For an artist whose career is based on confronting the spaces we either ignore or deliberately avoid, the now-demolished BBC office that reputedly inspired Room 101 in George Orwell’s 1984 is perfect subject-matter.
Art is Comic, billed as a light-hearted response to terror, is the latest exhibition to embrace rough, industrial brickwork as the perfect backdrop for popular artists with hundreds of thousands of followers and an outwardly casual attitude towards failing politics and social injustice.
“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.