Fifty Years of Art Brussels: A First Look at the Fair

For its fifty-year anniversary, the iconic Belgian art fair presents a landmark edition of standout international galleries for 2018, while a special curated programme, Mystic Properties, poses a number of provocative questions.


It is fifty years since Art Brussels began, from 1968 to today, making it something of a celebratory edition this April. The fair will bring together 147 art galleries, twenty-two of which are presenting solo shows, in what has emerged as a tradition for the fair. Here there is the opportunity to reach deeper into the practice of these artists, going beyond the more usual blink-and-you-missed-it fair model to offer a richer overview of their work. The flagship curated programme this year is titled Mystic Properties, overseen by curator Elena Sorokina, which directly addresses some of the challenging questions around not only the contextual exhibiting of art but the buying and selling of it as a commodity, and as something to be possessed. It is an unusually candid approach, and sets Art Brussels apart with its openness to examining the fair model itself. Familiar Belgian faces will return to the fair this year, such as dépendance, Xavier Hufkens, Rodolphe Janssen, Almine Rech and Sorry We’re Closed, while a well-balanced roster of contemporary artists including Carsten Höller, Nicolas Party, Etel Adnan, Troika and Christopher Page will also be on display.