In 2019, a record number of 66,000 people visited the BRAFA Art Fair in Brussels. No wonder there, given the quality of artworks on view, ranging across twenty art disciplines and a variety of media. There is also the famously rigorous selection process that the participating galleries have to go through in order to show their work within the Tour & Taxis venue.
But when all is set and done, the 65th edition of BRAFA will once again open its doors to an entire world of art, offering a unique overview of its history. A place for international exchange, the fair will present the esteemed exhibitors and provide the visitors with an array of not-to-miss art talks program, as well as a special beneficiary event dedicated to the Berlin Wall.
Here is our guide to BRAFA 2020!
Initially a gathering of Belgian art dealers and specializing in “old” art mostly, BRAFA has grown into a proper cosmopolitan event focusing on current trends as well. In 2020, of the 133 participants the fair will welcome 50 Belgian galleries as opposed to 83 international ones, coming from France, Great Britain, Switzerland, Italy, The Netherlands…
Maintaining its balance of stability and novelty, BRAFA 2020 will present eight new galleries, while ten others will return to the fair after one or more years of absence. Just under half of the newcomers specialize in ancient art, including classical archaeology, old masters, furniture and artefacts, testifying to BRAFA’s commitment to its roots and its important role on this market.
The fair will also keep up its dedication to modern and contemporary art, through booths of galleries such as Cortesi Gallery (Lugano/Milan/London), Opera Gallery (Geneva), as well as Baronian Xippas (Brussels), Boulakia (London/Paris), Patrick De Brock Gallery (Knokke-Heist), Gladstone Gallery (New York/Brussels), Kálmán Makláry Fine Arts (Budapest), Maruani Mercier (Brussels/Knokke-Heist), Guy Pieters Gallery (Knokke-Heist), and Omer Tiroche Gallery (London) among the regulars.
As every year, the fair will offer its audience a series of Art Talks, held by important figures in the world of the arts such as museum curators, art market experts and collectors.
In the 2020 edition, BRAFA offers a talk dedicated to Keith Haring, on the occasion of the extensive retrospective at BOZAR; curators Darren Pih and Alberta Sessa will be joining. To honor the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death, Cultural Heritage Curator at the Musée Condé, Domaine de Chantilly Mathieu Deldicque will discuss the largest private collection of works by the iconic artist. Guy Sainthill, a restorer and gilder, will introduce us to the history of frames and frame-making, while collectors and art market specialists, led by Eric Helemeers (Managing Director at Eeckman Art & Insurance) will talk about whether structuring a collection is necessary.
Other talks include conversations with Robert Wilson, a playwright, artist and collector; Britt Claes and Alexandra Van Puyvelde, curators of the Crossroads. Traveling Through The Middle Ages exhibition; and Till-Holger Borchert, Director of the Musea Brugge and co-curator of the Van Eyck. An Optical Revolution show.
The BRAFA Art Talks will take place daily in the BRAFA Lounge at 4 pm, except on Monday 27 January, when they will be held at 3 pm.
In celebration of its 65 years, BRAFA will also organize a very special event in 2020, instead of bringing a guest of honor in form of a person or an institution.
Joining next year are five original segments of the Berlin Wall, which will be put up for a charity auction and accompanied by an exclusive exhibition. Acquired in 2018 from the Hinterlandmauer, the 68-km “inner wall” that blocked off the border strip to East Berlin, these pieces were dismantled by the armed forces of East Germany during the demolition works following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Each piece is 3.8 meters tall and 1.2 meters wide, weighing 3.6 tons each and features graffiti on both sides.
The proceeds of the sale will be divided among five associations and museums in the areas of cancer research, the social integration of people with disabilities, and the preservation of art heritage.
BRAFA will take place at Tour & Taxis in Brussels, Belgium from January 26 until February 2, 2020.
The fair will be open every day from 11 am to 7 pm (10 pm on Thursday, January 30). Ticket prices range from 25€ for the Day Ticket and 15€ per person for the Group Ticket, to 10€ for people from 16 to 26 years of age. Entrance is free for persons under 16.
Featured images: BRAFA 2019 General Views, © Fabrice Debatty © Emmanuel Crooÿ; Stands by Galerie LeBeau Gokelaere; Francis Maere Fine Arts; Phoenix Ancient Art; Galerie Schifferli; and Meessen De Clercq © Emmanuel Crooÿ. All images courtesy BRAFA.