This past weekend, in the midst of cancellations that have been sweeping events through Europe and the US, the inaugural edition of Art Antwerp took place at Antwerp Expo. As an international contemporary art trade show and not an event, the fair was organised by Art Brussels, and it brought 59 galleries from Belgium and neighbouring countries in a spacious and easy to navigate venue.

Compact in size yet strong in the presentation of the type of work we enjoy, it was a great pleasure visiting the fair on the opening day and seeing so many familiar names and faces under one roof. With our frequent focus on the region, Art Antwerp included a lot of galleries whose programs and artists we feature often on Juxtapoz, so it was hard to pick our favourites among so many of our usual favourites. With that being said, we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the new canvases by Laurent Proux at the Parisian Semiose gallery's booth. Using a wide range of colors and manipulating the paint in a raw and determined manner, the artist is constructing eerie forest scenery in which human figures are found in the state of confusion and despair. Local tag team, Sofie Van De Velde and PLUS-ONE, had a large booth with a great selection of works by artists' we love, such as Bendt Eyckermans, Laurens Legiers, Nel Aerts, Amber Androes, among others. 

Next door was Irene Laub from Bruxelles who put up a solo presentation by Gauthier Hubert, in which brightly colored negative spaces often accentuate the anatomical weirdness of his portraits or the compositional offness of his landscapes. Across her, Ballon Rouge Collective introduced new works by Peter Simpson and Sofia Pashaei while DMW Gallery had a great solo installation by Ellen Pil which explored heavily abstracted portraiture through a Guess Who-like layout. Super Dakota nearby introduced some new works by Adrian Geller whose solo show they presented a few months back, as well as showcased some small gems by Danica Lundy and Bent Van Looy. Maruani Mercier had a large presentation with some strong names, but for us, the stand out works were the small portrait by Johnson Eziefula, collaged oil by Jaclyn Conley, and mind boggling sculptures by Tony Matelli. Everyday gallery from Antwerp had a big selection of thick, smelly oils by Trude Viken, alongside meticulously painted works by Dittmar Viane and sculptures and paintings by Daan Gielis among others, and Sorry Sorry We're closed exhibited a selection of sculptural works including the new ceramics by Eric Croes. Some of the standout booth presentations was a large selection of works on paper presented by Nino Mier as well as Marcin Dudek's solo presentation with Harlan Levey Projects which introduced the three major forms of production in his practice - performance, mixed-media collage and sculpture through textile work, installation, sculpture, and video. —Sasha Bogojev

Photo credit by Sasha Bogojev