Transport + Poetry = Transpoesie

The Transpoesy poetry festival, organised for the fourth consecutive year by EUNIC Brussels (the European Network of National Institutes for Culture), officially kicked off on September 26. It echoed the European Day of Languages that was traditionally celebrated on that date.

This year, no fewer than 30 countries have joined forces together to offer the population of Brussels a series of 30 poems in their original language (28 languages in total), with translations in French, English and Dutch. From September 23 to October 24, all the poems will be available downtown, and above all within the public transportation network (metro, tramways, buses). Hence the name “Transpoesie”, which is a cumulation of “transport” and “poetry”.

In addition to these “public transportation poems”, poetic meetings are foreseen on 9 October at Balassi Institute and on 23 October at Passa Porta. The latter is the actual closing event of Transpoesie and will focus on graphic poetry and slam, with a performance of the Spanish word artist Irene La Sen. You can also check out all poems at the Anspach Galleries.


The original concept Poems on the Underground was coined in London in 1986 from American writer Judith Chernaik. With this project she wanted to bring poems to a wider audience.

You can check out all useful information on the website of Transpoesie.


The Graves Are Nice This Time Of Year

As you all know probably – unless you’ve been living on another planet lately – the year 2014 is the centenary of the First World War. As our country was the heart of the battles, memorial ceremonies are held everywhere in Belgium. The Board of the Flemish Community Commission also pays a great deal of attention to the Great War by organizing lots of activities, such as a grand photo exposition.

Photographer Jimmy Kets was assigned to make a series of pictures that demonstrate how the Great War still lives on today by means of endless memories and numerous memorial services. To do so, he toured through the country, depicting places, people, surroundings, activities and ceremonies that are related to the war. The result is a magnificent photo book containing 75 surprising pictures, which is for sale at the expo.


Ten pictures that are specifically related to Brussels are exclusively exhibited in the House of the Council of the Flemish Community Commission. You can visit the expo from 25 September up to 24 December in the Lombardstraat 67, Brussels. Opening hours are from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 5pm. There’s free entry for everybody. During these 3 months, Kets’ other photos are exposed in the Lokettenzaal of the Flemish Parliament (Ijzerkruisstraat 99, Brussels).


Jimmy Kets started his career as press photographer for newspaper De Morgen, which he later traded for De Standaard. At the same time he’s also working on his own oeuvre. In 2009 his first photo book was published: Brightside. After that more books and expos were to follow. With the centenary of the Great War this year, Kets takes a new road with his photography. The designer that was involved in the photo book was a Brit who moved to the West of Flanders a few years ago. He wanted to get to know his new surroundings and so he went to the tourist information of the nearest city. Outside the weather was lovely, and the lady at the counter recommended him to visit one of the numerous graveyards, because – so she said – “the graves are nice this time of year”. This anecdote led to the perfect title for Kets’ series of pictures.


You can find more information here.

Brussels Museum Nocturnes

This year again, the museums of Brussels open their doors during the Nocturnes. Until 18 December, 6 to 8 museums welcome you every Thursday evening. The Nocturnes are the ideal opportunity to (re)discover the cultural riches of Brussels in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere. All of this is offered for a very democratic price (free/€1/€3).

During the Nocturnes, you can enjoy exceptional guided tours, drawing activities and animations of various kinds in the permanent collections and temporary exhibitions of more than 60 museums. The Nocturnes are there to please all: they’re an enjoyable activity for the entire family or a pleasant outing with friends or colleagues. Tomorrow evening, September 25th, you can visit the Cauchie House, la Maison Autrique, the Modern Architecture Archives and Museum, the Museum of Fantastic Art and the Toy Museum.

The Cauchie House, the private house of Paul Cauchie, was built in 1905 and can be considered as one of the most beautiful works of Art Nouveau in Brussels. The basement, cellar and artist workshop have been redesigned into a vast gallery to exhibit Paul and Lina Cauchie’s paintings. La Maison Autrique is without doubt the most moving of Horta’s houses. The artist’s earliest works designed in the Art Nouveau style can be found in this beautiful house…

la maison autrique

In the Modern Architecture Archives and Museum, you can visit the expo “14-18 / And after”. You can discover the unpublished drawings that Henri Derée created in the prisoner camps in Germany between 1914 and 1918, and the works of artist Jean-Marie de Busscher. The Museum of Fantastic Art is no doubt Brussels’ strangest museum, where you can meet the Elephant Man, the Spider Woman and the Cyclops Mummy, to name just a few. Discover the new Fantastic Art Center too, where you can find various animations. Last bur certainly not least, you can also check out the Toy Museum, a large town house full of toys. Release your inner child and head off in discovery of each and every item!

So now you know what to do tomorrow evening, and every Thursday evening until 18 December… Have fun exploring!

Bejing Silvermine in Brussels

In Galerie Paris Bejing in Saint-Gilles nearby Brussels, you can go see the expo Beijing Silvermine . This is a unique photographic portrait of the Chinese capital and the life of its inhabitants in the decades following the Cultural Revolution.

Since 2009 Beijing-based collector Thomas Sauvin has amassed, edited and archived more than half a million photographic negatives destined for destruction in a recycling plant on the edge of the city. It was here that Sauvin encountered a man by the name of Xiao Ma who stockpiles negatives, x-rays, compact discs and other detritus to melt down and filter for their silver nitrate content intended to be sold to laboratories. Recognising a rare chance to rescue abandoned memories, Sauvin struck up a deal to buy these photographic negatives by the kilo. This ‘silvermine’ of anonymous subjects and vernacular photography styles covers a period of roughly 20 years – from 1985, when affordable consumer film first came into widespread use in China, to 2005 when digital photography encouraged the mass disposal and willful neglect of film.

Bejing Silvermine

In his phenomenal accumulation of photographs Thomas Sauvin allows us to witness the intimate and public lives of ordinary Chinese people during a period of immense social change. These material images reveal the mundane and extraordinary moments in everyday life that have been rescued from oblivion. More than just a glimpse into the lives of people that might otherwise have been invisible participants in an impersonal collective history, the subject of Beijing Silvermine is as much the wondrous, imperfect and perishable qualities of film photography itself – its delayed surprises between the split-second of exposure and the alchemical magic of development.


Bejing Silvermine at Galerie Paris-Bejing presents until 1 November a selection of photographs from this extraordinary archive curated by Thomas Sauvin that explore universal themes of love, leisure, birth, youth, happiness and the subtle changes – both in domestic settings and in the wider public realm – that the economic opening to the West brought into ordinary Chinese people’s lives.

Galerie Paris-Beijing, Hôtel Winssinger, Rue de l’Hôtel des Monnaies 66, 1060 Brussels. Check out the website as well!

Young Belgian Art Prize 2015

In 2015 a new edition of the Young Belgian Art Prize will take place in the Centre for Fine Arts of Brussels. The contest is open to artists from all artistic disciplines who are under 35 years old on the 1st of January 2015, and who have Belgian nationality or have been living in Belgium for at least one year. On the basis of a presentation file, a jury of experts from the Belgian art world will make a preselection amongst the application files. The selected files will then be submitted to an international jury of directors and curators of European art institutions. The nominated artists (max. 9) will be invited to exhibit their work at the Centre for Fine Arts from June to September 2015. During the opening, the jury will award 4 candidates. More info about the contest is to be found on the website.

It all began with La Jeune Peinture Belge, an association that gathered together a group of painters and sculptors from 1945 to 1948. Among the members were names like Gaston Bertrand, Anne Bonnet, Jan Cox, Marc Mendelson, Rik Slabbinck, and Louis Van Lint. James Ensor was the association’s honorary president. The group’s driving force was Robert L. Delevoy, a critic and art historian, director of the Galerie Apollo, and future director of the Ecole Supérieure d’Architecture et des Arts Visuels (La Cambre). The president of La Jeune Peinture Belge was René Lust, a lawyer and a dynamic entrepreneur. His ambition was to manage a group of young Belgian painters and to organise a series of exhibitions abroad for them – which he succeeded in doing: Jeune Peinture Belge gave exhibitions in Paris, The Hague, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Zurich, Bordeaux, Brussels and Oxford.

la jeune peinture belge

When René Lust died on 5th June 1948, the association Jeune Peinture Belge slowed down but the desire to promote young art survived. In 1950 a group of collectors, critics and art lovers founded La Jeune Peinture Belge – Fondation R. Lust, an association in memory of René Lust. They decided to award an annual prize to a young artist under the age of 40. The association awarded the first Prix de la Jeune Peinture for the amount of 25,000 Belgian Francs in 1950. From then on, a tradition was born. In 1996 His Royal Majesty King Albert II extended his patronage to the association. Over the years the statutes and regulations of the contest have been modified several times. Some of the most important changes you can find here.

Are you a young artist? Then don’t hesitate and apply before October 15th… This might be your road to success!

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