BRAFA Art Fair: Pleasure In Discovery
As January is upon us, so is the BRAFA Art Fair. With the regularity of a fine watch-making mechanism, the doyenne of generalist fairs returns mid-winter with the aim of combining the best of the art on offer in Brussels.
As January is upon us, so is the BRAFA Art Fair. With the regularity of a fine watch-making mechanism, the doyenne of generalist fairs returns mid-winter with the aim of combining the best of the art on offer in Brussels. The 133 Belgian and international galleries gathered on the site of Tour & Taxis from 26 January to 2 February compete with a thousand temptations to warm the hearts of all art lovers and to arouse the keen interest of the most discerning collectors. The beautiful, the rare and the exceptional blend harmoniously, eliciting cravings, passion or impulse purchases, while paying tribute to creativity from the earliest times to the present day.
Whether you are a fan of the bas-reliefs of Ancient Egypt, the Roman marbles, medieval Virgins, 18thcentury dressers, paintings by Flemish Masters, animal or modernist bronzes, Art Deco or Art Nouveau silverware, Wolfers jewelry, paintings by Belgian artists from the Laethem School, precious porcelain and archaic bronzes from China, Meissen or Tournai china, African and Oceanic masks, unusual objects from a cabinet of curiosities, stylish furniture, drawings and engravings and works by the greatest contemporary designers.
And rather than discovering all these marvels in isolation, or grouped together, Brafa offers to mix them up harmoniously, creating unexpected connections and dialogue between the thousands of works it brings together. From this proximity will emerge a new reading, a new look based on designs, the styles, origins, paths, materials, colors, artists and meanings of which seem to have nothing in common. Current taste is instead moving towards diversity, eclecticism, the abolition of borders and groups made up of scattered items and here, the choice of gender balance advocated by Brafa over many years is entirely contemporary.
While the organizers want to open people’s eyes by offering a wide range of disciplines and objects, this in return requires the selection to be cutting-edge in each of the disciplines. Therefore, the participating galleries are asked to display the best/highest quality that has been part of their discipline. To meet this requirement, Brafa relies on a strict vetting policy (admission procedure for items) carried out by a hundred or so independent experts tasked with examining each work for two days within their sphere of expertise. A forensic laboratory that is also available to them for further examinations if needed. And alongside this, the Art Loss Register carries out an examination on each stand to make sure that no work on display is reported in its registers that compile works of art stolen from museums and public and private collections.
Brafa is primarily about the pleasure of discovering and admiring thousands of works of art, discussing them with dealers and learning about market developments, completing its collection or its interior, or more simply being tempted … High quality means high prices, and this is true in the case of the market’s star artists, for exceptional works or for unique objects, or even those with an illustrious provenance. But it is also entirely possible to acquire very beautiful pieces for a few thousand euros. Brafa aims to be able to meet the expectations of audiences as diverse as museum curators, interior designers, art consultants, experienced collectors or art lovers.
As is only fitting for the sixty-fifth edition, Brafa chose to celebrate this anniversary with an unprecedented initiative, the charity auction of five original segments of the Berlin Wall. In the past, these five intimidating monoliths were instruments of separation and suffering, but this time will be used for legitimate causes such as medical research, the integration of people with disabilities or for cultural heritage with the sums they will raise and which will benefit the five organizations concerned in full.
Cover image: Installation Florale Thierry Boutemy