Some of the best exhibitions currently on show in museums and galleries in Brussels

Some of the best exhibitions currently on show in museums and galleries in Brussels


As winter arrives once more following the European energy crisis, the archive-oriented CIVA presents POWER, a look at geopolitics and infrastructure, linking energy-power to political power, ‘from oil and gas pipelines to domestic radiators’.

The exhibition includes a wide selection of artists including Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri, whose film Crude Eye seduces the audience with the futuristic beauty of an oil refinery, reconciling her childhood experience of growing up near an oil refinery to the toxic destruction it represents.

Monira Al Qadiri, Crude Eye, 2022

‘Today, architects, landscape designers, artists, and urban practitioners perpetuate the regime of carbon modernity. Yet they are also in a unique position to shift discourse and practice toward large-scale energetic transformation.’ To this end, the project also includes POWER Talks, a public programme of lectures, screenings, and discussions.


13 October 2023 – 25 February 2024

Tuesday-Sunday 10h30-18h

Rue de l’Ermitage 55, 1050 Ixelles

Josef Hoffmann – Falling for Beauty

The Art and History Museum will present Josef Hoffmann – Falling for Beauty, a retrospective exhibition of the work of the Austrian-Moravian designer and architect. His best known work, the famously private Stoclet House, remains a site of Brussels intrigue.

Just before the opening of this exhibition, the Stoclet family began legal proceedings against the region for a video reconstruction of the palace’s interior featured in the show (the video was based on public archives and the palace itself is UNESCO-listed.) Ans Persoons (Vooruit, Secretary of the State in charge of heritage) has, in riposte, asked the Brussels government to forcibly open the Stoclet House to the public.

Josef Hoffmann, Pendant, 1907. Silver and semi-precious stones. Manufactured by the Wiener Werkstätte. © MAK/Katrin Wisskirchen.

This exhibition aims to offer a broader perspective of his artistic production beyond the palace, including furniture, objects, designs, textiles, and documents. As the exhibition is a central event of this year’s celebration of Art Nouveau in Brussels, it is the opportunity to indulge in the fin-de-siècle idealism of an artist who ‘understood beauty as an absolute requirement for individual and social transformation.’

Art and History Museum

6 October 2023 – 14 April 2024

Tuesday-Sunday and public holidays 10h-17h

Parc du Cinquantenaire 10, 1000 Brussels

Loïc Raguénès

The next show by C L E A R I N G will be dedicated to the late Loïc Raguénès (1968-2022), honouring his work at their spaces in New York and in Brussels. He often represented the same subjects: ocean waves, tulips, and planets, working through them with a judicious use of colour and clever titles.

His wave paintings, for example, evoke both the sentimentality of the ocean as well as the objectivity of the waveform: ‘the unpredictable sea that we wistfully mistake for calm when it is really very, very unrelenting.’ Expect poetic painting and references to art history, especially post-impressionism, in this overview of his practice across several decades.


9 November 2023 – early 2024

Tuesday-Saturday 10h-18h

Avenue Van Volxem 311, 1190 Forest

Mario Garcia Torres

At Jan Mot, new two-dimensional works by Mario Garcia Torres offer clues outlining the story of a studio accident. Using printer toner, the artist leaves fingerprints and handprints upon blank canvases – a sort of signature or trace of a movement – playfully transforming what appears to be a mishap into an intentional action. Drawing from the legacies of conceptual art, Garcia Torres reveals our relationship with finished works, failure, and imperfection.

Jan Mot

9 November 2023 – 23 December 2023

Wednesday-Friday 14h-18h30, Saturday 12h-18h

Petit Sablon 10, 1000 Brussels

A Thousand Pictures of Nothing

Emmanuel Van der Auwera, White Cloud, 2023. Installation view: A Thousand Pictures of Nothing, Harlan Levey Projects, 2023.

On the other side of the canal, digital art presides. In the solo show A Thousand Pictures of Nothing, artist Emmanuel Van der Auwera explores the mythology and unfulfilled promises of mass media technologies, featuring deconstructed LED screens, overexposed newspaper printing plates, and plenty of AI-generated imagery.

In the ‘speculative documentary’ White Cloud, the artist uses AI to imagine the hidden labour behind his digital tools, featuring uncanny valley images of Chinese miners smudging and glitching their way between rare earths and surveillance cameras. If traditional filmmakers transformed the dark rooms of cinema into positive images, Van der Auwera’s artistic trademark is to invert, subvert, and negate the blinding light of the screen.

Harlan Levey Projects

6 September 2023 – 16 December 2023

Wednesday-Saturday 12h-18h and by appointment

Rue Isidoor Teirlinck 65, 1080 Molenbeek-Saint-Jean


Natasha Tontey, Wa'anak Witu Watu / Beranak Dalam Batu (video still), 2021.

With the KANAL-Centre Pompidou currently under construction, the temporary K1 venue will feature Connecting, an exhibition curated by Bas Hendrikx and Barbara Cueto on the ‘transformative quality of technology in shaping our emotional worlds’.

If the Parisian Centre Pompidou is known best for its celebration and reinterment of modernist masterworks within a contemporary context – last year’s phenomenal New Objectivity exhibition placed special emphasis on women and LGBTQ+ artists under nascent Nazism, for example – Connecting gives us an early glimpse of KANAL’s own vision as a Brussels cultural hub. The K1 venue thus surprises us with its techno-shamanism: immersive environments where ‘the digital world keeps building where the physical world ends’.

The London- and Berlin-based artist collective Keiken was commissioned to create Morphogenic Angels, taking the viewer on a video-game-as-art journey as the player’s digital avatar breaks down, or as the narrator puts it: ‘not a single self; we treat ourselves as though we are a material or solid thing; we’ve coded it make us think that we are a living being that exists in the present moment with memories. We’re really a daisy-chain of immaterial spirits […]’

The curators of Connecting compare our relationship to technology to animistic belief systems where rivers, mountains, and stones are revered. A beautiful metaphor, but perhaps worrying: what exactly are astrology apps and virtual universes connecting us to? Or is the internet doing to our brains what the psychedelic movement did in the 1960s? At the Woodstock of the 21st century, is everyone on their phones?

Indonesia-based artist Natasha Tontey offers us an alternative view of the world, drawing from the myth and cosmology of the Minahasan people. Her video Wa'anak Witu Watu / Beranak Dalam Batu explores the belief that the first person to exist was a woman who gave birth through a stone, blurring the distinctions between life and non-life. In a similar spirit, the artist blends both real ritual footage with cartoonish 3D renderings of ritual, to troubling (and interesting) effect.

This video exhibition makes sense given KANAL’s under-construction phase and emerging identity as a Brussels institution; it is worth noting that the collaboration between the two institutions only consists in having access to the Centre Pompidou’s impressive collection and expertise in the conception and production of select exhibitions. This autumn, the Centre Pompidou in Paris will reveal France’s top art prize – the Prix Marcel Duchamp – but the Bruxellois will have to wait until fall 2025 for KANAL-Centre Pompidou’s official opening.

K1 (KANAL-Centre Pompidou)

6 October 2023 – 3 December 2023

Thursday 11h-21h and Friday-Sunday 11h-19h

Avenue du Port 1, 1000 Brussels

Art Antwerp

Art Antwerp, a contemporary art fair organised by Art Brussels, will return this year at Antwerp Expo. The project was launched during the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2021 but last year welcomed nearly 12,000 visitors, establishing itself as a noteworthy event in the Belgian contemporary art calendar. A mix of 72 Antwerp-based, Belgian, and international galleries were invited by the hosting committee consisting of Myriam Attali (Galerie Lelong & Co.), Jason Poirier dit Caulier (PLUS-ONE Gallery), Will Lunn (Copperfield) and Alexia van Eyll (Nino Mier Gallery).

Antwerp Expo

Opening day 14 December 2023, 11h-21h (120€)

Public days 15 December 2023 – 17 December 2023, 11h-19h (15€)

​Jan van Rijswijcklaan 191, 2020 Antwerp

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