Brussels is one of those cities that tricks you at first sight. Under an apparent simplicity (although it is the main administrative center of the EU), is a capital with one of the most powerful artistic scenes in Europe. This weekend we had the pleasure of sharing a very special trip with the editor of Girls Like Us, Jessica Gysel. The Belgian Ministry of Tourism sponsored this trip through a program which aims to stimulate female, queer and lesbian art as we are living in a time in which the female presence in fairs and exhibits is fading. “Girls Heart Brussels” started its visit at Art Brussels, a fair that has very little to envy quality-wise from its sister fair in Basel. The feel of the fair is much more relaxed and fresh in comparison to Basel, which has now become an art supermarket for celebrities and wealthy Slavic businessmen.
While Art Brussels counted on the participation of known artists such as Tracy Emin, Sol Lewitt and Marina Abramovič, aside from these well-known stars, the work of newcomers such as Ingrid Calame, Anahita Razmi, Toril Johannessen and Erika Hock was outstanding. Marlena Kudlicka, whose work has a strong influence of 1920s German Art Deco, also stood out. After ingesting a great quantity of art, we were able to enjoy a new concept of fair conceived as an alternative experiment to the original. “Propositions” is a space located in a 10,000 m2 abandoned office building where various international galleries expose the work of young artists from all around the world. Inside the fair there was also a small space dedicated to artists’ books, where we were enjoyed the distinct works of Lotte Reimann and Hana Miletic.
Not without a playful flair, the official organization had a party in one of the most underground clubs (in a former Carrefour supermarket) of the capital. Curators, gallerists and some confused collectors mingled with hundreds of young people from different parts of Europe. It was a party to remember, no doubt. Further afield, the Wiels Contemporary Art Center hosted two exhibitions related to femininity. The first of them “Body Talk,” focused on issues such as feminism, the body and sexuality through works of African artists based in Belgium in the late 1990s. On the second floor, artist Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, who leads one of the most important groups of international dance, performed Work/Travail/Arbeid. The performance is a conceptual piece that stood out due to the natural brilliance with which the dancers perform a series of movements, which seemed to be born at that very precise moment.