A surreal affair: Brafa 2024

The world’s longest-running art fair, Brafa, returns this year with a large focus on the Surrealist movement

Art and Design 26 Jan 2024

BRAFA 2024

BRAFA 2024

In the realm of art fairs, Brafa stands as a respected institution, and the upcoming 69th edition promises to be nothing short of extraordinary. From 28 January to 4 February, Brussels Expo will host 132 galleries from over 14 countries, presenting a diverse collection of fine art, ancient antiquities, modern and contemporary pieces, design and jewellery.

BRAFA (photography by Olivier Pirard)
BRAFA (photography by Olivier Pirard)

This year, Brafa aligns its theme with the 100th anniversary of the Surrealist movement, paying special homage to the renowned Belgian Surrealist artist Paul Delvaux, with the Paul Delvaux Foundation providing an immersive experience into the artist’s world. Camille Brasseur, director of the foundation, beautifully captures the essence of Delvaux’s art, stating: ‘Delvaux was neither an Expressionist nor a Surrealist, he was both at once. He managed to instil his canvases with a timeless dimension that allowed him to defy categorisation and transcend passing fashions.’

Lucio Fontana, Spatial Concept (Concetto spaziale), c 1965
Lucio Fontana, Spatial Concept (Concetto spaziale), c 1965

The King Baudouin Foundation, which has been committed to safeguarding and conserving Belgian heritage for more than 37 years, will also be exhibiting its latest acquisitions as well as a fine selection of major works from its collections, including The Man of Sorrows, by Albrecht Bouts – one of the oldest works to be presented at Brafa 2024. Among the highlights, the Foundation will also present a 17th-century Virgin and Child by Maria Faydherbe, a silver fountain by Joseph Van Deuren, and a rare manuscript, Vendredi, that exhibits Surrealistic drawings and texts. The exhibition concludes with Fernand Khnopff’s Portrait de Marguerite from 1887, a Symbolist masterpiece of his sister.

Jean-Pierre Cassigneul, Les Deux Amies, c 1990
Jean-Pierre Cassigneul, Les Deux Amies, c 1990

With much to look forward to and many well-known names set to display work, galleries such as Franck Anelli Fine Art, Bailly Gallery, Helene Bailly, F Baulme Fine Arts and Galerie de la Béraudière will be there to present captivating works that span centuries and styles, while daily talks will be held offering discussions hosted by prominent figures from the art world.

Christo, The Gates, Project for Central Park, New York City, 1998

Museum Hof van Busleyden: the permanent collection revisited

28 January

Kicking off the series, Hannah Thijs, head of collections and exhibitions, will shed light on the challenges faced by the Museum Hof van Busleyden during the restoration of its exterior. Thijs will share insights into the renewed permanent exhibition, detailing the choices made and the guiding principles behind the new concept and design.

Paul Delvaux (1897-1994). From the clear dawn to the end of the day

30 January

Camille Brasseur, director of the Paul Delvaux Foundation, will explore the life and works of the renowned artist Paul Delvaux. Delving into different creative periods, Brasseur will unveil the evolution of Delvaux’s distinctive style, establishing connections between lesser-known early works and his celebrated masterpieces.

More than the eye can see

31 January

David Lainé, senior partner in Painting Conservation & Research at IPARC, will unravel the world of non-invasive technological tools in art. Focusing on studies of works including those by Dieric Bouts, Lainé will showcase how these tools play a crucial role in addressing questions of authenticity, dating and art history.

Patronage for heritage preservation and social entrepreneurship – the example of Pasfoundation

1 February

Ann Van Laere, notary and president of Pasfoundation, and Mathi Gijbels, president of Gijbels Groep, will discuss the unique collaboration between Pasfoundation and its partners. They will explore how this partnership, bridging art conservation and business, contributes to preserving works of art by leading Belgian artists.

BRAFA (photography by Olivier Pirard)
BRAFA (photography by Olivier Pirard)

Public/private partnerships in the visual arts sector

2 February

An insightful round table organised by GiannaLia Cogliandro-Beyens and Gudrun Heymans will delve into the dynamics of public-private partnerships in the visual arts sector. Featuring experts in cultural management, finance and art, the discussion aims to explore synergies that can preserve heritage, stimulate research innovation and foster creativity.

Where does the authenticity of a work of art begin and end?

3 February

Moderated by Eric Hemeleers, CEO of Eeckman, a round table discussion with industry experts will explore the dynamic concept of authenticity in art. The dialogue will touch upon the various facets of authenticity, from the creative process to the history and documentation of the work.