The Top 5 Exhibitions to See in Belgium This Summer

Thursday, June 6, 2024
The Top 5 Exhibitions to See in Belgium This Summer

From the modernists in Ghent to Leaps of Faith in Hasselt.

Modernists in Ghent, MSK Museum Ghent

This summer, the museum presents a wide selection of artworks from the period 1900-60, for the first time since 2021. In this diverse selection, the museum closely follows the developments in modern Belgian art since the turn of the century, placing them in a unique international perspective.

Popular painters such as Jean Brusselmans, James Ensor, Paul Delvaux, René Magritte, Victor Servranckx, Edgard Tytgat, Frits Van den Berghe, Gustave Van de Woestyne and Rik Wouters are shown alongside their foreign contemporaries-painters Armand Guillaumin, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Oskar Kokoschka, Henri Le Sidaner and Albert Marquet. Sculpture is also particularly well represented with sculptors Jozef Cantré, Oscar Jespers, George Minne, Auguste Rodin, Ernest Wijnants and many others.

Gustave Van De Woestyne, Christ in the Wilderness 1939

Leaps of Faith, Z33 Hasselt

Modern Western art carries a religious legacy even if its primary purpose isn’t religious. The influence of religion is evident in the symbolism of art and the unique status attributed to artworks. Art like religion can connect realms: the material to the spiritual, the earthly to the transcendent, and the finite to the infinite. Its religious roots are never lurking far from the surface.

Leaps of Faith explores the relationship between faith and contemporary art. How do we navigate the uncertainties of life? What gives us structure and comfort? For many artists, the significance of faith extends beyond its religious meaning. Faith is about our relationship to the unknown and the unknowable; about doubt and conviction; about what you cannot know but perhaps can feel. In this sense, faith – like art – represents a leap into the unknown.

With works by Igshaan Adams, Francis Alÿs, David Bernstein, Peter Buggenhout, Justin Caguiat, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Edith Dekyndt, Kira Freije, Theaster Gates, Daan Gielis, Peter Hujar, Kris Martin, Sophie Nys, Antonio Obá, Namsal Siedlecki, Paul Thek, Danh Võ and Cathy Wilkes.

Installation view of Leaps of Faith at Z33, Hasselt. Igshaan Adams, Fall, 2018. Courtesy of the artist, Thomas Dane Gallery and blank projects. Photo: Selma Gurbuz.

Masterpieces from the oeuvre of Jan Davidsz. de Heem, Snijders & Rockox house, Antwerp

Do you love pure beauty? Are you enraptured by a painted illusion of nature? Are you fascinated by a breathtaking rendering of details? Then this first retrospective of De Heem is a must-see.

Jan Davidsz. de Heem (Utrecht, 1606 - Antwerp, 1684) was an exceptional artist in his time, working in the Netherlands, a divided region since the Fall of Antwerp in 1585. As a painter he worked across national boundaries to elevate the beauty of still life painting to its zenith, insisting on high quality, continually pursuing renewal and maintaining the vitality of the genre.

Jan Davidsz. de Heem, Norddeutsche Privatsammlung, Familie Lukosch

Abstract, La Boverie, Liège

Including works by : Malevitch, Vasarely, De Staël, Poliakoff, Estève, Arp, Nicholson, Degottex, Jacobsen, Mortensen, Chapoval, Mathieu, Magnelli, Viola, Csaky, Chauvin, Tapies, Viallat, Hantai, Soulages, Mouffe, Vasarely, Delaunay, Sol LeWitt, as well as Belgian artists such as Dotremont, Van Anderlecht, Lacasse, Closon and Marthe Wéry, and contemporary artists...

From 31 May to 18 August 2024, La Boverie is inviting young and old alike to (re)discover the abstract movement through more than 100 exceptional works over an area of more than 1,000m2. From its founder - Kandinsky - to the most contemporary artists, the "abstract:" exhibition aims to show that this movement is not just for initiates. It invites visitors on a sensitive journey to the heart of this artistic universe, revealing the major influence it has had on our lives.

"The meaning and task of every artistic endeavour is to free the spiritual being of form and colour and to free it from the restraints of the world of objects. Out of such an endeavour, imagination-free art was created". With these words, Johannes Itten, a lecturer at the Bauhaus, concluded his book 'Art and colour'. Before the 20th century, no one had thought that a work of art could limit itself in striving to resemble reality, by consisting only of its constituent elements such as form, colour or material.

But what is abstract art, and does it still make sense today?

The "abstract:" exhibition provides answers to these questions through a journey through a wide selection of major works, many of which come from the collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Liège - a testament to its incredible richness - supplemented by loans from other institutions. In dialogue with the works, exclusive interviews with contemporary artists and key players in the art world help visitors to grasp the importance and extreme vitality of abstract art.

Composition n° 450, 1955 © Sonia Delaunay © Musée des Beaux-Arts de Liège/La Boverie

Rebel Garden, Musea Brugge

Musea Brugge presents the most urgent art exhibition of the moment: Rebel Garden. What is man's impact on nature, and how does it affect our environment? The ambitious expo breaks out of traditional museum walls and occupies no fewer than three museum sites. Old and contemporary art take a close look at the tumultuous relationship between man and nature and highlight the painful wound that is climate crisis.

Rebel Garden and its accompanying extensive public programme broach highly topical themes such as the effects of global warming, the sixth mass extinction and climate activism, man's symbiosis with nature and the relationship between artist and garden. A selection of artworks from our own collection introduces those themes and engages in debate with some recent works and creations.

Works from our own collection by Roger Raveel, Emile Claus and Otobong Nkanga, amongst others, are on display, but you can also expect top-notch work by over fifty contemporary artists such as Guillaume Bijl, Christine Ödlund, Giuseppe Penone, Rose Wylie and Per Kristian Nygård, whose garden sculpture is one of the eye-catchers of Rebel Garden on Gruuthuseplein.

Jean Brusselmans
Main Image :James Ensor, The Virgin of Consolation, 1892

Stephanie Cime

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Image of the Day

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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