“Matisse in the Studio” does not deliver the sensational overdoses of colour and the full-on confrontation with genius of the Tate blockbusters, but there is a place for this more digestible insight into the transformative way Matisse saw based on examining his use of “objets d’art” as inspiration.
On the whole, the curators have given the works the space they need and brought a coherent approach to displaying them in relation to each other, which provides the viewer with a largely satisfying experience.
What exactly is the essence of Belgium? Far harder to pin down than French chic or English sang-froid, the nation’s uneasy mix of Walloon and Flemish, surreal and down-to-earth, all miraculously held together, is perfectly encapsulated by the Atomium – a giant, futuristic structure on the northern edge of Brussels.
One of the more unlikely joys of Brussels life is the rotating EU presidency. Every six months, a different member of the 28-strong European Union takes on the task of presiding over policy-making. For the citizens of Brussels, it’s a chance for a cultural mini break without the expense and inconvenience of braving the airport.
It is always interesting to pinpoint the moment when one becomes conscious of a change of mood or orientation in contemporary artistic practices. Something has emerged that offers quite a different tonic. This ‘something’ might be termed ‘mindful matter’: it is materialism with a twist, or with a new twist.