“The First Brussels Biennial opened on October 19, 2008, the latest to follow in Europe after Moscow had its second edition in 2007. Organized under the general theme of ‘Re-used Modernity,’ the first Brussels Biennial was inspired by World Expo 1958, an event fifty years ago in which technological progress, modernity and universalism took center stage. For Brussels, the World Expo had meant the building of the underground North-South railway connection and it is along this very pulse beat of Brussels that the biennale’s exhibition was staged. The deserted former Post Sorting Center and the Anneessens-pre metro station were the main venues, with one or two art works also placed at the Central Station and the Van Goethem Hall of the Belgian National Bank. All venues are situated along the North-South axis of the railway network, the ultimate modernization project of Brussels.”
—Carla Bianpoen, “The First Brussels Biennial Pioneering a New Direction,” C-Arts (March/April 2009).
“The timing of this new biennial was carefully thought of. It emerges as an answer to the growing reputation of Brussels as a destination for contemporary artists, curators and collectors. Indeed, the city has been home to a thriving international art community for several decades. Its unique combination of high standard of living, growing scene of galleries, powerful tradition of art collecting, and legacy of art history ranging from Flemish medievalism to 1960s conceptualism attracts artists to Brussels—in many cases keeping them here. Recent significant innovations, including the new contemporary art centre WIELS and the Biennial, means that the city is now ready to enter a new era. The first edition opens on 19 October 2008. Henceforth, the city centre of Brussels will undergo a transformation. Every two years, it will change into a melting pot for contemporary art exhibitions, debates and workshops with international artists, curators and politicians.
“Thematically, the exhibition is linked to the complex ideas emerging from the different modern complexities in a global context and its implications on individuals and societies from around the world. The project will start from the active involvement of artists within this new global modern reality.”
—”Brussels Biennial I,” Bozar.