit 451’, the novel by Ray Bradbury about a dystopian world where no critical thinking is allowed. With her burnt wood, patinated bronze sculptures and so-called smoke drawings – created with nothing other than smoke and fumigation – Muller explores a theme that continues to recur in her oeuvre: The individual caught between prevailing norms and the urge for freedom.

Until 30th March
Geukens & De Vil, Pourbusstraat 19 – 2000 Antwerp
www.geukensdevil.com

Untitled, Antwerp

What started out as an experimental affair four years ago has become one of the best dubstep festivals in the region. Spread over two days and two rooms ‘Untitled’ brings together 15 acts from around the world including Belgium, Finland and as far away as Australia. The eclectic line-up, carefully selected by renowned label ‘Dub Police’ ranges from dubstep newcomers to heavyweights like Gemini. Check out the timetable and full line-up here.

17th and 18th February
Trix, Noordersingel 28 – 2140 Borgerhout/Antwerp
www.untitledantwerp.com

AND A LITTLE HEADS UP OF A NIGHT THAT IS CLOSE TO OUR HEARTS:

On Saturday 3rd March, head-turning UK act The Collectable Few will be making their Brussels debut at Beursschouwburg. With supporting acts by Red Juliette, Collectors, Joy Wellboy and Gentlemen of Verona as well as DJ set by Dr Vinyl, the night, quite simply, isn’t to be missed. All info here, and make sure to visit these pages next week for an interview with the organiser.