From lingerie shop to Lebanese restaurant: art in the most atypical places under the Notspot Kunstroute (Antwerp)

Natalia with one of her works in the lingerie store La Fille d’O. © Patrick De Roo

Artist Natalia Majchrzak (24) in the lingerie store La Fille d’O: “Represents duality between self-confidence and fear”

In the whimsical lingerie store La Fille d’O in Kasteelpleinstraat, we meet the artist Natalia Majchrzak, who is busy with light boxes and photos on canvas. Her work will be on display on Saturday between Murielle Victorine Scherer’s colorful lingerie sets.

“I was inspired by the store,” Natalia says. In three weeks, the artist made a whole new project. Ambitious, as she is also working on her master’s dissertation in photography for Sint-Lukas Bruxelles. “It has been a test drive. A personal experience with a universal resonance that I would like to share with the visitor. ”

A year ago, Natalia experienced an incident on the train. “It’s something many people unfortunately experience,” she says. “A man stared at me, obviously with the wrong intentions. He sexualized my body without my consent. Over the years, I have gathered the confidence to stare back or say something like: Can I help you? Often that reaction is enough to get them to stop. ”

But that time without success. “It was the first time something like this happened. I suddenly felt very empty and reduced to a product. All my confidence was gone. I want to reflect that duality between self-confidence and fear in my project. ”

IN Lilith’s exhaustion she is even in front of the camera in the lingerie of La Fille d’O. “Apart from being an artistic project, it is also a form of therapy. A way to regain my body. I created one female warrior character with an ironic wink. The keys between the knuckles symbolize the fear that women often encounter. The wings refer to Lilith, Adam’s first wife according to Jewish mythology. ”

As with La Fille d’O, the project is about owning your own body. “The power to choose when you want to feel sexy and not let someone else decide.”

A group of smokers in attendance reacted enthusiastically to Ilke's work.

A group of smokers in attendance reacted enthusiastically to Ilke’s work. © Patrick De Roo

Painter Ilke Geerts (26) in café Korsakov: “The social aspect of a smoking area contrasts with the bad habit”

Two streets further on we meet Ilke Geerts (26) in café Korsakov on Mechelseplein. But for that, we must first defy a real smokescreen. The liberal art student at Sint-Lukas Brussels exhibits twelve painted portraits of, yes, smoking people in the smoking area. “Originally, I made the paintings for a group exhibition, where I turned an old photo studio into a smoking area,” says the artist. “Visitors were also allowed to smoke a cigarette.”

However, Ilke does not smoke himself. “As an artist, I am primarily interested in the nightlife and the social aspect that comes with it. The smoking area is a place where everyone gathers and where contacts are quickly made, ”says Ilke. “It’s in stark contrast to the bad habit it is and the way it’s viewed.”

The artist has been painting for as long as she can remember. “I still feel most comfortable with it, but I like to look for ways to incorporate my painting into installations.” For most portraits, she took as her starting point pictures of friends in the nightlife. “But some I have also painted from my own imagination.”

That Ilke is allowed to exhibit her works in Korsakov’s smoking area makes her nostalgic. “Mechelseplein is the place where I first got a taste of the nightlife, so it feels like a origin history

Singer Sam and business manager Jawad.

Singer Sam and business manager Jawad. © Patrick De Roo

Electropunk trio Brorlab in the Lebanese restaurant Cedars: “Physically exhausting, but powerful”

We end our Notspot Art Route at Cedars in Kammenstraat. As soon as we step inside, manager Jawad Ghorayeb spontaneously offers us a bite to taste. Lovers of Lebanese cuisine can come to him for delicious sandwiches, but on Saturday the atmosphere of the idyllic restaurant is completely changed for half an hour. The electro punk trio Brorlab will rock the disc with a live performance. “Our set lasts about twenty minutes,” says singer Sam De Clercq (25), whose band members are in Ghent for a concert. “Short but sweet. It’s really necessary for me. Singing a set with Brorlab is physically very exhausting.”

The trio’s voice studies the cabaret at the Antwerp Conservatory. An education that does not immediately link you to the genre. “Although the field of study has changed a lot. There is room for more than classic cabaret. ”

Sam has been forming Brorlab with band members Raf and Casper for four years now. “Our bassist was looking for a female voice for a record he was recording with another project. Then I got it under control. ”

It will be exciting on Saturday as they have not rehearsed on location yet. “But we are experienced in our set, so it will be fine.” The group is known for its 15 minute long flash concerts. With vocals, guitar, bass and a drum kit on a smartphone, they promise to shake up Kammenstraat with songs in just under a minute.

List of participating locations and artists via @notspot_kunstroute on Instagram.

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