Recently I was explaining to an Israeli friend, who was about to take off for a week in Brussels, the spots he must discover during his stay in my lovely city. We talked about food (obviously), cool neighbourhoods, bars, concept stores, bookshops, local bloggers he has to follow to be sure to not miss the last trendy places, and of course I listed for him the galleries and museums that are worthy to stop by.
This conversation gave me the idea to prepare every week (I will try my best to stick to it) a post about each area that I like in Brussels, and present the art spaces, museums, art centers, or galleries that I always recommend to my fellow globetrotters or even to my Belgian friends. I hope you will like the idea, feel free of course to send me your best arty spots in your area in Brussels. If I see that this little project works well for Brussels, I will prepare one also for Tel Aviv.
F I R S T S T O P : S A I N T G I L L E S
I had to start with St Gilles as it is where I grew up and spent most of my life. The neighbourhood changed and evaluated a lot during the last passed years. Sometimes popular, sometimes bobo (bourgeois bohemian), young but with an old feeling, St Gilles is a very diversified and surprising place. There is many spots to discover from a fancy restaurant to a little Portuguese canteen only known by curious locals, from new organic markets to old fashion grocery stores, from long time art spaces to recent experimental ones. St Gilles is not boring at all, just walking around and looking at its architecture (you will easily spot some Horta/Art Nouveau facades) on a sunny day is a must.
It is time to share with you my little St Gilles secret and not so secret art spot, but before that I wanted to let you know about my street as many artists studios and a beautiful art school are making the Rue Du Métal one of the most arty street in the area. If you go there during the “Parcours d’artistes” you will be surprise to see that most of the houses are opening their doors to show some local talents.
Le Salon D’art : This first recommendation is an institution in the area, and one of my father favourite spot. Jean Marchetti the owner of the place is a passionate guy who mixed an hair salon with a quality exhibition space. Friend of Alechinski, he also created a publishing house. A must go.
Abilene Gallery : A place dedicated to contemporary art creation based in a cool house from Rue de la Victoire. The minds behind this interesting project want the gallery to be a platform of interaction and creative exchanges. A place that is never boring.
Galerie Paris-Beijing : Pretty much across Le Salon d’art, in a beautiful Horta house, the gallery is the perfect place to discover the contemporary Asian art scene.
De La Charge : The place gather 19 artists, who established in a big house their working space/studios, and also an exhibition area. They are not tagging themselves as a collective, as they all work on their personal projects, but share a willingness to expose young emerging talents from different artistic disciplines.
Contretype : In the beautiful Hôtel Hanon, Contretype is a space essentially dedicated to contemporary photography. Their exhibitions are always very interesting offering most of the time a real reflection on photography as an art medium.
Horta Museum : A must go for all the Art Nouveau lovers.
Rectangle : ”Rectangle is an artist run public space project that re-uses the strategies of advertising campaigns in the realm of an urban surrounding. Rectangle is a home made billboard standing on the roof top of a former label printing workshop now used as a collective artist studio, in Saint Gilles, Brussels.Every two months a new artist work is displayed and remains visible from the street, 24/7″.
Valérie Bach Gallery : A very beautiful art space offering diverse exhibitions of contemporary visual artists.
Dehors – Contemporary Art Window : A window on the Chaussée de Charlerois dedicate its space to young or less young belgians artists. It might be a challenging place to curate a piece of art but it is surprisingly working for the best.
There is of course many more art spaces in Saint Gilles so feel free to share your arty addresses in the comment section below or by email.