Besides galleries, the works are often displayed in unusual places such as the window of a pharmacist or a bed and breakfast, making it an exhilarating quest. This unexpected and slightly voyeuristic way of exposing the art and photographs also confronts us with a clash between contemporary works and the medieval architecture that Bruges is famous for.
In the Pinsart gallery we encounter, among many others, urban sketches by Sara Bomans in which delicate, man-made structures such as houses and roads are brought to life using simply a pencil. Each sketch is a screenshot and tells a story, often aided by a funny or absurd tagline. One level up we find the works of Luc Vandervelde, which are big collages, almost Pollock-esque paintings that are often loud, sometimes calm but always chaotic.
The highlight of 44 Gallery, however, are the photographs by Titus Simoens, a young photographer who was recently awarded the Nikon Young Promising Photographer Award. The portraits on display here have a nautical theme and are truly refreshing, even exhibitionistic due to his use of light and clarity.
The Wonderful World exhibition as a whole is a compact, eclectic and surprising mix of photography, paintings and installations that look at random beauty in our daily lives, while juxtaposing it with the ordinary and often harsh reality. The results are unique and often magical pieces that uncover hidden layers usually overlooked by the average spectator.
Wonderful World invites you to become a part of this intangible aura instead of simply bearing witness to it. The exhibition also investigates whether we are able to see genuine art without its counterpart in the ugly, imperfect world in which we live, or are we doomed to have a lingering love-hate affair with the universe?
Every artist gives us his or her interpretation of reality which ultimately makes us wonder whether art does in fact make this world a better place or simply emphasise, even hide, its cruelties. Many works such as the numerous portraits and urban paintings examine the human impact on the world, or lack thereof. Leading its spectators indoors as well as outdoors, Wonderful World is a surprising journey focusing on human solitude and its artistic companion, and well worth the small detour.