April 26 - June 18
An imperial air surrounds Place Louise and its vicinity. The landmark named after King Leopold II's eldest child is lined with high-end fashion stores and luxury boutiques, their shop fronts basking in an aseptic gleam. Across the street, there is this other space. The Belly Of Brussels, a building complex made up of the Galerie Porte Louise and the adjacent Espace Louise seems wholly unaffected by the sterile palette of its commercial interlocutors.
Inside, golden fixtures shine a light on empty window displays, and “for rent” signs prod to shops in and out of business. Outdated posters line the walls, advertising businesses such as Liberty Call, Diplomat Suits, Quadrophenia and Reminiscence. Red carpets decorate the aisles, muffling the silence in between Billboard Hot 100 tracks and covering parquet floors and linoleum tiles that have lost their shine. With few customers in sight, static wafts up the halls. A fin-de-Reagan soundscape escorts one through mirrored pathways as dance rock gives way to fast-paced Soukous. As a site of both welling desires and unkept promises, Porte Louise seems flush with incongruence, welcoming buyers and dwellers alike. Veined with aberrant pathways and working at a digestive pace, the complex is a self-contained dominion, governed by the temporal rule of its own. Expedience bulges beneath its weight.
At n°13, “parfum” awaits. At this juncture, one is greeted by a kind of façadism: An arched doorway and four flat columns in shades of ambergris, set up a front of faux stone, neoclassical in style. Grey amber intimates that every perfume has both a shelf life and a stench. The best way to hide it is in plain sight.
– Jessica Aimufua