Why are young people so fascinated by Bruegel?
As a painter, Bruegel lived throughout a turning point in history. It was a period during which the world, as people knew it at the time, was in danger of disappearing. The explorers were discovering new continents and peoples, and the world was opening up at a rapid pace. At the same time, there was a constant threat hanging over the low Countries - where Bruegel lived and worked - which eventually culminated in religious wars.
Bruegel's paintings were regarded as the 'Wunderkammers' - or cabinets of curiosities - of his era. You could feel the social tensions simmering. All innovations that made their introduction during that time - whether they were inventions, or objects from the newly discovered parts of the world - found their way into Bruegel's paintings.
His cabinets of curiosities are fascinating and surprising. Have a look at 'The Fall of the Rebel Angels' at the Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels. On this astonishing canvas, the archangel fights against strange, fanciful creatures such as an exotic fish, a hybrid creature with an animal-like shell, a Native American Indian, and creatures that have split open.
A new world is also opening up for us today; that of digital imagination. Young people especially are plunging fearlessly into the world of fantasy found on the internet, with its mythical-looking games and boundless stories that are rich in imagery. Not painted as in Bruegel's work, but pixelated. This my well explain the fascination shown by many young people, their feeling of recognition and even downright admiration.
Discover the mysterious street art that appeared in several places in Brussels at the end of 2016 (including the corner of Fontainasstraat-Hallepoortlaan, Varkensmarkt, Blaasstraat 87 and Louizalaan 66).
The international art fairs BRAFA and AAF (affordable art fair) are held in Brussels every year. Here, you can come and admire the crème de la crème of the art world and even purchase one of their pieces.
Visit one of the temporary exhibitions of Wiels. This centre for contemporary art offers a mix of national and international artists, both emerging talent and established values.
Lose yourself in Kanal - Centre Pompidou, a new meeting place for modern and contemporary art that is housed in the beautiful former Citroën garage in Brussels.
Discover a perfect marriage between old and new at Gaasbeek Castle. Exhibitions of contemporary art are organised in the magnificent historic setting of this castle.
SMAK: This museum for contemporary art offers a collection containing top national and international pieces from Cobra, pop art, minimal art, conceptual art and arte povera. These often serve as the basis for the exhibitions and are supplemented with bold and original temporary exhibitions. Plan your visit.
The Higher Institute for Fine Arts is a beacon for young artists from Belgium and abroad. It offers them a studio for a period of two years. Exhibitions are often organised around them. Keep an eye on the HISK calendar because a visit will certainly be worth your while.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (M HKA) has a rich Antwerp-based avant-garde tradition as evidenced by its permanent collection, which includes works by Jan Fabre and Luc Tuymans. This collecion is supplemented with temporary exhibitions. Plan your visit.