brussels

Renderings of Paul Otlet’s Mundaneum project. Installation view, Anneessens Underground, Brussels. From “Horizons & Underground.” Photo: Manfred Jade.

Brussels Biennial 1

Various Venues

Renderings of Paul Otlet’s Mundaneum project. Installation view, Anneessens Underground, Brussels. From “Horizons & Underground.” Photo: Manfred Jade.

“BRUSSELS BIENNIAL 1: RE-USED MODERNITY” faces a high bar: One inevitably wonders what justifies its creation now, given the surfeit, apparent exhaustion, and perceived homogeneity of such exhibitions around the world today. The Brussels Biennial must confront both the skepticism of jaded audiences and the impressive sophistication that the best of these megaexhibitions have achieved. In fact, its inaugural version is precisely about this worldliness and its history. While the exhibition gets off to an uneven start, its rutted beginning sets the stage for a broader look at the irregularity and heterogeneity of internationalism itself.

Directed by Barbara Vanderlinden, the biennial defines its difference by considering Brussels’s status as the capital of the European Union, as well as the city’s long-standing relation to past waves of international modernity. Indeed, the exhibition’s

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