On 4 February in Brussels, ENCATC partnered once again with the BRAFA Art Fair to welcome 57 of its Cultural Happy Hour guests! The event began with a welcome and introduction of the 2019 Cultural Happy Hour calendar by Giannalia Cogliandro Beyens, ENCATC’s Secretary General. Next, Beatrix Bourdon, BRAFA Managing Director presented the art fair and its highlights for the 2019 edition which hosted 133 galleries and art dealers from 16 countries. BRAFA has a rich offer with a panoply of art collections which cover 20 specialities, including classical archaeology, tribal art, pre-Colombian art, Asian art, jewellery, silverware, coins, furniture and art objects dating from the Middle Ages to today, old and modern paintings, contemporary art and design, sculpture, ceramics, contemporary glass and porcelain, carpets and textiles, drawings, original cartoons, engravings, rare books, photography, and more!
This year’s guests of honour were internationally renowned duo Gilbert & George. Having started out as performance artists, they became famous for their large-scale photo pieces. These are often in very bright colours with superimposed black gridlines evoking the windows of yesteryear. The images are contemporary and immediately recognisable, with most placing portraits of both artists in the picture. Although their art draws inspiration from (their) daily life, the vision they offer is in turns metaphysical, mystical, or polemical, but always with a touch of humour and conveying a message.
After a convivial networking moment, guests were treated to guided visits that included artworks such as Frida Kahlo's “Life and Pain in Plaster Corset with a Hammer and Sickle”. This piece tells a fascinating, multi-faceted story, one of a painful life lived undefeated, a life lost, and a chapter of history. Painted by the Mexican artist, it is a three-dimensional piece that alludes to the broken state of her body, while offering social commentary on events, both historical and personal.
Guests were also treated to seeing the large work by Belgian artist Paul Delvaux (1897-1994), “Le Balcon” of 1948. The painting is fresh to the market, having been in an Asian collection since the 1980s.