Art writer from Japan bites Europe 3 – Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium
Report and photos / Chisai Fujita (藤田千彩, Art journalist / writer)
From Barcelona to Brussels, it´s about two hours by plane. I went to the capital city, Brussels and the Belgium´s second largest city, Antwerp. It takes about 40 minutes between Brussels and Antwerp by train.
Belgium History and Geography
Belgium has a long relationship with Netherlands, Germany and France because of its geographically location. In Brussels, people speak Dutch and French. Belgium is a small country, which is 1/12 of the size of Japan and the population of 11 million people. However, industry is thriving because they are more active rather than other European countries.
Art Scene: Brussels
WIELS (http://www.wiels.org), CENTRALE for contemporary art, ARGOS (http://www.argosarts.org/?lang=en), there are many contemporary museums in Brussels. Not only collectors, people love art and buy artworks. People say that recently, many artists and curators move to Brussels from Berlin.
Since 2010, contemporary galleries are increasing in the city. Such as Rivoli building in Ixelles area or around rue de la Régence, there are many buildings and areas where galleries open.
The lively art scenes made me think, “I would like to work in Brussels”.
In Brussels, many art fairs are held. This time I went to "Affordable Art Fair (http://affordableartfair.com/brussels)", where there were many visitors.
A Japanese artist Takahide Komatsu（小松孝英) said, "My artworks will be sold”. Unlike Japan, Brussels has less entertainment and information. So, people come to the art fair even during the week."
Art Scene: Antwerp
Antwerp also has the contemporary museum, which name is M HKA, (Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, http://www.muhka.be/en). It opened in 1993, the architecture was a warehouse and a silo for grain before and they reused the building. There are exhibitions, artist talks, screenings and Yoga class in the exhibition space!
In both Brussels and Antwerp, there are art maps covering museum and galleries schedules. These art maps are free and you can get the information. I would recommend that you wandered around the town with it.
THE WALK（http://thewalk.be/), NECA (http://www.neca.be/neca/index.html), Antwerp Art (http://www.antwerpart.be/）
From Journalist Chisai’s eye
In my private life, I lost my partner in accident last spring. He is an artist, Osamu Kokufu (國府理, http://www.kokufumobil.com). 3 years ago, he stayed in Antwerp as an artist-in-residence. He was at the Axel Vervoordt Gallery and I could visit there this time. When I visited M HKA, PANAMARENKO´s exhibition was on whom Kokufu respected. While I was listening to the bell ringing in the city, I was remembering him saying, "Antwerp is a city where the time has stopped. I want to go there again." Of course we can just see the artworks but the relationship between him and I were different, it was a deep relationship. The artist Kokufu, he taught me the direction for art. "Time stops in Antwerp and I want to go again", he said to me. Listening to the church bell ringing in Antwerp, I remembered him.
Subscribe for Newsletter? : HERE
More about art review by Chisai Fujita