The cultural venues that will star in Brussels in 2020

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Looking for places to shake things up, reinvent the city or keep your finger on the pulse of what's new in the capital?

Bursting with creativity, there are many alternative venues and initiatives that aim to bring cultural dynamics to unexpected places! On rooftops, in industrial wastelands or in the outskirts, there are so many innovative new places, collaborative spaces or original approaches that redefine the cultural offer. Here is our selection of places in Brussels that will help you to discover, reinvent or build the city in a different way!  

(10 february 2020)

Fondation Thalie - art revitalising the city

Fondation Thalie moved to a 1920s white house not far from Place Flagey in Ixelles in 2014. Its rooms, with their refined design and intimate proportions, reveal a multidisciplinary space. Under the watchful eye of collector Nathalie Guiot, contemporary art rubs shoulders with spaces for exchange, reflection and encounters (library, publishing house, bed and breakfast, artist's residence).

A veritable cultural laboratory, the Fondation Thalie also concocts a variety of innovative events: talks on contemporary art, readings or meetings with international writers, and even a poetry night to celebrate the spring equinox. In the foundation's kitchen, conference dinners or culinary performances regularly thrill the taste buds of foodies. The foundation's two annual exhibitions are programme highlights and are dedicated to showcasing emerging creation and female artists. To open the 2020 season, it presents the singular pictorial language of the Swiss visual artist, Agnès Thurnauer. Her subjective maps of the world, strewn with bright colours, invite us to rethink cartography and the issues at stake in our world.

Both a house and a gallery, the Fondation Thalie reflects an ideal of transversality, at the crossroads between the visual arts, performance, music and contemporary thought. In the heart of the gallery district, it is a place which, true to its motto “Art has the power to revitalise both the city, and the Europe of tomorrow” engages in a true reflection on the future of Europe and supports contemporary art rooted in a changing world…

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LAC stirs things up

The LAC has a hybrid and skilfully arty identity. It organises such weird and wonderful events as women's wrestling to the sound of a double bass, artists' weddings as an exhibition, wild aerobics classes, alternative gymnastics and a panoply of concerts and original poetry performances. This identity is fully in keeping with the unique architecture of this former storage hall. Decked out in recycled materials and brought up to standard in partnership with the trendy Rotor architectural firm, it has kept a touch of the underground spirit of its beginnings.

Envisioned by its founder as a cultural collocation, the LAC is also a place to "experiment with new forms of socio-professional paradigms". By living and working in the same place, the team, which changes regularly, gives its soul to the place in a collaborative spirit. Programming, accounting, management, directing or stage design... each resident appropriates and gets involved in his or her own way in the life of this atypical third location.

Inhabited both literally and figuratively, the LAC offers an "organic and intuitive" programme built on the contacts, encounters and favourites of its residents. It does so without ever losing sight of the local scene. This programme is eclectic and relayed every month across on social media networks. A true "multifaceted cultural tool", the LAC has its eyes and ears constantly focused on the city.

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LaVallée, on the other side of the canal

A former industrial-scale laundry building transformed into a cultural hub? You'll find it in Molenbeek, just across the canal. Open to creation in all its forms, LaVallée infuses social and solidarity-based economy principles with creativity by bringing together a delightful multidisciplinary community: visual artists, graphic designers, video designers, craftsmen, stylists, etc…  

It hosts creative entrepreneurs who rely on "the dynamics of sharing and cross-fertilisation of projects". Among them are painter Yvan Van Keer and his futuristic canvases, the landscape architects of Landscale, textile designer Lara Lancereau and Citizen Motion, an audiovisual creation and media education collective.

Their objective? To create a varied programme, particularly within their gallery, which is intended to host exhibitions and openings. The first part of the season will be marked by the bizarre creatures of artists Vincent Glowinski and Chloé Schuiten as well as by the poetic and fantastic universe of the Hell'O Collective, who are also residents of LaVallée. For the occasion, the graffiti duo will occupy some of the building's walls and use them as their own creative playground. Live concerts, DJ-sets, debates and conferences will also punctuate evenings at LaVallée. It's a hybrid, convivial and warm venue where you can also enjoy a drink under the lanterns in the inner courtyard

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iMAL, blazing a trail for the Digital Future

A forerunner and pioneer of the digital arts in Belgium for 15 years, iMAL was given a new look in 2020. Buoyed by the dynamism of the canal district, which is undergoing major urban change, the new iMAL has rethought its architecture to help drive on Brussels' "digital future" and open up to the city. In addition to doubling its surface area, the work has made it possible to imagine new spaces, particularly on the ground floor, which now includes a gallery, a stage for performances and a space dedicated to public events.

To kick off the year, the iMAL's programme is centred around quantum physics and its mysteries. An exhibition that combines science, philosophy and art, Quantum, In search of the Invisible questions the limits of our perception while putting reality as we know it into perspective. A workshop will allow curious visitors to hear the sounds of the universe and the stars before composing their own cosmic music. Come and experience an interstellar journey into an exciting world of sound!

iMAL also sees itself as a place for experimentation, a laboratory open to creative and curious people. The 3D printers of the fablab and participatory workshops of the medialab, along with a brand-new programme of activities, have been designed to reach a wide audience, especially those who do not usually visit cultural venues. iMAL is a unique place in Belgium's cultural and artistic landscape as it invites people to reflect upon the technological revolution.

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Rainer Kohlberger- Happy to go -blind © Caroline Lessire