"Making art and being an artist is a philosophical task than merely producing objects."
For 5 days, Brussels was the epicentre of the contemporary art field, with numerous exhibitions, visits and dinners organized by participating Brussels-based galleries, collectors and institutions.
The 31 edition of Art Brussels took the lead. Under the new artistic directorship of Katerina Gregos – who boldly opted for an entirely new approach – the fair was awaited with great anticipation. The 'look and feel' of Art Brussels was entirely redesigned by Brussels designer Tom Mares and artist Walt Van Beek, chosen from a shortlist of Belgian designers and invited to work on the scenography of the fair. They revamped the art fair into a veritable Art City. Visitors were welcomed and registered in an airport-style check-in area; the fair hostesses were dressed by designers Natacha Cadonici & Miss V. in matching airline outfits. This year’s Art Brussels bag was designed by artist Kendell Geers.
Art was there to be enjoyed from the very entrance: sculptures by Maarten Vanden Eynde welcomed visitors at the front of the building; also outside was an impressive project by Han Hoogebrugge who designed the exterior of a Range Rover, which also featured video animations in its interior.
Once inside, visitors could enjoy the fair’s new feeling of spaciousness and airiness. The carpet-stripped floors blurred the boundaries between the wide corridors and the galleries. Fluorescent tube lines guided visitors to the various zones and rest areas. Seats were always full at THE CINEMA, a cleverly designed space with comfortable vintage cinema chairs where interested viewers could enjoy a curated section of videos and short films.
On THE STAGE, the platform for conferences, debates, and performances, audiences crowded in to follow the programme that had been composed by Katerina Gregos with much dedication, and interest. This probably also explains why more curators and representatives of local and foreign museums, as well as other actors from the art field, found their way to Art Brussels.
The programme included more than 50 key figures from the international contemporary art world: curators, artists, collectors and intellectuals such as, among others, Chris Dercon, Director of Tate Modern, London; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director at the Serpentine Gallery, London; Sabrina Van der Ley, Director of Contemporary Art at the National Museum, Oslo; Ute Meta Bauer, dean of Fine Arts at the Royal College of Art in London, and Guy Ullens de Schooten, founder of UCCA, Beijing.
187 Belgian and international galleries participated at the fair. Here, we brought to you some presentation of the booth by the gallery owners.
Jan De Clercq presents the booth of Gallery Meessen De Clercq, Brussels, at Art Brussels 2013 with the work of Fabrice Samyn:
Greta Meert presents the stand of the Galerie Greta Meert (Brussels) at the Art Brussels 2013 with a selection of works by the gallery artists:
Mylene Ferrand of Galleria Continua (Italy, France, China) presents the gallery booth at Art Brussels 2013 with works by Hans Op De Beeck:
Baron Osuna, Director of Super Window Project (Bordeaux & Kyoto), presents the gallery booth at Art Brussels 2013:
Six artists and curator run spaces were invited by Katerina Gregos to attend the fair. Etablissement d'en Face projects, Komplot, Institut de Carton, Maison Grégoire, (SIC) and La Loge presented conceptual, even adventurous projects, which were perfectly in line with their independent and non-commercial status.
Here we have Etienne Wynants, Director of Etablissement d'en Face projects, introduces the curatorial concept of their booth at Art Brussels 2013:
Pirelli supports the Solo Shows at Art Brussels with the Pirelli Prize
The Solo Shows present work by established and emerging artists throughout the two halls of the fair. Galleries are given the opportunity to make a clear statement by presenting one specific project by one particular artist. This gives visitors the chance to get a more in-depth feel for the work of the artist. The Solo Shows were pre-selected by
Katerina Gregos, based on the submissions of the participating galleries. The best solo exhibition at the fair, selected by the Art Brussels Collectors Committee, was awarded the Pirelli Prize worth 10,000 euros. The winners of the best Solo Show 2013 are David Brognon & Stephanie Rollin, represented by the Belgian gallery Albert Baronian.
A second prize awarded at Art Brussels was the Karen Renders Award. Karen Renders stood at the head of Art Brussels for 15 years and always had a big heart for young and emerging talent. Art Brussels would like to continue her commitment and her life's work. The prize - a 50% discount on the next participation at the fair - goes to the gallery with the best stand in the Young Talent zone, selected by Katerina Gregos. The winner of the Karen Renders Award is the gallery D + T Project, for their intelligent and thoutfully curated project on the concept of identity.
©The Karen Renders Prize Awarded to D + T Project, Art Brussels 2013. From Left, Anne Lafère, Alexandre Daletchine (D+T Project), Nele Verhaeren, Gregory Thyrion (D+T Project) and Art Brussels Artistic Director Katerina Gregos
Next year, Art Brussels 2014 runs from 24 to 27 April in Halls 1 and 3 of Brussels Expo.
Art Brussels 2014 runs from 24 to 27 April in Halls 1 and 3 of Brussels Expo.