Home » Art & well-being experimental space at Bozar

Within the framework of the “Art&Wellbeing season”, BOZAR wanted to offer a space to further elaborate on the relation between art and wellbeing. However, to organise a physical wellbeing space within the very difficult context of 2020, with uncertain and always changing conditions and high restrictions on visitor numbers proved to be a challenge. A transversal experimental space was created within the exhibition Danser Brut, designed by architect Sara Noel Costa de Araujo and her SNCDA Studio. To integrate this space within the existing context of an exhibition, offered many advantages.  At a time when all cultural activities were uncertain it allowed BOZAR to still reach its visitors, looking for inspiration, a level of interaction and re-connection, looking for a space to move and even dance outside their own walls.

The scenography of Danser Brut put the circle and the circular movement at the core of its design. As the major feature a large circular wall cut through the existing halls of Bozar. Large artworks, such as the amazing Art Brut carrousels from the LaM collection in Villeneuve d’Ascq were presented on moving circular bases. The design thus engaged visitors to move with it throughout the halls, without even realising it.  In the last and main hall of the exhibition the visitor arrived in the transversal room, as the apotheosis of this movement, with the main feature being a large circular stage situated between major art works by Adolf Wölfli, Vaslav Nijinsky and iconic video works on Jackson Pollock or by Rebecca Horn. This invited not only the everyday visitor to take the stage and be part of the exhibitions “raw dance” but it was also the hall where several activities on Art & Welbeing were planned.

However, due to the corona crisis, the circumstances changed. The exhibition Danser Brut opened for the public on the 24th of September. In October the covid situation in Belgium worsened quickly and by the end of the month a second lockdown caused public life, including all cultural institutions, to close down. The exhibition remained closed for one month, and all performative and interactive activities were cancelled.

Throughout this situation we tried to adapt and find creative solutions to keep the experimental room activated. We organised high quality online events, staged in the transversal room, that managed to connect to the earlier set out narratives on MOVE, LISTEN, BREATHE, and CONNECT, in which we strived to explore different ways towards wellbeing.

3.12.2020 – Dance Talk Katleen Van Langendonck & Alain Platel


The coordinator of performing arts & literature at EUROPALIA Katleen Van Langendonck interviewed director and choreographer Alain Platel in the transversal hall. Using Choreographer  Alain Platel’s multi-faceted oeuvre as a guide, they connected to the content of the exhibition, and talked about working with children with disabilities, taking inspiration from Gilles de la Tourette’s Syndrome and archive images that psychiatrist Arthur Van Gehuchten (1861-1914) of his hysterical patients. They discussed the boundary between bodily control and loss of control, between physical possession and being possessed. The talk was screened live on Bozar’s online platform RADAR and was watched by 357 people.

8.01.2020 – Carriage by Matty Davis and Ben Gould – Live performance from New-York & talk


In keeping with our theme “Art and well-being”, our exhibition Danser brut has focused on the often complex relationship between dance and involuntary or repetitive movements. A field that lies outside our capacity for control but which Matty Davis and Ben Gould explore with intuition and sensitivity. The way the body’s senses evolve as a result of injury, trauma and healing is at the heart of Carriage, a performance in which the artists develop their unique language of movement. Initially, this performance was supposed to take place in the experimental space in the framework of Danser Brut, but was livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube.

19.12.2020 – Baudouin de Jaer Talking about Adolf Wölfli


Adolf Wölfli is one of the most influential artists ‘labelled’ under the term Art Brut. He began drawing at the age of 35 in the Waldau Clinic, a psychiatric hospital in Bern. Upon his death in 1930, he left an impressive collection of 25,000 drawings, 5,000 of which contained indecipherable notes of music within the visual structure. Drawing functioned as a therapy for him, but at the same time he created an extraordinary body of work with the highest artistic quality. In Danser brut a magnificent series of drawings were presented from the Kunstmuseum Bern. In 2010, Baudouin de Jaer, one of the real experts on Wölfi’s work, published an album with an auditory translation of Wölfi’s mysterious scores. During this lecture recital de Jaer unraveled all the secrets in front of the art works.

This activity is not funded by the EU Art&well-being project but was linked to the exhibition Danser Brut and the theme art & well-being.

The CONNECT and BREATHE experiences, mainly composed of participatory activities, could not take place due to the covid-19 restrictions.