Art Brussels returns, with photography in focus

The fair, from April 25 to 28, has a particularly strong photography offering this year, plus a new Invited collection of galleries that challenge perceptions

Soulèvement IV by Noémie Goudal (2018)
Soulèvement IV by Noémie Goudal (2018) | Image: Courtesy Edel Assanti

With 148 galleries representing 32 countries and 800 artists, 90 per cent of whom are living, Art Brussels is one of the most established fairs in the world and one of the most contemporary – and the 37th edition (previews April 25; runs to April 28) is set to be particularly dynamic.

Pepe and Tony Series by Louis Stettner (1956, printed in the 1970s)
Pepe and Tony Series by Louis Stettner (1956, printed in the 1970s) | Image: Estate of Louis Stettner, courtesy Gallery Fifty One
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This year’s Prime selection hosts a raft of blue-chip galleries, including Blain/Southern, Almine Rech, Krinzinger and Galerie Lelong & Co, showcasing world-class talents; Discovery and Rediscovery highlight emerging and established artists; and a new Invited grouping, launching this year, focuses on nine galleries that are challenging the traditional perception of a gallery – “offering booth space for exhibitors who do not fit the typical gallery mould, in response to the ever-changing art market”, explains managing director Anne Vierstraete.

Closed Audition Boohoo Plus Verity Slinky Plunge Split Maxi Dress by Kayode Ojo (2018)
Closed Audition Boohoo Plus Verity Slinky Plunge Split Maxi Dress by Kayode Ojo (2018) | Image: Courtesy Martos Gallery
Cedric, New York City, by Robert Mapplethorpe (1977)
Cedric, New York City, by Robert Mapplethorpe (1977) | Image: Courtesy estate of Robert Mapplethorpe/SAGE Paris

Collectors can look forward to huge variety across the fair, she says, “from performances and video art to strong themes of geometric abstraction, textile pieces and photography”.

Tela Habitada by Helena Almeida (1976)
Tela Habitada by Helena Almeida (1976) | Image: Courtesy Galeria Filomena Soares
Untitled by Lara Gasparotto (2018)
Untitled by Lara Gasparotto (2018) | Image: Courtesy Stieglitz19

Indeed, it promises to be a particularly snap-happy affair this year, with a strong photography showcase – both in the form of standalone images and work incorporating photography. A particularly striking scene by Noémie Goudal is Soulèvement IV (2018), an inkjet print presented by London outfit Edel Assanti (booth price range £7,000 to £70,000), which appears as a block of mirrored shapes perched on an unending landscape of sea and sand. Elsewhere, Louis Stettner’s Pepe and Tony Series from 1956 (gelatine silver, printed in the 1970s) is a standout from Antwerp-based photography specialists Gallery Fifty One (booth range €2,000 to €500,000).

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New York’s Martos Gallery (booth range €50,000 to €100,000) is showing Kayode Ojo’s splendidly named Closed Audition: Boohoo Plus Verity Slinky Plunge Split Maxi Dress (2018). The very striking image shows a half-naked woman whose face is obscured by her hair. The colours of her skin, hair and dress are mirrored in the works of art behind her, implying that she too is an artwork.

SAGE Paris presents Robert Mapplethorpe’s Cedric, New York City, dating from 1977 (price on request) – a stark and striking gelatine silver print featuring shoulders and a shaven head. Helena Almeida’s Tela Habitada, from 1976, a series of nine black-and-white photographs featuring the artist stepping from behind a canvas, comes courtesy of Lisbon’s Galeria Filomena Soares (booth range €9,000 to €200,000). And finally, one of the multimedia works incorporating photography that is well worth a look is Lara Gasparotto’s Untitled (2018) – a drawing on photography of a group of young sleepers from Antwerp-based Stieglitz19 (booth range €1,500 to €4,000).

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