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Around the galleries: what to watch out for this month

16 May 2016

Brussels once again plays host to three major art fairs, welcoming 67 dealers to the historic Place du Grand Sablon (8–12 June). For the first time this year, the trio of events – BRUNEAF, BAAF and AAB – are being grouped under a new initiative called Cultures: The World Arts Fair, which sees the three fairs join forces. This spirit of collaboration will extend to create a wider cultural programme, while a fully illustrated catalogue, featuring all three fairs, further cements the event’s new identity. Two special exhibitions, one of which examines the art of clay sculpture, will also be staged at L’Ancienne Nonciature.

Tribal art is the specialism most well represented at the event, with 44 of the total dealers offering a range of pieces from across Africa, Oceania and Indonesia. Among the many highlights here is a Zande harp handle with a typically beautiful carved head, dated to the mid 19th century and on show at Ambre Congo. Fifty ritual masks can be found at the stand of Congo Gallery, while Joaquin Pecci offers a funerary mask dated 900–1450 from the Chancay culture, a Pre-Columbian civilisation located in modern-day Peru.

Funerary mask (900–1450), Chancay culture, Central Coast Peru. Joaquin Pecci at Cultures: The World Arts Fair. Photo: F. Dehaen – Studio Asselberghs

The 11 dealers specialising in ancient art offer a wealth of classical, Egyptian and Near Eastern antiquities. Galerie Puhze presents a black Attic miniature hydria made in 510 BC, and Merrin Gallery impresses with a Greek bronze horse protome from the 6th century BC. Harmakhis, meanwhile, shows an Egyptian statue of a seated dignitary dated to the 12th Dynasty. Of the 12 Asian art exhibitors, presenting an array of works from India, China, Japan and Southeast Asia, don’t miss Galerie Lamy, Kitsune and Jacques How Choong. Among the highlights is a Haniwa terracotta warrior from the Kofun period, Japan, on show at Martin Doustar.

Returning to Paris’s Left Bank in early June is Carré Rive Gauche, which this year collaborates with three other events (D’Days: Grand Paris Design Festival; La Nocturne Rive Droite; and Art Saint-Germain-des-Prés), under the new umbrella 7 Days in Paris (30 May–5 June). Running along the banks of the Seine, this initiative brings together a remarkable 400 participants and offers a week of art-related activities – including exhibitions, conferences, and guided tours. The theme of this year’s Carré Rive Gauche (31 May–5 June) is ‘Femme(s)’, looking at the varied role of women in the history of art. Galerie Chenel presents a selection of Roman and Egyptian sculptures, including a 1st-century marble head of Venus, while Galerie Théorème offers Women Bathing (1799) by Louis-Simon Boizot, known for his models for biscuit figures for Sèvres porcelain. Elsewhere, don’t miss Guillaume Dumée’s tender depiction of Mary Magdalene at Jacques Leegenhoek.

Mary Magdalene Meditating on the Crucifixion

Mary Magdalene Meditating on the Crucifixion , Guillaume Dumée. Galerie Jacques Leegenhoek at 7 Days in Paris (Carré Rive Gauche)

Further afield, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre welcomes the ninth edition of the International Antiques Fair (28–31 May). This year the event, which runs alongside Asia Week Hong Kong (25 May–3 June), expands to include all specialities in the field of antiques, with 80 exhibitors from across Asia, Europe and the US. Highlights include a rare jewelled earpiece from the Malla period, Nepal, at Sue Ollemans; a ‘Maitreya’ seated Buddha from the Northern Wei dynasty (6th century) at Christian Deydier; Dogon and Fang wood sculptures at Galerie Monbrison; and a large desk with beautiful marquetry, dated 1695–1700, at Galerie Perrin.

In London, Art16 takes over Olympia from 20–22 May, under the new direction of Nathan Clements-Gillespie. Now in its fourth year, the fair sees 100 galleries from across 30 countries display the best in modern and contemporary art. Look out for pieces by Damien Hirst and Polly Morgan at Other Criteria; Robert Fry at Galerie Kornfeld; and Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude at First Floor Gallery Harare. Alongside curated sections, the fair presents a programme of related talks, panel discussions, and expert-led tours. The fair’s commitment to supporting the new continues with London First, creating a platform in the capital for international galleries under 10 years old, and Emerge, a celebration of emerging artistic talent curated by Ikon director Jonathan Watkins.

Study for Leisure II

Study for Leisure II (c. 1946), Frank Dobson.

Art16 also coincides with a number of modern and contemporary shows. M&L Fine Art represents the only London exhibition to date of the Italian artist Antonio Calderara (1903–78), whose intimate works examining light and space call to mind minimalists Agnes Martin and Josef Albers (until 3 June). Connaught Brown, meanwhile, counters the brashness of American Abstract Expressionism (the focus of a large show at the Royal Academy of Arts this autumn) by looking instead at European responses to abstraction and the impact of nature on artists such as Maurice Estève, Serge Poliakoff, and Peter Lanyon (6 May–2 July).

It’s the British avant-garde that takes centre stage at Daniel Katz, with an exhibition focusing on the drawings and sculptures of Frank Dobson and Eric Gill. This is the first major public showing of Dobson’s work in 35 years, and seeks to re-evaluate his role as a pioneer of 20th-century British art (24 May–24 June). Finally, showing at the same time as Tate Britain’s examination of conceptual art, Richard Saltoun presents a series of four one-month shows devoted to British conceptual art during the 1960s and ’70s (19 May–30 September).

From the May issue of Apollo: preview and subscribe here.