The fair's aim to have more gravitas was reflected in its 'Discovery' and 'Rediscovery' presentations. In a dedicated section, 30 galleries showcased upcoming artists, while nine galleries dotted around the fair included works by older artists in whom an interest has been reignited.

“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.

Benoit Maire Installation view Courtesy of the artist and Meessen De Clercq, Brussels
French artist Benoit Maire, represented by Meessen De Clercq from Brussels, won the Solo prize for his multi-media installation bringing together contrasting ideas about artificiality and nature, history and war, politics and ecology. The gallery was also showing Maarten Vanden's 'Malachite Mobiles', 2015. From an iPhone to an old Nokia, the mobile phones have been sculpted in malachite, the precious mineral known for its dark green colour. The series was made in the Democratic Republic of Congo in collaboration with local artisans.

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.

Maarten Vanden Eynde Malachite Mobiles, 2015 Malachite 21 x 21 x 28 cm (showcase) Courtesy of the artist and Meessen De Clercq, Brussels
Galleri Brandstrup from Oslo had a solo booth with enigmatic sculptures and paintings by Syrian-born, New York-based artist Diana Al-Hadid. Her sculptural, figurative work is suggestive of broken fragments and classical beauty that has been chipped away, allowing you to peer into the crevices. In the pictorial panels, images dissolve through the delicate dripping of colour, reminiscent of ruins.

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.

Théo Mercier Installation view at Bugada & Cargnel, Paris Photo: Renato Ghiazza Courtesy Bugada & Cargnel
Pascal Haudressy Monolithe 2 and Monolithe 5, 2016 Oil painting and video projection, numeric loop 200 x 200 cm each Unique Courtesy Irène Laub,
An entrancing discovery at Irène Laub Gallery from Brussels was Pascal Haudressy's paintings of empty rooms, appearing as abstractions of white and pale grey space, that have a line of smoke projected onto them, curling over the walls. The French artist first filmed the rooms and the lines of smoke caused by a lit fire, then realised the paintings in the same dimensions as the recording on film.

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.

Omar Ba Sommet France-Afrique1-Emigration, 2017 Oil, pencil, acrylic, gouache on cardboard 210 x 75.5 cm Photo: B.Huet-Tutti Courtesy Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris and Brussels
Diana Al-Hadid Synonym, 2017 Polymer modified gypsum, fibreglass, stainless steel and pigment 188.6 x 152.4 x 152.4 cm Courtesy Galleri Brandstrup, Oslo
Didier Faustino The Show Must Go Home, 2013 Courtesy the artist and Michel Rein, Paris/Brussels
Laure Provost Installation view at Nathalie Obadia, Paris-Brussels