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A new look: Brussels Gallery Weekend returns stronger than ever
Long-time ambassador of the Brussels art scene, Brussels Gallery Weekend is now approaching its 13th edition. Photo: @StokkStudio / David Baatzsch.

BRUSSELS.- Brussels Gallery Weekend returns in September with a completely new approach, stronger than ever, and with a real eye to the future. This new edition has so much on offer, with 38 galleries participating, a blossoming off-program, projects initiated with different associations, a brand new website, and the must-see exhibition Generation Brussels introducing 12 rising stars showcased along a shop-window city trail. From 3-6 September 2020, art lovers and collectors can visit Brussels and indulge their creativity and passion, enjoying works by artists including Lionel Estève, Lynda Benglis and Richard Aldrich, amongst others. The 13th edition of Brussels Gallery Weekend is set to be a very special edition, full of surprises and innovations.

Long-time ambassador of the Brussels art scene, Brussels Gallery Weekend is now approaching its 13th edition. This year, more than ever, we want to showcase the resilience of this sector, shedding light on the skills and talent of our artists who have garnered appreciation far and wide, both at home and abroad. For the 2020 edition, the event is setting its sights firmly on the future, rethinking its mission, and bringing the programme up to date with a number of new initiatives. The team, led by director Sybille du Roy de Blicquy, is already looking forward to welcoming visitors to Brussels for this slightly special edition, with its dual focus on aesthetic pleasure alongside ensuring safety for all its visitors! “Given the current context it has been a real challenge to make our event sustainable. It is thanks to some great cooperation, and the enormous encouragement and trust placed in us by our public and private partners, that the Brussels Gallery Weekend can go ahead this year. We are delighted, and this once again demonstrates just how dynamic and resilient the contemporary art sector is in Brussels. Furthermore, we hope to maintain the loyalty and trust of the public.”

In order to make sure the public can fully enjoy their visit, the Brussels Gallery Weekend is launching a brand new website where visitors can for some events book a time slot of their choice in advance, or even visit the galleries from the comfort of their home, or perhaps participate in a creative workshop with the whole family. Visitor experience is also optimised for the Generation Brussels exhibition, a launchpad for young talent from the city, which has been transformed into a shop-window city trail.

Once again this year, art galleries and institutions have come together to ensure that the Brussels Gallery Weekend is bursting with interesting collaborations. Visitors can enjoy works such as the mysterious oeuvre of Gauthier Hubert, on show at the Irene Laub gallery and at Botanique. Grégory Gicquel and Daniel Dewar will have a joint exhibition at CLEARING and the Van Buuren museum. And lastly, Michel Rein makes a welcome return, showcasing the work of Anne-Marie Schneider and projections by Ariane Loze which will be on display in the cinema in one of the event’s partner hotels.

This year’s programme also features newcomers including Galerie DYS and Montoro12, alongside Fracas which is set to be a huge success with an exhibition by Anton Reijnders in the Atelier Jespers. Of course we also have to mention some of this year’s big names, including Lionel Estève, Lynda Benglis and Richard Aldrich, as well as Liam Everett who will be on show at Greta Meert and Francesco Clemente at Maruani Mercier. In addition, there will be some new, carefully-curated discoveries on show for our visitors, with a selection of Italian artists exhibiting at MLF, Bruna Canepa at Ballon Rouge, or Martin Belou at Bernier/Eliades… And that’s not all!

Over the past three years, the Brussels Gallery Weekend has become a voice for upcoming generations of young Brussels artists. Under the artistic direction of Belgian curator Evelyn Simons, this year’s edition of Generation Brussels will look slightly different. Simons’ work focuses on public space and peripheral contexts, in the vein of Horst Arts & Music and the Kunsthal Ter Rijst. She is also director of the artists’ residency at the CAB, and is involved in numerous collaborative projects in Belgium and abroad.

This year, Generation Brussels will be spread out throughout the whole city and also in vacant shop windows, calling to mind Simons’ earlier exhibition "Driftwood, or how we surfaced through currents" in Athens (Fondazione Prada, 2017). Works by a dozen artists will be displayed in shop windows along a city trail connecting Brussels downtown neighbourhoods with uptown. “It was a huge challenge for the artists to adapt their work from the planned exhibition in the Vanderborght building into a trail of shop window displays. Luckily they have all demonstrated huge flexibility, and were open to discovering new exhibition spaces and fitting their works into these unexpected new locations. It was a very intense and enriching collaboration and we are delighted with the final result.”

And so, visitors will be able to enjoy art in the form of flowers made out of footballs by Badi Rezzak at Rue de la Régence 55, the suspended bodies by Carlotta Bailly-Borg in the Louise gallery, or words to the city by Jot Fau in the Muntpunt library. The real heart of Generation Brussels 2020 can be found in the Sablon neighbourhood, in Rue Lebeau, where the complex images by Siemen Van Gaubergen will be on show. Finally we should also mention David Tobon – his work was featured last year, and he is returning to the Brussels Gallery Weekend with his first exhibition in the Felix Frachon Gallery.

Art, just like pleasure or passion, needs to be lived. But it also needs to be shared, and this will be made possible thanks to our visitors’ generosity. In collaboration with Pont des Arts, BGW therefore welcomes donations of arts and crafts materials so that our artists can organise workshops for children from Brussels paediatric wards. In addition, the BGW will honour artworks created by artists with children as well as adults from IRSA, Institut Royal pour Sourds et Aveugles, and their artistic counterparts in one of our Info Point shop windows in order to celebrate the fruits of a 10 year long collaboration.

In order to ensure visitors have a relaxed and completely safe experience, each venue will have clear signage displaying the maximum number of people allowed in the space. “This year, Brussels Gallery Weekend will make it possible for artists and gallery owners to reconsider their way of working,” says Olivier Meessen from the gallery Meessen/De Clercq. “Can we keep working as before? How can we welcome our visitors and guide them? What will be the future scope and impact of contemporary artistic creation? These are very pertinent questions, and can lead to some interesting insights. The most important challenge today is to embrace change and create a climate where we can find a better way of living together.”

The galleries are also taking appropriate precautions, by making hand gel available, and ensuring that everyone wears a face mask. Tickets can be reserved online so that the maximum number of visitors is not exceeded for activities such as guided tours or book signings. The opening hours for the exhibition are also being adapted and visits are now spread throughout the whole day.

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