Fairs & Events

Curated Selection from Art Antwerp 2023:
Gil Bronner & Heidi Ballet Present Their Favorite Booths

Gil Bronner and Heidi Ballet, guests curators for Art Antwerp 2023
Gil Bronner (Photo: Susanne Diesner) and Heidi Ballet (Photo: viennacontemporary)

By Adam Hencz

Opening today with the preview and vernissage, Art Antwerp is back for its 3rd edition through Sunday, December 17th, 2023 at Antwerp Expo.

This year’s iteration of the fair features more than 70 participating galleries hailing from 12 countries and selected by the fair’s Invitation Committee. Organized by Art Brussels and held annually in Antwerp, Belgium, the fair has strengthened its position as a significant platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their work to a global audience, while also providing collectors with high-quality offerings at a manageable scale.

This year, Art Brussels’ more intimate sister art fair expanded its gallery list and hosts more international galleries than ever before. Gil Bronner (the German collector behind Sammlung Philara Düsseldorf) and Heidi Ballet (Belgian Visual Arts Curator at DE SINGEL Antwerp) have joined forces and put together a selection of the eight best booths at the fair. Read on to discover their favorites and start your online visit with the highlights of this edition of Art Antwerp.

Curated Picks by Gil Bronner

Galerie Ron Mandos

A prominent player from Amsterdam, Galerie Ron Mandos presents an evocative selection. The gallery showcases its flair for presenting new developments in contemporary art, shedding light on unexpected and unseen everyday experiences.

Highlighted by Gil Bronner as a standout piece from the booth, “Untitled („Paradise is not the place…“)” is a painting by the Dutch art, design, and architecture studio Muntean/Rosenblum. The artwork reimagines the contemporary portrayal of youth with a Renaissance touch, reflecting the fleeting nature of idealism in today’s digital era.

In contrast, Atelier Van Lieshout’s “Boxing Hares” embodies a dynamic struggle, encapsulating the complexities of relationships and identity through its entwined, battling figures.

Another intriguing pick from Galerie Ron Mandos’s roster of artists is Koen van den Broek. Celebrated for his subtle sense of abstraction embedded in the modern urban landscape, the Belgian painter’s artistic journey radically changed course in 2023. “Happy Morning” marks this bold new direction, crossing the boundary between figurative and abstract art.

Click here to visit Galerie Ron Mandos’s booth on Artland.

KANT Gallery

Copenhagen-based KANT Gallery highlights traditional craftsmanship in this year’s exhibition. Gil Bronner draws our attention to the work of Anne Mette Larsen and Joost Vandebrug.

Anne Mette Larsen, a prominent Danish textile artist, revolutionizes weaving with her approach to the “tabby” method, interlacing thin hand-dyed paper and silk yarn in up to three layers. Her grid compositions, abstract interpretations of classic twist patterns found in everyday tablecloths, showcase her exceptional color and compositional sensitivity, earning her the moniker “painter of the loom.”

Joost Vandebrug’s photographic works reflect his ambition to redefine traditional photography, drawing inspiration from Assemblage and Xerox art movements. His pieces capture moments transformed by memory, transcending the constraints of time by blending past, present, and future. Vandebrug’s approach, involving a dynamic interplay of temporal states, extends beyond the personal to evoke a universal, contemplative experience.

Click here to visit KANT Gallery’s booth on Artland.

Philipp von Rosen

Philipp von Rosen Galerie was established in 2015 in Cologne by its namesake owner. Among the artists presented by the gallery at Art Antwerp, two have caught Bronner’s eye: Bas de Wit and Silke Albrecht.

Bas de Wit, a contemporary Dutch painter and sculptor, is celebrated for his vivid imagination and conceptual strength. His work “Grow with the Flow #12” belongs to a series where sculptures resembling Greek columns and classic statues undergo a transformation. These pieces, deforming and melting, adopt almost organic characteristics, challenging traditional perceptions of their usual materials.

Düsseldorf-based Silke Albrecht’s work focuses on painting processes, techniques, and the multifaceted functions of images and meanings within art. Her pieces are multifocal and interpretive on several levels, often addressing contemporary geological, ecological, and geopolitical issues. Albrecht incorporates a variety of methods like collage, assemblage, and embroidery in her creations, transcending the two-dimensionality of the canvas.

Click here to visit Philipp von Rosen Galeire’s booth on Artland.

Curated Picks by Heidi Ballet

DMW Gallery

DMW is a contemporary art gallery and project space based in Antwerp and established in 2016. The gallery’s presentation of Bram De Jonghe explores the foundational aspects of a sculptor’s work. Curator Heidi Ballet notes how the Dutch artist’s exhibition focuses on exploring the physical properties of materials – for example, resilience and elongation – highlighting the intricate balance between strength and delicacy. In her own words, “Sculptures that elegantly seek vulnerability in something that is very robust I always find very attractive.”

Click here to visit DMW Gallery’s booth on Artland.

GoMulan Gallery

At this year’s edition of Art Antwerp, the Amsterdam-based GoMulan Gallery presents Ulrike Rehm’s works, which are notable for their fusion of traditional techniques, folkloric narration, and contemporary themes. “The way that she works with traditional techniques, like woodcarving, adds a historical weight to the works,” says Heidi Ballet. A finalist on the Dutch TV program “de Nieuwe Rembrandt,” through her art, Rehm captures a unique blend of the past and present, offering viewers a refreshing perspective on traditional art forms.

Click here to visit GoMulan Gallery’s booth on Artland.

Copperfield Gallery

Focusing on concept lead, multidisciplinary and multi-media practices, Copperfield Gallery represents a remarkable roster of artists, including Larry Achiampong and Oscar Santillan. According to Ballet, the South London-based independent contemporary art gallery is set to impress at Art Antwerp with Narges Mohammadi’s deep sense of personal and cultural narrative. Mohammadi’s work tells the poignant story of her journey from Afghanistan, symbolized by a sculpture featuring her 14-karat gold earrings melted into Afghan lapis lazuli stone and juxtaposed with a silver replica of the earring.

Click here to visit Copperfield’s booth on Artland.

Gallery Lelong & Co.

Gallery Lelong & Co. brings an array of artists to the fair, including Pierre Alechinsky, Barthélémy Toguo, and Antoni Tàpies. However, it is Kiki Smith’s work that captivates Ballet with its timeless quality and profound commentary on our existential experiences. Smith’s multidisciplinary art focuses on themes like birth, regeneration, and the human condition’s connection with nature, often featuring intriguing portrayals of human-animal entanglements. The celebrated German-born American artist is the recipient of numerous awards, and her works are held in prestigious collections, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, among others.

Click here to visit Galerie Lelong & Co.’s booth on Artland.

Tatjana Pieters Gallery

Tatjana Pieters is a contemporary art gallery in Ghent committed to making contemporary art accessible with an eye to experimentation and social awareness. At Art Antwerp, the gallery introduces Anneke Eussen, a recent winner of the City of Miami Beach acquisition. Eussen’s compositions utilize recuperated industrial materials, echoing modernist paintings in their form and structure. Her upbringing in a Dutch town near Germany and Belgium influences her work – described by Ballet as “evoking map-like shapes and imaginary territories that question the idea of borders by creating a new, composite form” – ultimately challenging traditional notions of borders and identity.

Click here to visit Tatjana Pieters Gallery’s booth on Artland.

Opening today, this year’s edition of Art Antwerp is running at Antwerp Expo until December 17th but continues online on Artland, where the booths and artworks for sale will be available through December 22nd. Visit the fair online here.

About Gil Bronner & Heidi Ballet

Gil Bronner is a Düsseldorf-based real estate developer and avid collector of contemporary art. He inherited his passion for art from his parents, Cary and Dan Georg Bronner. Since 2008, he has facilitated exhibition platforms in Düsseldorf. In 2016, he opened the Museum Philara Collection, which presents thematic collection exhibitions and changing exhibitions with works on loan or new productions on 1.700 square meters. The museum is free of charge, and its name is derived from the names of his two children, Philip and Lara. The exhibitions at Philara Collection focus on local emerging as well as internationally established artists. In addition, Gil Bronner has been Chairman of the Board of the Friends of the Kunstpalast Düsseldorf for several years.

Heidi Ballet works as a curator of visual arts at DE SINGEL, where she develops On Sculpture, a program centered around the permanent works in the building, and recently invited Kati Heck, Gabriel Chaile, Sammy Baloji, and Edith Dekyndt. Before working at DE SINGEL, she curated Beaufort 2018 and Beaufort 2021 on the Belgian coast, co-cura­ted the 2019 Tallinn Photomonth Biennial, the 2017 Lofoten Biennial (LIAF) in Norway, and the Satellite Program at Jeu de Paume in Paris and CAPC Bordeaux in 2016. Between 2008 and 2012, she worked as a gallery director at Jan Mot in Brussels.

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