Beach art: Knokke-Heist stages three flagship arty events
Upmarket seaside resort Knokke-Heist on the Belgian coast plays host to three exciting art-centred activities this spring.
In addition to the stunning seaside landscape, visitors can take advantage of a full programme of cultural events all-year-round.
Headlining the upcoming season is the annual open gallery weekend, an extravaganza of experimental visual arts and a photo exhibition devoted to iconic British magazine Dazed.
There’s also a growing collection of outdoor contemporary art by leading Belgian and international artists. Admire the constantly changing vistas as reflections dance from the sea and sunlight casts shadows on sculptures and installations sited along the sandy beach.
Highlights include Folon’s The sea, that amazing sculptor rising out of the tide, the dune-set bronze lifeguard sculpture Socorristas, Gormley’s Another Time cast-iron statue looking out to sea from a breakwater, Flanagan’s leaping hare sculpture Hospitality (pictured), and Tomorrow Man by Catherine Francois, a figure that is literally exposed to the elements.
Meanwhile, the town is divided into five distinct districts, each with their own character and flavour. Knokke is a lively place, the heart of the municipality with grand hotels, hip nightclubs and a mecca for designer shops. Heist is popular with families, attracted by the former fishing village’s quieter lifestyle. Zoute remains the epitome of elegance, a green quarter that has always attracted a wealthy clientele. Duinbergen once drew symbolist artists and authors and is now a trendy place to stay. Polders offers an abundance of nature and sand dunes; the region of grassy tidal mudflats contains the stunning De Zwin nature reserve.
So take your pick from energising outdoor activities, chic shopping, gourmet restaurants and beachside bars, as well as these springtime cultural happenings.
The town is a cultural beacon with more than 90 art galleries presenting an exciting range of artworks from all around the globe. The regular open gallery weekends are a perfect opportunity for visitors to appreciate a range of styles and periods, as well as exploring current trends. This 34th edition promises a highly-accessible gathering for all art lovers, whether serious collectors or curious onlookers. 1 & 2 April, art galleries across the municipality
Immerse yourself in the world of international experimental visual expression with this vibrant line-up of contemporary art, dance and musical performance. Knokke-Heist, Brussels’ WIELS contemporary art center and Jester in Genk, stage the cutting-edge arts event. The multidisciplinary programme includes a fascinating insight by Xavier Garcia Bardon (Bel) into the infamous 1967 EXPRMNTL avant-garde film festival, and a performance by Darius Dolatyari-Dolatdoust (Ire/Fr/Pol) in creative costumes inspired by Jean Lurcat’s tapestries that are on display in the casino. They’re joined by Emmilou Roessling (Ger), delivering a dance piece, visual art from Mounira Al Solh (Leb), shadowplay by Angolan Kiluanji Kia Henda and a sound performance by Stine Janvin (Nor). Finally, Antwerp female choir The Zangles closes the evening with a vocal flourish. The casino venue is an arty destination in itself; the Art Deco influenced architectural landmark boasts large-scale artworks by Keith Haring, Paul Delvaux and René Magritte.1 April, 15.00-23.00 (DJ until 1.00), Grand Casino Knokke, Zeedijk-Albertstrand 509
This upcoming exhibition offers a deep dive into popular culture through the prism of iconic fashion and culture magazine Dazed (until 2014 its original title was Dazed & Confused). The British publication broke boundaries in its coverage of music, fashion, film, art and literature. Co-founded by journalist Jefferson Hack and Rankin, the latter also served as its first photographic editor. He set the visual tone for the magazine, which successfully defined popular taste for more than three decades.
Showcasing over 200 images from the magazine’s archive, especially celebrities and famous faces (including model Kate Moss, pictured above), the show is divided into sections that invite visitors to explore its international influence: Feel it; TV is boring; Emperor’s new clothes; Accept no limitations; Absolutely flawless? They also reveal Rankin’s unapologetically commercial approach to fashion, while not shirking from revealing the less glamourous side to the industry. 25 March to 11 June, Scharpoord Cultural Centre, Maxim Willemspad 1, Knokke-Heist
Photos: Indiscipline-Wiels; Knokke-Heist Tourism; Berko Fine Paintings; Indiscipline-Wiels; Rankin: The Dazed Decades, Kate Moss, Viva la Revolution, Dazed & Confused, Issue 51, 1999 ©Rankin