“Art Brussels is like the Belgians – not pretentious but friendly, you don't have the English billionaires like at Frieze London or the fashion and social stars like at FIAC in Paris,” says Brussels gallerist Rodolphe Janssen, who was presenting a Rediscovery by 79-year-old Belgian artist Léon Wuidar. “It's for collectors who want to put things on their wall and live with them,” he adds, alluding to how the bigger fairs are frequented by investment-oriented collectors.
Besides his multi-artist booth, Daniel Templon, from Paris and Brussels, drew the crowds with a presentation of intricate, large-scale paintings by Omar Ba. Templon organised to have some of Ba's paintings exhibited in the prestigious BOZAR museum, bringing the Senegalese artist double exposure.
Ever wondered what to do with your old CD racks? The French artist Théo Mercier has recycled them to create a series of sculptures, positioning the obsolescent racks on pillars. The result is a post-modern cityscape recalling New York's skyscrapers that was displayed at Bugada & Cargnel from Paris.
Running concurrently to Art Brussels was the satellite fair Independent Brussels, spread over six floors of a building in the city centre. Another spin-off event was the inauguration of an exhibition organised by the ADIAF, the association for the international diffusion of French art, at Hangar 18 on the eve of the Art Brussels preview. Titled 'A Look at the French Scene' and running until 8 July 2017, it spotlights the four artists short-listed for the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2016: winner Kader Attia along with runners-up Yto Barrada, Barthélémy Toguo and Ulla von Brandenburg. All these initiatives are helping to draw international collectors to the Belgian capital for Art Brussels week.