Artbrussels Art Fair 2008

Artbruseels is one of the most important art fairs in Europe. The fair takes place in the Brussels Expo complex at the Heysel in Brussels, in the shadow of the Atomium. The fair lasts for five days, up to and including the 21st of April. One hundred and eighty galleries from twenty-three countries are participating in the event. Works of more than two thousand artists will be presented: paintings, sculptures, accessories, drawings, installations, photos and videos. Artbrussels is expecting over thirty thousand visitors. Artbrussels is internationally renowned for its young image, but the selection process for participating galleries remains very strict. This year four hundred and thirty galleries from Belgium and abroad applied to take part in artbrussels, which is a good thirty percent increase with respect to 2007. The international selection committee was inundated with applications and could not accept even half of those received.

For many foreign stand holders, participating in artbrussels is a very attractive prospect because Belgium is well known for its large number of private collectors of modern and contemporary art. What’s more, Belgian collectors are not chauvinist; they are interested in pieces from all around the world. Belgian trade and industry are also of the same opinion, and support Belgium’s extremely lively art scene in various ways. In 2007 artbrussels had over thirty-one thousand visitors, which meant an increase of twenty percent compared with the 2006 edition. On average, each visitor spent six hours at the fair.

What makes artbrussels unique is that other than works by famous names, a lot of pieces by promising young artists from different countries are displayed. This formula is appreciated by museum directors, art critics and art collectors, but also by the average art lover, who can get an overview of the new trends in international art production at the fair. Among the famous Belgian artists whose work is represented at the fair are Hans Op de Beeck, Koen Van den Broek, Jan Vercruysse, Pol Bury, Wim Delvoye, Jan Fabre, Michel François, Panamarenko, Walter Swennen and Marthe Wéry. Artists from abroad include Louise Bourgeois, Wang Du, Damien Hirst, Julian Opie, Tony Oursler, Robin Rhode, Ed Ruscha, Sam Samore, Charles Sandson, Thomas Schütte, Cindy Sherman, Stephen Shore, Beat Streuli, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Su-Mei Tse, Monique Van Genderen, Franz West, Erwin Wurm, Gilberto Zorio and Nam June Paik.

Artbrussels is divided into three specific zones. The ‘Art Galleries’ zone consists entirely of established galleries (one hundred twenty-three galleries), the ‘Young Talent’ zone is aimed at young galleries (forty-three galleries), and the ‘First Call’ zone groups together the galleries taking part in the fair for the very first time (fourteen galleries). The fair also includes thirteen ‘Solo Shows’, where each artist has a space of twenty-five square meters at his or her disposal. The number of participating galleries and artists is consciously limited with a view to guaranteeing the quality of what is on offer and ensuring a coherent organization of the fair.