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Jonathan Kugel

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A new original concept is born in the heart of a neighborhood of antique stores in Brussels from April 19 to 23. Art Sablon, offers a three day journey through a world where ancient art and contemporary art mix. Rare, ancient and precious objects beside contemporary pieces, a combination of trends and sensibilities.

Meeting with Jonathan Kugel, founder of Art Sablon.

ARTSPER : Can you talk to us about Art Sablon and why is it unique ?

ART SABLON is an exhibition of contemporary art in a neighborhood of antique stores in Brussels. We give the opportunity to emerging artists to exhibit their work in prestigious galleries, surrounded by objects full of history in the middle of a historical neighborhood of Brussels?

ARTSPER : Why Art Sablon? What is the origin of this project, done in collaboration with young Parisian collector, Joana Balavoine?

I started my career as an antiques dealer working for major English merchants. Joana is a friend and client, we share a passion for collecting and we follow our hearts when we buy, we let ourselves get captivated by pieces from all times and provenances, constantly cultivating our curiosity.
When I arrived in Brussels in October, when the VDK/ JFK Gallery was opening, I was captivated by the richness of the Sablon neighborhood, were we find a unique concentration of merchants with various specialties (archeology, African Art, old furniture, Art Deco, modern painting…)
With Joana, we decided to take advantage of the season of contemporary art fairs in Brussels, city that rises in the pantheon of the capitals of contemporary European art, to create a space for the visibility of independent artists while giving an opportunity to the public to discover the treasures hidden behind the doors of these galleries. The project has had a real snowball effect in the neighborhood, the merchants mobilized and welcomed the project very warmly, for example we thought there will be only a dozen galleries participating, but there are currently more than twenty three galleries participating in Art Salon.

ARTSPER : Who are the artist not to be missed?

I am impatient to see the works of the artists selected by the Desmet Gallery: Henrik Delehag, a Swedish draftsman who will present the first part of a titanic project: 1000’s GODS; James Webster, an English ceramist and KRST Studio, a Belgian duo who left the world of fashion to reinvent the art of tapestry. Amber Bijl presented by the Patrick & Ondine Mestdagh Gallery is another artist that you cannot miss! And, Otto D’Ambra who will exhibit his work at Rue Coppens.

ARTSPER : Art Sablon combines ancient and modern art… How do you mix two trends and cross two sensibilities in the same exhibition? How do you please both audiences?

It’s been a few years since I created the concept of exhibitions that combine the two worlds, some people are harder to convince than others but most of the time, people are enthusiastic about the idea of mixing styles. The challenge is to do it with good taste and to demand an impeccable level of quality, for the contemporary pieces and for the ancient ones. Art from all times approach the same subjects: love, war, death, society, religion and the place of the human being in the middle of all that, it is then easy to create resonances between the emotions of yesterday and today.

ARTSPER : What are your next projects?

I hope I will be able to bring the concept of Art Sablon to London to the Mayfair neighborhood and to Paris to the Carre Rive Gauche, in the meantime I am organizing a series of exhibitions in London this summer and I hope I am able to bring the KRJST Studio to Lebanon for the Beirut Art Fair. I am also considering some projects in New York.

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