The end of April is resolutely arty in Brussels, our city is surely becoming one of Europe’s most promising art center. So, it’s without much surprises that we are about to host two contemporary art fairs at the same time. Between the well established “Art Brussels” and the rookie “Off Art Fair“, your heart is swinging? Here are some tips to make up your mind.
As much as I know very well “Art Brussels”, I must admit that I never been to the “Off Art Fair”, who is this year presenting its third edition. I was making some research for this post, and I started to wonder why there is more and more new fairs appearing every year, lack of room for all the galleries? Simply business? Different audience targets or philosophy?
I was amuse to read that both “Art Brussels” and “Off Art Fair” described themselves as places that bring together emerging/alternative art galleries and artists alongside established ones. So what is the real difference between them ? What are they both offering in term of art experience?
As you already know I love lists, so here are four good reasons to hit the 32nd edition of “Art Brussels” and four others to discover the promising “Off Art Fair” :
(April 24 – April 27)
The fair might be in its 30’s, she hasn’t aged at all. Every year, they introduce new initiatives and artistic features that keep “Art Brussels” on the top of the leading European art fairs. Hosting 190 exhibitors from about 27 countries, the fair will offer you a true idea of what is happening in the contemporary art world with a cutting-edge touch. Visit the fair on ARTSY.
1. The YOUNG section :
75 galleries focusing on promoting young emerging artists, will bring a fresh breeze to the fair and introducing us to unknown talents.
2. Spotlight on Belgian Collectors :
“For the first time, the fair will stage an exhibition focused on showcasing works from selected private collections, based on a concept conceived by Katerina Gregos,artistic director of the fair. This year’s inaugural exhibition (and the fair’s flagship artistic project) bears the title Portrait of the Collector as a Work of Art, and will bring together highlights from the collections of the Art Brussels’ Collectors Committee, comprised of some of the most outstanding Belgian collectors”*.
3. Belgian Not-For-Profits :
The fair will host six non-profits art spaces (NICC (Brussels), Kiosk (Gent), LLS 387 (Antwerp), CIAP (Hasselt), Hotel Charleroi (Charleroi), and Objectif (Antwerp)), each will present a project that depict their experimental practice of art. This initiative is very interesting as it’s important to show that art is not all about business nowadays.
4. Architecture & Design :
Every year “Art Brussels” rethink the scenography of the fair space, the visual identity and the improvement of the viewing conditions are essential. This time they hired Antwerp-based firm ONO Architectuur (recently nominated for the Young Architect of the Year Award) to design this year’s fair, as it is crucial for them to support young local talent.
OFF ART FAIR
(April 25 – April 28)
After two successful years, the “Off Art Fair” is back for a third edition. As I never been there, I’m quiet curious to discover what kind of alternative fair it’s going to be. Probably less consensual and classic than “Art Brussels”, although I’m not convince yet that the concept will be completely different, but I’m very enthusiastic about the initiative.
1. More intimate :
With less exhibitors (about 53 local and international galleries), we might actually see most of the booths, when fair such like “Art Brussels” are so wide that after a while it becomes tiring to keep going on with our artsy marathon.
2. The team :
As a former art history student, I like the idea that students from the Academy of Fine Art in Brussels are involve in the organisation of the fair. It gives a less conventional approach, and maybe a fresher look to the fair.
3. The Selection :
The galleries features at the “Off Art Fair” are probably less present on the “classic” well established fairs, so I actually can’t wait to discover theses other art spaces and step outside of the box.
4. The Village OFF :
In the same kind of spirit that “YOUNG”, the “VILLAGE OFF” will showcase 25 specific spaces that will be devoted to young galleries and curatorial projects.
Me I will be at the “Art Newspaper” booth in “Art Brussels”, so feel free to stop by to say Hi !