Brussels Gallery Weekend: Artwork Selections
Advisory Perspective

Brussels Gallery Weekend:
Artwork Selections

By Rory Mitchell | Brussels, 6 September 2021

In anticipation of Brussels Gallery Weekend, running from 9 to 12 September 2021, Ocula Advisory have selected their favourite works from participating galleries' programmes.

Among these, excitement is building for Adrian Geller's exhibition at Super Dakota, where human interactions and social constructs have been transferred to poetic paintings of animals and individuals in remote, faraway lands. Further highlights include legendary figures such as Lynda Benglis at Xavier Hufkens and Ross Bleckner at Maruani Mercier, as well as Thomas Lerooy's surrealistic, hyperreal paintings at rodolphe janssen.

A red, yellow, blue and white abstract tapestry work, showcasing geometric forms in bold shades of colour.

Yves Zurstrassen, 18.05.25 - ON A CLEAR DAY (2021). Tapestry. 200 x 200 cm. Courtesy Baronian Xippas, Brussels.

Yves Zurstrassen at Baronian Xippas

For Belgian-born and based artist Yves Zurstrassen, this latest exhibition of works at Baronian Xippas entitled 4 COLORS will be his first presentation in his native country since 2019.

Limited to working with blue, yellow, red, and black, Zurstrassen interrogates and manipulates colour through continuous layering to achieve abstract blends and blocks of strong colour on his hand-woven surfaces.

Yves Zurstrassen's tapestries will be showing across both of Baronian Xippas's Brussels gallery spaces on 33 rue de la Concorde and 2 rue Isidore Verheyden respectively.

A bouquet of flowers is painted against a brown background and smudged, so that the entire image appears blurred.

Ross Bleckner, To Speak to You (2021). Signed and dated on the reverse, oil on linen. 182.9 x 182.9 cm. Courtesy Maruani Mercier. Photo: Ross Bleckner Studio.

Ross Bleckner at Maruani Mercier

Traversing the realms of loss and memory, Bleckner's sixth show at Maruani Mercier presents a series of blurred oil on canvas flower paintings—a continuation of his quest into human fragility through his distinct semi-abstract style.

Having been the subject of major U.S. exhibitions, notably a mid-career retrospective at the Guggenheim in 1995, his work today is housed in major public collections globally, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York and Madrid's Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, among others.

A young boy is painted with an arm that transforms into a large crab claw at his elbow, covering his face. The boy peaks through the claw towards the viewer with one eye.

Thomas Lerooy, Oh crab (2021). Oil on canvas. 70 x 60 cm (unframed). Courtesy the artist and rodolphe janssen, Brussels. Photo: Hugard & Vanoverschelde.

Thomas Lerooy at rodolphe janssen

Until recently, Brussels-based Thomas Lerooy was known for his enigmatic sculptures and drawing practice.

Recent developments saw him put paint to canvas, culminating in a brilliantly diverse and somewhat surreal group of works showing with rodolphe janssen.

Size, perspective, and subject matter seem to run away with themselves in these paintings, and the hybrid boy-crab of this curious work titled Oh Crab (2021) leaves the viewer caught between its arresting features.

A young man with brown hair slicked back is dressed in a pink and white striped shirt, raising his arm above his head. His hand dangles to the right of his face and it appears as though leaves are sprouting from his armpit through the shirt, in place of hair.

Adrian Geller, Shoot (2021). Oil on canvas. 39 x 45 cm. Courtesy the artist and Super Dakota.

Adrian Geller at Super Dakota

A fourth year student at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, Basel-born Adrian Geller presents his debut exhibition, Idle hands are the devil's workshop at Super Dakota.

Born in 1997, the young Swiss artist shifts between oil paint, watercolour, and mixed media, depicting a hyperbolic universe of suited men and wild landscapes to illustrate the complex relationship between the male psyche and the modern world.

Applying thick brushstrokes and the abstract tendencies of the Post-Impressionists, Geller's primitive yet masterful style makes for a brilliant presentation at Brussels Gallery Weekend.

White paper hugs a chicken wire sculpture that dangles from the wall. The white paper forms a membrane, and the sculpture as a whole resembles a mollusc or sea creature.

Lynda Benglis, Silver Stud (2015–2016). Handmade paper over chicken wire, acrylic, acrylic medium, sparkles. 139.7 x 35.6 x 43.2 cm. Courtesy the artist and Xavier Hufkens, Brussels. Photo: HV-studio.

Lynda Benglis at Xavier Hufkens

Famed for challenging the male-dominated Minimalist movement in the 1970s with her poured latex and foam sculptures, Lynda Benglis mounts a beautiful group of paper sculptures (and an exquisite large-scale bronze sculpture) on the walls of Xavier Hufkens's Van Eyckstraat space.

Delicately shaped using chicken wire, these lightweight, tactile sculptures perfectly embody the material and structural mutability that has characterised Benglis' six-decade-long career.

Alongside this presentation, her work is currently the subject of a solo show at the National Portrait Gallery of Art, Washington, while a major exhibition of her recent work will open at The Nasher Sculpture Centre, Dallas in May 2022.

A childish depiction of a bird with long black wings raised high above its head is rendered in black against a light pink background.

Tal R, Cassy (2020). Oil stick on handmade coloured paper. 200 x 100 cm. Courtesy Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp.

Tal R at Tim Van Laere Gallery

Avoiding categorisation, Tal R works across print, sculpture, and collage, but is perhaps best known for his large-scale paintings.

Cassy (2020) is one of three oil stick on paper works the artist is showing with Tim Van Laere Gallery. An expression of his conscious child-like imagery and technique, these works, like many others, carry a strangeness and naïvety, which distort his extensive references to mythology and the approach to traditional genres employed by that of Matisse and other Modernist masters.

Born in Tel Aviv, Tal R grew up in Denmark graduating from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 2000, a city where he now lives and works.

A ghoulish green sculpture features a mouth gaping wide, its surface painted green. It is glazed and therefore appears shiny.

Jonathan Meese, DER AQUA-SCHREI (ABER BITTE MIT SAHNE) (2020). Glazed ceramic, artist pedestal. 30.5 x 20.5 x 16 cm; 125 x 30 x 25 cm (pedestal). Courtesy Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp.

Jonathan Meese at Tim Van Laere Gallery

This wonderful glazed ceramic mask sculpture is the work of Tokyo-born Jonathan Meese.

Splitting his time between Hamburg and Berlin, Meese's practice covers a remarkable range of media, including performance, painting, and traditional sculpture.

Embodying a visual energy similar to that of Modernist masters, the figures he creates are born out of guises he assumes in his performative works, resulting in dynamic forms reminiscent of Venetian tragedy masks, situated somewhere between the humorous and the grotesque.

Alma Allen, Not yet Titled (2021). Bronze. 300 x 104.2 x 73.4 cm.

Alma Allen, Not yet Titled (2021). Bronze. 300 x 104.2 x 73.4 cm. Courtesy the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

Alma Allen at Mendes Wood DM

Raised in a Mormon family, Alma Allen grew up wandering the foothills and canyons of the Utah desert, whittling small objects from a piece of stone or wood.

Fast forward 40 years and having moved across Utah, Joshua Tree, and New York City, finally setting up shop in Tepoztlán, a small town near Mexico City, Allen's tiny whittlings—while still using the same traditional hand-shaping methods (and with the help of a trusty robotic machine)—have morphed into the highly sought-after wonders that we see today.

Working in bronze, wood, and stone, his playful biomorphic sculptures had a successful run at New York-based Karma gallery earlier this year, before heading to Mendes Wood DM for his first solo exhibition in Europe to date.

Main image: Adrian Geller, Shoot (2021) (detail). Oil on canvas. 39 x 45 cm. Courtesy the artist and Super Dakota.

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