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'The human condition' by Lakin Ogunbanwo | © LagosPhoto 2013, Courtesy of Bozar
'The human condition' by Lakin Ogunbanwo | © LagosPhoto 2013, Courtesy of Bozar
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Highlights Of Brussels' International Photography Biennial

Picture of Nana Van De Poel
Updated: 28 December 2016
Bozar – that eclectic temple of all things culture on Brussels’ Mont des Arts – is again hosting its International Photography Biennial this year. The center has arranged for a wide array of prestigious exhibitions for its Summer of Photography, turning the Belgian capital into a photographer’s haven until September 4th. With Urban Vibes as this edition’s theme, these four exhibitions contemplate the complex relation between humankind and the ever-evolving spaces we live in.
‘Boys Cutting Through a Hedge’ by Jeff Wall
‘Boys Cutting Through a Hedge’ by Jeff Wall | © Jeff Wall / The SAMMLUNG VERBUND Collection, Vienna Courtesy Jeff Wall Studio, Vancouver and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris

Open spaces | secret places

28 international artists have contributed work to the Biennial’s main exhibition and their names resound like bells. Open spaces/secret places boasts work by Jeff Wall, Louise Lawler and the Antwerp-born Francis Alÿs, all artists with a knack for depicting the spaces they inhabit in a thought-provoking way. Read more about it here.

‘Arthur Rimbaud in New York’ by David Wojnarowicz
‘Arthur Rimbaud in New York’ by David Wojnarowicz | © Estate of David Wojnarowicz / The SAMMLUNG VERBUND Collection, Vienna Courtesy Estate of P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York and Cabinet Gallery, London

Dey your lane! Lagos Variations

The equivalent of telling someone to mind their own business, the typical Lagos expression ‘Dey your lane!’ is an extremely fitting title for an exhibition depicting contemporary life in Africa’s biggest metropolis. It’s easy to imagine how a city housing an estimated 21 million people can feel a little short on privacy, or, for that matter, space to breathe. Yet the collection of hundreds of images and four videos by 24 local and international photographers brought together in Brussels reveals a young, dynamic force alive in the economic capital of Nigeria. The city that so clearly struggles with the growing pains of a skyrocketing population is also a stimulating environment for a new generation of artists – one that will innovate and do away with boundaries to find its voice in the maddening crowd.

After scale model: dwelling in the work of James Casebere

Another ruthless explorer of spaces is conceptual photographer James Casebere. A first glance at the American’s oeuvre now being shown in the antechambers of Bozar sparks the feeling that something is off. The landscapes and architectural images are completely devoid of humans, and some of the small details have been changed. Entering the core room of the exhibition (which is fresh off a retrospective at the established Haus der Kunst in Munich), it becomes clear that suspect number one, Photoshop, in fact has nothing to do with these anomalies. Stumbling upon a bunch of meticulous models from Casebere’s hand rather unveils that the photographer was never capturing the real thing but always an impeccably made replica. Casebere’s fanciful play with space and perception is even applied to Brussels and Belgium themselves in the works Screw Device (1991), Cell With Rubble (1996) and Turning Hallway (2003). You’ll be given the chance to be shown around this free exhibition by the curator on the evening of August 18th.

‘Turning Hallway’, 2003
‘Turning Hallway’, 2003 | © James Casebere. Courtesy James Casebere and Galerie Daniel Templon, Brussels-Paris

Vincen Beeckman, the gang

For the last six months Belgian photographer Vincen Beeckman has taken an enthusiast troupe of amateurs under his wing to make the Brussels streets unsafe, snapping shots wherever they went and helping them to develop a personal style. Beekckman, who has been collaborating with the International Photography Biennial for ten years now, and his ‘gang’ of 14 strong are now ready to share their perspectives on the capital’s hidden nooks and corners with the world in a free exhibition at Bozar.