Bozar highlights Belgian and Spanish culture for upcoming EU Council presidency

Bozar cultural centre in Brussels will showcase Belgian and Spanish art in honour of the upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union. The cultural centre announced its 2023-2024 season on Monday.

Presidential rotation

Every six months, one of the member states becomes the president of the Council of the European Unionon a rotating basis. That country chairs the meetings at the different levels and acts as a neutral broker to reach compromises for decision-making in the Council. On 1 July, Spain will take over the presidency, followed by Belgium in the first half of 2024, and Hungary for the second half of the year.

Spain enters a difficult situation with many challenges, such as the ongoing war in Ukraine, cyber threats and inflation.

Flanders will represent Belgium as president of the Council of the EU for the 13th time and focus on matters regarding regional competencies such as industry, youth, culture, media and fisheries.

Highlighting Belgian culture

Bozar seeks to strengthen Flanders' bid to represent Belgian culture in 2024. Belgian artists will be featured prominently from January to June with three exhibitions: Surrealism in Belgium, James Ensor and Chantal Akerman. Continuing the narrative in the music department, Bozar will present works by Belgian composer Annelies Van Parys, Apolline Jésupret, Jean-Luc Fafchamps and Wim Henderickx, who died suddenly in December. Violinist and composer Eugène Ysaÿe’s will also premiere a new piece during the Belgian Music Days.

Partners of Bozar include the Klarafestival, the Queen Elisabeth Competition and Chapel, the Concertgebouw in Bruges, the PBA in Charleroi and the major Belgian orchestras and ensembles.

Among these institutions is the Belgian National Orchestra (BNO), which has created an ambitious programme of concerts that will take place at Bozar next season. BNO participates in the Prokofiev Festival along with La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra, the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Bozarinvités, including Gabriel Prokofiev, the grandson of the Russian composer Sergei.

Spotlighting Spain

On the centenary of the birth of Antoni Tàpies (1923-2012), Bozar will present the most important Tàpies retrospective in almost 20 years.

The exhibition, organised by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, in collaboration with Bozar and the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, offers a comprehensive overview of Tàpies' work, comprising more than 120 paintings, drawings and sculptures.

The Catalan artist's work is linked to the history of politics in Spain, which was affected by the Spanish Civil War, World War II and Franco's regime. "If I paint the way I paint, first of all it’s because I am Catalan. But, like so many others, I am affected by the political drama of Spain as a whole," he wrote. “In my painting, I want to inscribe all my country’s difficulties, even if I cause displeasure: suffering, painful experiences, prison, a gesture of revolt. Art must live the truth.”

Tàpies, Blau amb quatre barres roges [Blue With Four Red Stripes] , 1966, Oil and sand on canvas, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
Tàpies, Blau amb quatre barres roges [Blue With Four Red Stripes] , 1966, Oil and sand on canvas, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid

Global culture

Aside from the offerings focusing on Spanish and Belgian culture, Bozar will spotlight musicians from Iran, Turkey and Africa in their Global series. Equally important, with jazz as a mainstay of their annual programme, their diverse line-up sees musicians from Belgium, England and the US.

Big names like Rufus Wainwright and the Multiquarium Big Band make appearances in the season line-up. Tempering the famous with the up-and-coming, Bozar's Next Generation series will provide a space for young talent from the European Concert Hall Organisation.




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