Frie Leysen Brussels

1950 – 2020

This year the festival begins with an empty day: a day dedicated to Frie Leysen, who left us last fall. Frie Leysen initiated Kunstenfestivaldesarts in 1994: she brought together the French-speaking and the Flemish sector in an international festival in Brussels; she defended the artistic creation, in the need to dare, and the possibility of not always pleasing the audience. She has changed the cultural field and –with her vitality and sharp presence– has been an inspiring figure at home and abroad, for colleagues as for a next generation. It's easy to say that the world of theater wouldn't be the same today without her contribution, and it will not be the same without her. The empty day with which we open this edition aims to make this immense emptiness tangible. During this day, Kunstenfestivaldesarts and deSingel - which Frie created in 1980 - jointly initiate a scholarship for emerging artists in her name, following her attitude to always look to the future rather than celebrate the past. As many remembered, Frie described herself as a hyphen: between artists who have the urgency to share their vision and an audience; a hyphen between artistic and geographical contexts; a hyphen within a city. The spirit of ‘contamination’ that animates this edition is dedicated to her. Frie, you will be missed.


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