POPPOSITIONS - a curated fringe fair providing offbeat alternative during Art Brussels - text by Aleksandra Eriksson
In just a couple of days, Brussels will host its annual contemporary art fair, dotting the city with art enthusiasts and buzzing events. In parallel with the 30th birthday of Art Brussels, we are happy to announce the first edition of POPPOSITIONS, a curated fringe fair showcasing emerging artists and galleries working with site-specific exhibitions. Artworks will be presented in deliberate interaction with the architecture and spirit of Bruxelles Congrès, a still-functioning railway station.
Fairs are presently among the principal sites of exchange in contemporary art, playing a primary role in administering the value and direction of art. Passing the selection threshold of a leading fair is one of the most important ways for a gallery’s artists to gain visibility and recognition. However, many young galleries, despite their important role of backing up emerging talent, do not participate in art fairs due to insufficient experience and funding, or because they practice unconventional models that prevent them from applying, such as a lack of permanent exhibition space.
POPPOSITIONS was conceived as a springboard for young galleries that offer a fresh approach to the promotion of contemporary art. While striving to support their artists so that they can live off their practice, the galleries are not driven primarily by commercial interest but rather as outlets for personal visions and a verve for contemporary art. We abstained from application fees and organised the fair with only camaraderie and perhaps a bit of chutzpah, coupled with minor personal contributions and a few well-wishing sponsors at our disposal. To boot, entry to POPPOSITIONS is free and open to all.
In parallel, we defy the prevailing format for showcasing art. The fair is organised under the aegis of the Belgian curator Pieter Vermeulen and applies the notion of site-specificity - which has a long-standing tradition in the history of art - to the art fair. Our venue, the still-operating railway station of Brussels Congrès, thereby constitutes the context for showing and viewing the works. Steering clear of visual overload, we limited the fair to seven galleries presenting a maximum of two artists each.
POPPOSITIONS is proud to announce, for its inaugural edition, the participation of Dougie Eynon & Nicolas Bourthoumieux (Abilene Gallery), Gérard Meurant (or nothing), Jan Kempenaers & Sarah Van Marcke (Outlandish), Aurélien Dupuis & Karen Vermeren (Ponyhof Gallery), Stephanie Lagarde & Cyril Verde (thankyouforcoming) and Alan Fertil & Damien Teixidor (The Ister).
Moreover, Théophile’s Papers will display an indie selection of print materials focussing on art, photography, typography and illustration, and will stage a temporary bookshop in cooperation with designer Valérian Goalec; the deejays of Document will orchestrate the encounter between visual arts and music, inspired by Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopia; and pop-up restaurant Villa Léopolda will vivify fair guests with conceptual culinary delights. A programme of art talks, including curators Devrim Bayar (WIELS, Le Salon) and Emmanuel Lambion (Maison Grégoire, Bn Projects) as well as Agata Jastrzabek and the artist Kenneth Andrew Mroczek on the latter’s book ‘Y€$, I see stars’ and the aesthetics of the public place in Brussels, is available on our website.
POPPOSITIONS off fair is on will take place at Bruxelles Congrès railway station (Pachécolaan 38, Brussels) from Friday to Sunday 20-22 April, 12 PM to 9 PM and with an opening party on Friday, from 9 PM until late.