In Depth

Art Brussels: A place of discovery

In its 35th year, the contemporary art fair continues to provide a revealing insight into today's creative minds

Billed as a 'discovery' fair, Art Brussels places precedence on not only providing a platform for new and upcoming names, but also a space where visitors can re-examine overlooked works from more established figures, both living and deceased.

To underline this, the fair is split into distinct thematic sections. 'Discovery' focuses on younger and lesser-known artists; 'Prime' on those already established in the modern and contemporary field; 'Rediscovery' on art dating from 1917 to 1987 that is under-recognised or forgotten; and 'Solo', presentations dedicated the work of individual artists, of which this year there are 18 scattered among the halls.

For the flagship project this year – Mementos: Artists' Souvenirs, Artefacts, and other Curiosities – more than 50 participants have showcased personal objects from their private collections, accompanied by notes describing their emotional relationships with the items. Among the diverse display is a signed thank-you note from Hillary Clinton, given to Joseph Kosuth after he donated a work for an auction to fundraise for her first US senate campaign, and an elephant paw and postcard, representing Omar Ba's connection to Africa's colonial history.

Beyond the collection of international galleries exhibiting, there are a number of special presentations and talks exploring key themes in the contemporary art scene. Dirk Braeckman, who is showing a range of prints from his Sisyphus series, is giving a personal insight into creating a commissioned piece for the forthcoming 57th Venice Biennale, while topics covered elsewhere include the role of digital technology in art and the relationship between artists and collectors.

Art Brussels runs from 21-23 April at Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86c, 1000 Brussels; artbrussels.com

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