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Office Baroque Gallery: A Contemporary Art Gem In Brussels

Office Baroque Gallery, Brussels | © Pieter Huybrechts, Courtesy of Office Baroque Gallery
Office Baroque Gallery, Brussels | © Pieter Huybrechts, Courtesy of Office Baroque Gallery
Located in the city center of Brussels, the Place du Jardin aux Fleurs is a square dominated by a beautiful early 20th century cast-iron building. The building was designed by Art Nouveau architect Paul Hamesse, and officially houses Office Baroque, an esteemed contemporary art gallery.

Office Baroque opened its doors in Antwerp in 2007, named after the work of American artist Gordon Matta-Clark. Known for transforming damaged buildings into works of art by cutting geometrical shapes into the floors and walls, Matta-Clark’s Office Baroque (1977) was part of his architectural project Cuttings. The work Office Baroque represented, in a way, the beginning of the institutional contemporary art scene.

Installation view, Christopher Knowles, Office Baroque Gallery, Brussels 2016 © Pieter Huybrechts, Courtesy of Office Baroque Gallery

Initially located in Antwerp, Office Baroque’s founders Marie Denkens and Wim Peeters decided to move the gallery to Brussels in 2013. In addition to being in closer proximity to other major international art hubs such as Amsterdam, Paris and London, Office Baroque would be at the center of the Brussels art scene as it continued to establish its stake in the contemporary art world. A few years earlier, in 2008, the Contemporary Art Centre Wiels appeared on the scene, bringing many international artists to the city, thanks to its residencies. Soon after, other international galleries moved to Brussels, such as Parisian Almine Rech, which opened a space in 2007, and Brooklyn-based Clearing in 2012.

Today, Office Baroque contains two gallery spaces: one main exhibition space located on the ground floor of the Art Nouveau building on Place du Jardin aux Fleurs and a smaller gallery on Rue Ravenstein, strategically located in front of Bozar. Both galleries are bright spaces illuminated by big-sized windows and fluorescent neon light bulbs on the ceiling. This lighting forms geometric shapes, and it’s the same in the two locations, as to connect the two spaces to each other.

Thanks to the opening of the second location in 2015, Office Baroque can now enhance its possibilities to showcase two exhibitions at the same time and, as it has done in the past, host screenings and art projects outside the official program.

Since its inception, Office Baroque’s gallery’s represented 22 international artists, including Michel Auder, Owen Land, Margaret Salmon, Leigh Ledare and Jan De Cock. Some artists, like poet and painter Christopher Knowles, have been followed closely for a long time. His work was shown by Office Baroque in 2007; in 2014 through two group exhibitions; and again in 2016 through a solo exhibition with a selection of his marker paintings.

Office Baroque also participates in international fairs such as Independent in New York and Brussels, Frieze in London, and FIAC in Paris.