Brussels has increasingly become one of the most enthusiastic hubs for contemporary art, something its growing Gallery Weekend, from September 5 to 8, proves. Alongside solo presentations at the city’s impressive list of spaces from artists including Paul Thek, Marguerite Humeau and Radcliffe Bailey, there is a show of Brussels-based creators curated by Tenzing Barshee, while the well-established Galerie Rodolphe Janssen is presenting its third solo exhibition with LA-based British artist Walead Beshty.
Beshty is fresh from a major museum show at Geneva’s MAMCO, which is travelling to Switzerland’s Kunst Museum Winterthur in January. This follows celebrated exhibitions at Britain’s Tate Modern, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC and Chicago’s MCA. Beshty’s work is also on display during Brussels Gallery Weekend in a group show in the city at the artist-run space Société, set in a former power station. The showcase, entitled Encountered Error, explores ideas around failure and accident in the creation of art and design.
Beshty made his name with abstract photograms (which sell at auction today for around £17,000), using folds and creases to manipulate the photochemistry. This interest in chance and accident expanded into his sculptural work – notably glass pieces that he would send through FedEx, intending them to be cracked and damaged in transit. These became iconic statements on globalisation, transport and vulnerability, displayed still packed and bruised. He has increasingly worked with copper – a material ripe with references to capitalism, value and manufacture – and some of these pieces will be on show in Brussels, including a homage to Donald Judd. What makes his work so engaging is how it perfectly balances intelligence, aesthetics, politics and art history.