BRAFA in the Galleries
Exhibitions across 37 cities – from Amsterdam to Zurich – and online.
27th – 31st January 2021
THE LAST WEEK in January heralds the first major art event of the year: the BRAFA Art Fair. In a normal year, Brussels’ historic Tours & Taxis area would be alive with dealers and gallerists, collectors and aesthetes. But this is no normal year. Rather, however, than opting for a virtual take on reality as so many of 2020’s fairs were forced to do, BRAFA has gone small and local, reinventing itself as ‘BRAFA in the Galleries’. From 27th-31st January, 126 art dealers spread across 37 cities in 13 countries will be opening their actual doors and inviting people to come and see specially curated exhibitions of exceptional artworks and objects in person.
“We wanted to support our galleries in these very difficult times with an initiative whose spirit would also reflect BRAFA’s identity and personality,” explains the show’s Chairman Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke. “We were not completely convinced by the many online or virtual events that we’ve seen in the past months – many colleagues told us that their clients were suffering from a sort of ‘digital fatigue’. So we wanted something different, but in line with the current restrictions and possibilities. We thought that having small exhibitions in the galleries was the best way to reconnect the dealers and their audience.”
The Design Edit has had a sneak preview and here’s our round-up of the collectible design galleries not to miss. (Those of you who are unable travel can, of course, access the entire fair virtually through the BRAFA website).
Fifteen pieces by contemporary French glass artist Xavier Le Normand are the star attraction at the Clara Scremini gallery in Paris. Formed by a process of blowing hot glass into organic volumes and then cold-cutting to reveal different coloured layers or networks of patterns, Le Normand’s objects play with the shapes and translucency of glass. “His work leads us through dreamlike places and fantastical landscapes,” says Scremini. “His language is sensitive and his forms can appear vulnerable, but his material has untold strength.”
Clara Scremini, 99 Rue Quincampoix, 75003 Paris
GOKELAERE & ROBINSON
20th century design gallery Gokelaere & Robinson will be presenting two exhibitions at two different Belgian venues. Brazilian masters including Jorge Zalszupin, Carlo Hauner and Sergio Rodrigues – whose creations perfectly reflect the unique character of Brazil’s artistic scene – will be on show at their seaside outpost in Knokke. Meanwhile, in Brussels, a private home is being reimagined as a collector’s apartment. Quite what it will contain is being kept as a surprise, but expect exceptional furniture by both Brazilian and European designers in conversation with a collection of post-war paintings.
Gokelaere & Robinson, Golvenstraat 6 – 8300, Knokke, Belgium
Hors-les-Murs, Boulevard de Waterloo 28 – 1000, Brussels
As well as opening the doors to its gallery in Paris, art deco specialist Galerie Mathivet will be taking up temporary residence at the Francis Maere gallery in Ghent. Highlights to look out for include an exquisite 1930s parchment and lacquered wood commode by André Arbus and a contemporary patinated bronze ‘Flocon’ mirror by internationally renowned artist Frank Evennou that resembles a highly stylised snowflake. Mathivet’s co-founder Fabien Mathivet is looking forward to the intimacy BRAFA in the Galleries offers. “We hope that we might be able to have dinner with our clients,” he says.
Hotel Falligan, Kouter 172, BE-9000 Ghent
Galerie Mathivet, 6 rue Bonapart, 75006 Paris
20th century design gallery Morentz will be presenting an immersive exhibition of work by international mid-century masters at its home in the southern Netherlands city of Waalwijk. Among the, very many, gems to be found are a one-off 1976 coffee table by Lorenzo Burchiellaro made up of free-formed wooden plates layered with gold and darkly-coloured metal; a 1950s wall unit by Finn Juhl and a sculptural hand-carved console by José Zanine Caldas. Made at a time when the Brazilian designer abandoned the rigid aesthetics of Modernism and worked solely with local materials, it is part of his ‘Móveis Denúncia’ (protest furniture) series made to draw attention to the environmental destruction of his home region.
Morentz , Waalwijk Hoogeinde 37, NL-5142 GB Waalwijk
“In an unprecedented and anxious context, BRAFA in the Galleries allows us to bring a moment of serenity around a common passion: Art, Antiques and Design,” says Philippe Rapin of Maison Rapin. And in this Parisian gallery’s case some much-needed sparkle too. Taking centre stage among pieces such as Kam Tin’s glittering Tiger-eye encrusted side tables and Roberto Rida’s gleaming brass and glass ‘Orione’ sideboard, is artist plumassier Serkan Cura’s spectacular ‘Feather’ cabinet. More jewel than furniture, ‘Feather’ is entirely covered with naturally-moulted rooster feathers, each one meticulously placed by hand.
Maison Rapin, 25 Quai Voltaire, 75007 Paris