Art Brussels opens today for its 50th consecutive year—the most institutionalized gathering of contemporary art available in the Belgian capital.
Since the city has no native contemporary or modern art museums, Art Brussels tends to fill the void, even if only for a few days, by inviting international and local galleries to display their best work a la Art Basel. This fair, however, is much smaller and while it lacks the star power of bold-faced names like Jeff Koons, it leaves room for newcomers and diverse young talent. Out of the 759 artists on view, 93 percent are living, and 30 percent are under 40 years old. The space is divided into galleries displaying a presentation of mixed artists, a solo show or installation for one established artist, or a discovery booth that supports emerging international artists relatively unknown to Europe.
For the 50th anniversary, Elena Sorokina also curated an artistic project examining the concept of possession in art: does translated text belong to the writer or the translator, at what point does a historically important work of art become public cultural property? It’s a meta question to be posed at a fair, where the bottomline goal means facilitating the transfer of ownership between artist, gallery, and buyer, and not one that’s easy to answer when considered in the context of intellectual property—something to see certainly if you’re heading to Art Brussels, and so are these 10 things!
My Secret Rose Garden by Arne Quinze
Stationed toward the entrance of the fair, this mixed media piece is a standout at Maruani Mercier’s booth, commanding attention any time you’re within eyeshot. The vibrant acrylics draw a viewer in to be further hypnotized by a seemingly endless vortex of roses. It’s the most recent work in a series of garden paintings by 46-year-old Belgian artist Arne Quinze, whose large-scale architectural installations have graced public spaces across the world.