The Around Video fair reinvents itself in Brussels

When a constraint becomes an opportunity

The Around Video fair reinvents itself in Brussels

When a constraint becomes an opportunity. The small video art fair Around Video, which until now took over the rooms of the Moxy hotel in Lille, located in the former medical faculty, was dislodged by the hosting of the Rugby World Cup, including four matches take place in the Lille metropolis at the start of autumn. For this third edition, Brussels emerged as an excellent option. “We realized that many of our interlocutors and contacts were residents there. For collectors and galleries coming from Paris, going to Brussels only added twenty minutes by train. And, at the European level, it is easier to come directly to a capital than to Lille,” explains the director of Around Video, Haily Grenet.

The fallback solution ultimately emerges as an augmented version, and more effective for the event. The fair has in fact chosen to relocate to a hotel in the same chain as in Lille, the Moxy, but of a higher standard, with larger rooms. “This additional space will give exhibitors the opportunity to present and sell works other than video, such as photos or art objects, as long as it remains the work of the same artist, since the principle of our fair is a solo show per room and per gallery,” says the director.

The price of the rooms, which become the stands of the fair, with their large screens included, is more expensive, but the gallery owners sleep there at night, which avoids additional accommodation costs. “It’s a test, but Brussels appears to be a plus for everyone, and Around Video should establish itself there permanently. We are supported by the Brussels-Capital region. Their help goes hand in hand with a set of events that will take place throughout the year, with round tables, screenings and exhibitions, to continue to grow our community of video enthusiasts,” confides Haily Grenet.

Dimension plus internationale

The event, with its intimate format, conducive to meetings between visitors, gallery owners and artists, also adds to a supportive environment, since the hotel is located near the contemporary art gallery district of Brussels. The Wiels art center is also currently presenting a major video exhibition by the Belgian artist Francis Alÿs, who represented his country at the last Venice Biennale.

The fair therefore takes on a more international dimension, and the gallery owners are there. Around Video 2023 will in fact bring together forty-five galleries, nine more than the previous edition, including many newcomers. A small half of French women, including Ceysson

Five carte blanche were offered to artists without a gallery, including the French Célin Jiang, alias Bisou Magique, and Nadia Guerroui, who lives in Brussels, or the Moroccan Lina Laraki, fresh out of Fresnoy, the national studio for contemporary arts. For the first time, the fair has organized, in parallel, a partnership with the Total Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, which will present in November a selection of twelve videos from award-winning artists or exhibited carte blanche, during previous editions (including Enrique Ramirez, Bertille Bak and Pierre Pauze). “It’s a way of continuing to support artists and giving an international echo to our fair,” explains the director.

Among the sum of videos in which we find all genres (documentaries or conceptual, performative or animation, video essays, use of artificial intelligence, etc.), we must not miss the luminous life stories of five women filmed under the dome of the Espace Niemeyer, in Paris, as in a space-time probe by Carla Adra (Valeria Cetraro gallery, Paris), the tender and acidic tribute paid to the aging miners of Pas-de-Calais by Bertille Bak ( The Gallery Apart in Rome), or the new socio-science fiction by Ariane Loze, whose life is dissected and exploited by algorithms and data from her smartphone (Michel Rein).