“Art Brussels”

Art Brussels, the dashing fifty-year-old

Art Brussels is holding its 50th edition from 19 to 22 April! Set up in 1968, this most contemporary of Belgian fairs is celebrating half a century of success at the heart of Brussels. 30,000 visitors are expected to pass through the warehouses of Tour & Taxis to discover the 147 selected galleries. We’re almost inclined to forget it – and yet: Art Brussels is one of Europe’s oldest art fairs. The event, created in 1968, was born two years before Art Basel (1970) and long before the FIAC (1974) or London’s Frieze (2003). In 2018, Art Brussels is celebrating 50 years of success, and over a few days in April, it will become Europe’s artistic capital. It was in 1968 that a few dealers belonging to the Association des Galeries d’Art Actuel de Belgique teamed up to launch the first edition of “Art Actuel”. In the interests of renewing the artistic offer extended to the public, they invited overseas peers to come and show work in the Belgian capital. Quickly, the fair’s reputation spread and grew from year to year, until it became a key rendezvous for the art market. A decidedly modern initiative for the era, the event launched a new approach to fairs in Belgium. Half a century later, in 2018, the event preserves the pioneering spirit that has characterised it since its debut. A number of evolutions have punctuated its path: Art Actuel would become Art Brussels, and over the years, the fair has moved to different sites. There was the Casino in Knokke, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, or more recently, the Heysel… Since 2016, Art Brussels has spread out its booths in the warehouses of Tour & Taxis, one of the most striking examples of the city’s industrial heritage. This year, the...

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François-Noé Fabre wins the 9th Prix MAIF pour la Sculpture

The 9th Prix MAIF pour la Sculpture has been attributed to young artist François-Noé Fabre for his project Agava, inspired by the American plant which flowers only once, then loses its water. The prize was awarded during a ceremony organised at the Atelier Richelieu in Paris, in the presence of the jury and the finalists. His sculpture will be made into two bronze copies in the next few months. In 2017, the artist will be taking part in the Salon Jeune Création, at the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Pantin. The Agava sculpture is composed of steel cushions found by the artist in a marble quarry in Essous, used to move raw-marble blocks after they their removal from the sides of mountains. The cushions were slowly blown up with air or water to bear loads of several tonnes, before ending up buried in the quarry. Born in 1988, François-Noé Fabre is a graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His work was shown this year at the Confort Moderne in Poitiers and at the DOC-Paris during Art Brussels, in...

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A good year for Art Brussels

One month after the Brussels attacks that caused organisers to dread a negative impact on the fair, the 34th edition has ended with outright success. While certain visitors, namely Americans, cancelled their travel plans, causing a logical decline in visitor rates, this edition nonetheless kept its end up, with a fine artistic selection offered by 141 galleries. Le Figaro spoke of “diabolical energy” while the Belgian media highlighted the bold selection. For the first time, this edition took place at the Tour&Taxis. Sales were good, with an average price of around €20,000 this year while prices started at around €8,000. A bronze sculpture by Jaume Plensa sold for €340,000 at the Galerie Lelong stand. Xavier Hufkens sold a work by Alice Neel for €550,000 and a mask by Thomas Houseago for $160,000. The MOT International gallery presented works by Laure Prouvost, winner of the 2013 Turner Prize, namely Swallow Me, From Italy to Flander, a tapestry for €60,000. Despite a difficult context, economically as well as politically, Brussels has managed to stand out as a key contemporary art market in the hearts of...

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Big changes ahead for Art Brussels

Art Brussels is changing its location for its 2016 edition. Scheduled from 21 to 24 April, the fair will be taking place at the Tour & Taxis, a former industrial site in the Belgian capital. The 2016 edition will also see a drop in the number of exhibitors, now down to 141. It will also be the last year for Katarina Gregos, the event’s artistic director since 2012. Finally, a new section is being opened: Solo, gathering monographic exhibitions. Twenty-four galleries from eighteen countries are taking part in the event. The Discovery will be back, dedicated to young artists and emerging galleries, this year occupying a larger space than in previous years. Finally, Rediscovery will give 14 galleries the opportunity to present an artist deemed forgotten or underestimated. Also of note is an artistic project headed by the Belgian photography collective OTTOMURA, that will be offering a series of photographs of the Tour & Taxis filled with coloured smoke to recall the nature of this industrial space, at the borderline of the notions of emptiness and fullness. Another artistic project will be presenting “Cabinet d’amis: the accidental collection of Jan Hoet”, a selection of works from the personal collection of the Belgian exhibition curator, featuring artists such as Christian Boltansky and Joseph...

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Katerina Gregos to give up the helm of Art Brussels

Brussels’ large contemporary art fair, Art Brussels, has announced the departure of its artistic director Katerina Gregos at the end of the next edition to take place at Tours & Taxis from 22 to 24 April 2016. Exhibition curator Katerina Gregos was in charge of Vincent Meessen’s exhibition for the Belgian pavilion at the last Venice Biennale. After four editions, Katerina Gregos explains her wish to refocus on her exhibition curatorship activities. This resignation is not the result of a disagreement, and Katerina Gregos remains open to “curatorial” collaborations with the fair, reports La Libre...

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