The Brussels Times selects some of the best exhibitions currently on show in museums and galleries.
LE PETIT PRINCE
The Le Petit Prince novella by French aristocrat, writer and military aviator Antoine de Saint Exupéry is one of the best-selling and most translated books ever published, and has been adapted to numerous art forms and media, including radio plays, films, television shows, live stages, ballets, and opera. But in this exhibition, titled “Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: The Little Prince among Men,” the focus is on the parallels between its author and the book’s titular character, both of whom grappled with questions surrounding humanism, ecology, and loneliness. Narrated by the author’s mother, the exhibition winds at times through dark and dreamlike spaces reminiscent of the book’s ethereal strangeness that so captivates the children who read it. It ends with an interactive workshop in which participants can leave messages for those who come after them.
Until June 30, 2022
Open daily, 10am to 6pm
Place de Belgique, 1020 Brussels
€17 admission; group rates available
Using a variety of techniques from drawing to sculpture, contemporary Flemish artist Rinus Van de Velde creates a mirror universe in which elements of reality and fiction merge into a unique narrative. The self-proclaimed armchair traveller’s Brussels exhibition, titled Inner Travels, aims to tell semi-heroic stories of quests and adventures drawn from his imaginary excursions and fictional encounters with great figures in art history. Using a circular narrative between departures and returns home, the train acts as a metaphor for travel throughout the exhibit, in which Van de Velde presents his new film and a selection of his most recent works. The visual exploration of part of Van de Velde's singular universe invites visitors to share the artist's inner journeys, as his imaginary world is constantly being constructed and expanded.
Palais des Beaux-Arts
Until May 15, 2022
Open daily, 10am to 6pm
Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Brussels
The unexpected encounters between design and art underline the diversity and uniqueness of two different collections, one from The Design Museum Brussels and the other from Musée d'Ixelles, in this collaborative joint exhibition. Titled Crush, the selection of paintings, sculptures, photographs and other drawings centre around a material often vilified in conversations about sustainability: plastic. But from an inflatable beach cocoon by Belgian designer Pascale De Backer to a ballpoint sketch of a drink bottle from radical painter Walter Swennen, the works pursue the same goal as the arts in general: “redefining the value and meaning of our everyday lives.”
Design Museum Brussels
Until March 6, 2022
Open daily, 11am to 7pm
Trade Mart, Place de Belgique, 1020 Brussels
€10 admission; €8 seniors and students
The work of Lebanese painter, sculptor and fashion designer Huguette Caland is considered a keystone of Levantine modernism, with erotic abstract paintings and body landscapes that evoke themes of mutability, sensuality, and the basic human desire for intimate connection. The Tête-à-Tête exhibition offers a survey of Caland’s unconventional and exuberant perspective on life through over 100 works of art that celebrate how she challenged traditional representations of sexuality, the body, and desire, transgressing inhibitions and conventions. “In Caland's paintings, the body extends outward, spilling straight into the viewer's space,” writes Lebanese author Mirene Arsanios.
Until June 12, 2022
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 6pm
Avenue Van Volxem 354, 1190 Brussels
€10 admission; various discounts available
Using archives, drawings, photographs and testimonies, an exhibition featuring the works of American artist Sol LeWitt gives visitors a glimpse into the Jewish immigrant’s genesis while exploring the close relationships the artist developed with Belgian collectors, gallery owners and artists based in Belgium. LeWitt is considered a pioneer of conceptual and minimalist art and is best known for the wall drawings – which he prefers to call “structures” – featured in the museum’s exhibition. The prolific two and three-dimensional works range in size from books and gallery-sized installations to monumental outdoor pieces, and often take the form of geometric shapes. Although he was not religious and lived a secular life, Sol LeWitt maintained a discreet but persistent connection to his Jewish background throughout his life, which is explored for the first time in this exhibition.
Jewish Museum of Belgium
Until May 1, 2022
Open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 5pm, weekends from 10am to 6pm
Rue des Minimes 21, 1000 Brussels
BEFORE TIME BEGAN
In a first-of-its-kind for the Brussels Art and History Museum, the exhibition “Before Time Began” explores the birth of contemporary art as seen through Australian Aboriginal works. With traditional bark paintings made with natural pigments, as well as more recent works including two short films featuring a group of artists collaborating on paintings, visitors discover ancient mythical stories of creation and explore the world of the Aboriginals. What they’ll find is a wonderful and fascinating universe, filled with secrets for the non-initiated. Heirs to the oldest continuous culture in the world, the First Peoples of Australia have passed on oral traditions that include the concept of “Dreamtime,” a time outside time, an everywhen, in which creation is at once past, present and future.
Art & History Museum
Until May 29, 2022
Open Tuesday to Friday from 9:30am to 5pm, weekends from 10am to 5pm
Cinquantenaire Park 10, 1000 Brussels
€16 admission; discounts available
PORTRAIT OF A LADY
Visitors to the “Portrait of a Lady” exhibition are invited to explore the various forms of representation of women in art throughout the ages, from prehistoric times to today. With a selection of both ancient and contemporary pieces, the exhibition seeks to establish a dialogue between different cultures and civilizations from the East and the West. Discover portraits of women both renowned and unknown, and gain insights into the journeys of exceptional women like Queen of Sheba and Dido, Queen of Carthage. From the personification of fertility to representations of courtisanes and empresses, the exhibition endeavours to shed light on the ways in which different cultures and peoples through the ages both depicted and defined what it meant to be “woman.”
Opens March 9, until August 20, 2022
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 6pm
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67, 1050 Brussels
€10 admission; various discounts available