A decade in Brussels
September 7th - October 28th, 2023
Michel Rein, Brussels
Celebrating the anniversary of a contemporary art gallery means looking to the future by drawing on the past, because the contemporary is always coming and the past is a sum of experiences that nourish it. In a close relationship with visual artists, the confidence in the future is based on the contributions of the past, because every work of art is part of time. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of a gallery such as Michel Rein's, which was founded in Tours and has been based in Paris since 2000, or the tenth anniversary of a flourishing Brussels branch, is a demonstration not only of a continuing passion but also of a faith in the ongoing creation, not necessarily predictable, of artists who never cease to surprise and convince. Michel Rein experienced passion as a discerning collector, each acquisition being part of a culture that is still relevant today, a personal relationship established and maintained with the artists.
When he opened his galleries, he decided to share this passion and pass on what drives him so deeply. His approach is conceptual, focusing on artistic intelligence and opening up a dialogue with works that are as political as they are poetic. On these pillars, he builds a rigorous programme in complicity with the management of each venue. Tours, Paris and Brussels also have their own specific personalities, which each venue takes into account, even in a world that is said to be increasingly globalised. The challenge is precisely to feel and manage these particularities while aiming to disseminate them as widely as possible.
The inauguration of the Brussels gallery in 2013, under the direction of Patrick Vanbellinghen, who has a solid and highly regarded presence in the Belgian art world, opened up new horizons and set the gallery on a European course, especially as the Belgian capital is also the capital of Europe. The work carried out here has been faithful to the original project, and has been based on a principle of complementarity, the impact of which is felt as much by the beneficiary artists as by contemporary art lovers and collectors. While the French and international artists promoted in Paris have been able to present their work in Brussels, a number of new Belgians who have joined the team over the years - Sébastien Bonin, Ariane Loze and Sophie Whettnall - have been able to benefit from reciprocity and thus broaden their field of distribution. The move to Brussels has also given new scope to activities, which are not limited to gallery exhibitions. Regular participation in major European art fairs and constant contact with institutions, mainly in France and Belgium, have helped to raise the profile of the artists represented. In Belgium, museums and art centres, including M HKA in Antwerp, MAC's in Grand-Hornu, BPS22 in Charleroi, MuZee in Ostend, Musée Raveel in Zulte, Bozar, Musée d'Ixelles, Wiels and Emergent in Veurne, the Boghossian Foundation, the CAB in Brussels, Kanal-Centre Pompidou and the Brussels Centrale have all celebrated more than one artist, with resounding solo exhibitions or participation in ensembles. On the international front, the 35th São Paulo Biennial, the EMST museum in Athens and the Mam in Paris are also taking part. And a number of works by the gallery's artists are now part of recognised institutional or private collections in Belgium and abroad.
To celebrate an anniversary, whether 30 or 10, is above all to celebrate this ongoing work of support for artists, dialogue, distribution, sales, initiatives and prospecting. The exhibition planned for this tenth anniversary is once again innovative, creating a dynamic while retaining a distinctive identity. The 26 artists who have exhibited in Brussels since the exhibition opened in 2013 will be present in a series of works, generally of modest format, regularly renewed so as to multiply the proposals, while in the window, a large work this time, also changing, will set the tone for the rest of the exhibition.
Which artists will be taking part? They are of all nationalities and all generations in a very current diversity, nevertheless coherent because stemming from the general programming of the gallery. It's up to you to discover them as you go along, as the changes are made and as many new events are added.
And happy birthday!
Claude Lorent (AICA) June 2023
with : Maria Thereza Alves, Farah Atassi, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Sébastien Bonin , Franck Christen, Michele Ciacciofera, Abigail DeVille, Jimmie Durham, Dora García, Piero Gilardi, Fadia Haddad, Christian Hidaka, Armand Jalut, Ariane Loze, Stefan Nikolaev, Dan Perjovschi, Elisa Pône, Enrique Ramírez, Michael Riedel, Edgar Sarin, Anne-Marie Schneider, Franck Scurti, Agnès Thurnauer, Luca Vitone, Sophie Whettnall, Raphaël Zarka