Discover Benelux, Issue 37, January 2017

Page 58

Discover Benelux  |  Lifestyle  |  Belgian Events Calendar 2017

Photo: Emmanuel Crooÿ Samuel Vanhoegaerden Gallery, Untitled, 1973, Sam Francis, Acrylic on canvas 80 x 71cm.

The art of eclecticism TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

What started as a small art exhibition has grown into one of the world’s most renowned and prestigious art fairs. BRAFA (Brussels Art Fair) has been a haven for quality and authentic arts and antiques since 1956. As BRAFA celebrates its 62nd birthday, it remains a leading international art and antique fair, attracting 132 exhibitors from 16 countries, 58,000 visitors, and displaying between 10,000 - 15,000 objects. No fair can quite match BRAFA when it comes to eclecticism; the fair comprises 20 specialties, including classical archaeology, tribal art, pre-Colombian art, Asian art, jewellery, furniture, and art objects dating from the Middle Ages to today, old and modern paintings, contemporary art and design, sculpture, drawings, engravings, ceramics, photography, and much more. Although BRAFA covers a space of 15,400 square metres, the fair has not lost its compact and intimate atmosphere over 58  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

the decades, with large exhibition spaces creating an open and accessible allure. “Unlike many other art fairs, where the floor is divided according to specialties, BRAFA stands out through displaying different specialties alongside others,” says managing director Beatrix Bourdon. “That way, someone looking for archaeology might also pass a space displaying rare books. This results in new interests, new insights, and perhaps a newly discovered love for a specific specialty.” For the first year since its founding, BRAFA will pay homage to one specific artist; the Argentinian Julio Le Parc. Born in 1928, Le Parc is a major influence in contemporary art and a pioneer of op art and kinetic art. A great deal of exhibitors remain loyal to the fair once having participated. “For 2017, we have 13 exhibitors that are first-timers, the rest have all exhibited before,” Bourdon asserts. Quality and authenticity are two of the key requirements

exhibitors must meet. The selection process is rigorous, and there are 100 experts from around the world who are involved to verify the authenticity, quality and condition of the different objects on display. From major art collectors, to first-time buyers, to curious art lovers: BRAFA is the art season’s absolute go-to fair. “People that visit BRAFA for the first time tell us later that they cannot believe they did not visit before – the fair is absolutely unmissable if you have a heart for art.”

Axel Vervoordt @ Brafa 2016. Photo: Jan Liégeois