Art Brussels 2009: Size matters

(C) Wim Delvoye, Sahand, 2004, Stuffed Carpet Pig, 51 X 108 X 27 cm courtesy Rodolphe Janssen Galerie

The 27th edition of Brussels contemporary art fair took place in Heysel close to the Atomium but it probably still needs some time till the fair will be as well known as one of the hallmarks of “la capitale de l´Europe”. On Saturday noon the fair was well attended (some 30,000 visitors are expected) and around 180 galleries presented what you expect to find at an art fair.


Given this number of participating galleries it is somewhat disappointing that many of the internationally important galleries did not go to Brussels. I was missing White Cube, Zwirner, Coles, and the like.


Among the participating Americans Barbara Gladstone is to be mentioned, who also runs a permanent showroom in Brussels. The majority of galleries were European.


However, given the enormous area covered by the fair (try to get in good shape before the fair returns next year) some interesting works were to be detected.


Brussels art dealer Rodolphe Janssen showed the irritating work of Wim Delvoye: He runs an ‘art farm’ in China. There he tattoos on the pigs carpet patterns or brand name logos. He has them stuffed, when they are dead. Finally they end up in a gallery. His work already could be seen at last year’s Frieze art fair in London. I am not sure if I like his work - but it is more powerful than a Belgian pork sausage.


  Simon Lee Gallery of London, GB, showed the excellent painting ‘Nude on purple Chair’ by George Condo

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. I like him because he manages to do imaginary 'portraits' in an old-master technique to comment our time.  
(C) Roberto Diago, Sin titulo, 2000, Mixed on yute. 200 by 150 cm courtesy Galeria Habana


Like at this year’s Pulse Art Fair New York the Cuban Galeria Habana again showed interesting work. This time by the artist Roberto Diago:


(C) Stefan Sandner, 'Untitled' courtesy of


A work by Austrian Artist Stefan Sandner in the booth of Andreas Grimm Gallery (Munich and New York) also caught my eye – the enlarged trials of signing a print also could be called 'Warhol beyond'.


(c) Daniel Sinsel, Untitled, 2008, oil on linen,19.5 x 21.5 cm courtesy The Breeder Gallery


In general there was a lot of representational painting. Like the untitled work of Daniel Sinsel of 2008 at the both of the Greek Breeder Gallery.



Or the large canvas ‘Happy Together et Mourir Ensemble’ by Benjamin Moracex. This ironic painting was shown in the booth of the Belgian Deweer Gallery.


(c) Benjamin Moravec, Happy Together et Mourir Ensemble, 2008, 240x400 cm courtesy Deweer Gallery


Having changed my shoes after the art fair to more comfortable ones I would say: Art Brusseles is ok. – but it is not comparable to the Art Basel league.


by Rudy Kaschnitz



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Benoit, 13-05-09 19:21
The painting by Benjamin Moravec is really brilliant!!
Jim, 14-05-09 09:45
Yes, the Moravec painting is very funny - but I also like the George Condo above. He looks so simple, but isn't!
rodolphe, 29-06-09 10:16
what is interesting in art brussels is that you don't have the same usual supects but a wide rnge of top european galleries: continua, krinzinger, lee, rech, hufkens,nelson-freeman.......... and some very good young ones: gold, platteau,dependance,office baroque.
Jolyn, 06-08-11 09:21
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