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Art Brussels Special Edition: Homage to the Collector, at the Fair and Beyond
by ArtSlant Team


Homage to the fair's most important asset

Edo Dijksterhuis looks at Portrait of the Collector as a Work of Art, an Art Brussels exhibition celebrating Belgium's beloved collectors.

It was in the mid-eighties that the organizers of Art Brussels approached KunstRAI—later known as Art Amsterdam—with a proposition to merge the two fairs. Both events were then only a few years old and scraping along in a slowly developing art market. The new event would take place alternatingly in the Dutch and the Belgian capital. The Northern party declined.

In 2007 Art Cologne changed its date from fall to spring. The world’s oldest fair for modern and contemporary art was desperately trying to formulate an answer to Berlin’s Gallery Weekend success and didn’t consider Art Brussels serious competition. In 2012 the Cologne fair even blatantly claimed the exact same April-slot as its Belgian counterpart.

Fast forward to 2014: Art Amsterdam has ceased to exist. Art Cologne has been struggling for years with a declining visitor base and the absence of internationally important galleries. Only this year is the German fair—which has sensibly chosen not to overlap with Brussels again—starting to show signs of genuine revival. And Art Brussels? Art Brussels is powering steadily on. It can now be considered one of the continent’s most important medium-sized fair, and in quality right behind the big three: Art Basel, Frieze, and FIAC... 

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Portrait of the Collector as a Producer

Sam Steverlynck explores two Brussels exhibitions that rethink the role of the art collector.

Much has been said about the so-called “Belgian collector.” For captains of industry and local dentists alike, collecting contemporary art almost seems to be part of the Belgian DNA—which explains why the country is reputed for having the highest concentration of art collectors per square kilometer. Yet, as more and more Parisian collectors make the move to Brussels, the Belgian collector is becoming increasingly French. In addition to Art Brussels’ Portrait of the Collector as a Work of Art, the strong presence of collectors in Belgium—and their growing French contingency—is also illustrated by two exhibitions taking place during Art Brussels...

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For Heather Phillipson, language is paramount; her other vocation, as a poet, confirms this. Her voice is the crucial element to the work, so ArtSlant asked her to select five of her works and talk us through them, either commenting on how the work was achieved technically, or what inspired it, or what she feels when she looks at it. Here she describes four shows and an event, as the videos/sculptures often come together and interact within the gallery installation. For Art Brussels, Phillipson will be exhibiting an HD video inside a sculptural environment in the SOLO section of the fair with Rowing, London—sure to be the most dynamic booth at the fair...


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Marina Pinsky, Gaussian Blur I, 2013, Archival inkjet print, 74 1/2 x 60 cm; © Marina Pinsky; Courtesy of the artist and
C L E A R I N G, Brussels | Brooklyn. At Art Brussels.

Tinka Pittoors, The Onlooker, 2014, Mirror, epoxy, paint, ceramics, lacquer, 120 x 60 x 50 cm; Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Triangle Bleu, Stavelot, Belgium. At Art Brussels. 

Dominique Somers and Egon van Herreweghe, Images from artists' book Best Available Copy, which the artists will use to make an installation during Poppositions, 2014; Courtesy of the artists and stilll, Antwerp. At Poppositions.

Laure Prouvost, Far From Words, 2013, Mixed material installation and video, Dimensions variable; Courtesy of the artist and MOTINTERNATIONAL, London | Brussels. At Art Brussels.

Koon Wai-bong, Forestscape, 2013, Ink on silk changshan, 72 x 147 cm; Courtesy of the artist and A Gallery, Hong Kong. At OFF.



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Posted by ArtSlant Team on 4/28/14

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