INSIGHTS | Curators about the fair

As part of Art Brussels Insights, we spoke with two curators about how they look at the fair and Brussels.

Tessa Giblin, curator, Art Brussels

Interview with curator Tessa Giblin

What are you looking forward to seeing at Art Brussels?
I’m looking forward to being surprised, to be taken in new directions, to connect with existing friends and co-conspirators in art, but also to break free from the thoughts I’ve been having and welcome in new perspectives. I’m also keen to hear about Brexit from European perspectives, and to see whether this amputation we are suffering is making itself felt in contemporary art from Europe.

What do you like about Brussels as an art capital?
Living in the UK at the moment ‘Brussels’ basically stands for ‘the other side of the negotiation’, a Brexit negotiation that most of Scotland is devastated to see happening. So what I like about Brussels is that it’s part of Europe, as Scotland feels itself to be too, and I like how diverse and international the Galleries and Museums are here. Most of all, artists like to live here, which says it all.

Do you have any advice for young, aspiring art collectors?
Choose artworks that you love, and that you’ll love to tell stories about for many years to come. The most rewarding artworks for me are those that continue to befuddle me, tantalise me, to nag on my perception even when I feel I’m really sure about what it is. Choose artworks that you’ll be able to draw meaning from even when your own life and interests evolve and change: great works of art are never exhausted.

Interview with curator Yasmina Reggad

What are you looking forward to seeing at Art Brussels?
It is the first time I am attending Art Brussels. Although I was invited last year on a short curatorial trip to Antwerp by the Flanders Arts Institute, I am not very familiar with the Belgian art scene. I remember how a few years ago my friends in London working in galleries returned from this fair with so much enthusiasm. They spoke fondly of Art Brussels, and particularly of the unique laidback attitude and the curiosity of visitors, which they said turned the fair into a platform to start friendly long-term relationships instead of the usual time pressure the art market imposes on to galleries. So I am hoping to find a similar atmosphere and also to get to know more about the work of artists based in Belgium.

Yasmina Reggad, Art Brussels

What do you like about Brussels as an art capital?

Belgium, and particularly Brussels has been a longtime host to so many international artists and to the most experimental practitioners. I am really curious to witness their contribution or to see how it translates in the Belgium cultural fabric today. I am yet to visit Brussels with a dedicated art agenda in mind; I did very much enjoy the life style though! After many years of absence, during my short stay last year, I wanted to see the ‘new’ venues in town such as Fondation Thalie, Villa Empain/Boghossian Foundation and of course the controversial Kanal – Centre Pompidou. I am very much interested in live arts and contemporary dance, and Brussels is certainly one of the most dynamic European cities in this regard.

Do you have any advice for young, aspiring art collectors?
I would advise young collectors to look for experimental, grassroots organisations and particularly artist run spaces. Throughout my career, I very much relied on artists’ recommendations and friendship. I think that ‘growing up’ as a collector at the pace of artists’ careers might be very rewarding and can contribute to enriching one’s network. I can only encourage them to open up to new territories and particularly to collecting performance art and contribute to the current discussions around preserving and circulating immaterial art. Last year, a very successful first edition of the platform ‘A Performance Affair’ has proven that diverse economies of performance art do exist.

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