132 exhibitors in the edition celebrating 100 years of Surrealism.
BRAFA, one of the most prestigious art fairs in Europe of which Excellence Magazine has been a media partner for several years, is preparing its 69th edition organised from 28th January to 4th February 2024 in pavilions 3 and 4 of Brussels Expo: 132 Belgian and international exhibitors coming from 14 countries for an edition that celebrates the centenary of the birth of Surrealism.
Precisely one hundred years ago André Breton published the Manifesto of Surrealism (which defines “the dictation of thought in the absence of any control exercised by reason and outside of any moral or aesthetic concern”) thus starting the poetic and artistic movement characterized by emphasis on psychic forces freed from the control of reason and fighting against acquired values. Furthermore, also in 1924, the poets Paul Nougé, Camille Goemans and Marcel Lecomte founded a surrealist center in Brussels. A double anniversary therefore, which becomes an opportunity for BRAFA to invite its exhibitors to add those with a more surrealist touch among the varied proposals.
The French surrealist movement, which boasts among its exponents writers, poets, painters and artists such as Louis Aragon, Robert Desnos, Paul Eluard, René Magritte, Giorgio De Chirico, Philippe Soupault, Salvador Dalí and Jacques Prévert, distinguishes for its transdisciplinary character and for the extensive collaboration between its members, all convinced of the existence of a superior reality linked to the omnipotence of dreams or the disinterested game of thought. An aesthetic and social revolution, that was initially essentially literary, where the liberation of the unconscious was encouraged by the practice of automatic writing.
The Belgian surrealist movement, however, led by E. L. T. Mesens, Paul Colinet, Louis Scutenaire, André Souris and Marcel Mariën, differed from the Parisian one by rejecting automatic writing and political commitment.
At BRAFA we will be able to admire one of the nineteen original copies of André Breton’s Manifeste du Surréalisme (1924), presented by the Librairie Lardanchet (Paris) on the stand of Chambre professionnelle belge de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (CLAM), as well as Composition surréaliste by Léopold Survage, dated 1916 and exhibited by Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke (Brussels). Or the very refined drawing La Légende des Siècles (1950) by René Magritte, presented by De Jonckheere (Geneva), and his important ink on paper entitled L’intelligence (1946), proposed by Van Herck-Eykelberg (Antwerp). An Etude d’enfant from the genius Salvador Dalí for the second version of the Madone de Port – Lligat (1950) will be presented by the Galerie Ary Jan (Paris), while the Galerie de la Béraudière (Brussels) will exhibit Héraclite, an ink by André Masson from 1943. The Brussels gallery will also exhibit some historical works by Max Ernst, including Horizon (1926) and Les Oiseaux (1925).
Two important works by Giorgio De Chirico, characteristic of his metaphysical style, will be exhibited in the stand of Repetto Gallery in Lugano: Piazza d’Italia (1948-1972) and Piazza d’Italia with Arianna, from the early 1950s. Finally, the Galerie des Modernes (Paris) will exhibit an interesting Séville (1927) by Francis Picabia. Among the young generations of artists heirs to the historic Surrealism, the American Emily Mae Smith and the Belgians Tom Poelmans and Thomas Lerooy at the Rodolphe Janssen stand in Brussels.
Paul Delvaux Foundation, guest of honour of BRAFA Art Fair
At BRAFA, a special exhibition space will bring together a group of works from the Paul Delvaux Museum in Saint-Idesbald, which houses the largest collection of the artist’s works in the world. The painter Paul Delvaux (1897-1994), who passed away thirty years ago, will also be at the center of this year’s Fair, with the Paul Delvaux Foundation as guest of honour. Under its aegis, in 1982, the Paul Delvaux Museum of Saint-Idesbald from which the works on display come and the non-profit organization Les Amis du Musée Paul Delvaux were created, as well as an Authentication Committee of specialists from his work that meets twice a year to issue opinions or certificates of authenticity, and the Editions Fondation Paul Delvaux, which publish reference works on the artist, his life and his work.
Strongly inspired by Giorgio De Chirico and close to René Magritte, Paul Delvaux was not a surrealist artist of Belgian or French inspiration. His introverted character and little inclination towards politics meant he was not a provocateur, but he was nevertheless close to the surrealists in the way they managed to “theatralize” a closed and dreamlike universe, which left ample space for imaginary narratives, a form of eroticism relatively contained, in contrast with the provocative dimension of the surrealists. Delvaux’s timeless imagery, often set in fixed locations such as cities, railway stations and urban theaters – recalls the work of de Chirico and the Symbolism of the late 19th century.
The works from the Paul Delvaux Museum in Saint-Idesbald will not be on sale but other paintings, watercolors and prints will naturally be offered by various exhibitors: from a Nu dans l’atelier (1920s) at Galerie Jean-François Cazeau (Paris), at La Fin du Voyage (1968) presented by Opera Gallery (Geneva), Femmes devant la mer (1928) and L’été (1963) exhibited by Francis Maere Fine Arts (Ghent), La danse macabre (1934) on the stand of Harold t‘Kint de Roodenbeke (Brussels), Deux Femmes (1950) on the stand of Galerie Oscar De Vos (Sint-Martens-Latem), L’Annonciation (1952) at Van Herck-Eyckelberg (Antwerp), La Tente rouge (1966) presented by Galerie Taménaga (Paris) and Alésia ou les captives (1973), exhibited by Guy Pieters Gallery (Knokke).
BRAFA Art Fair
Brussels Expo I Heysel
28.01 – 04.02.2024