Undeterred By a Global Crisis, Brazilian Dealer Jaqueline Martins Is Forging Ahead With Plans to Open a Brussels Outpost Next Month

The long-planned expansion to Europe has come to fruition, thanks to a bit of patience and some respite from a busy fair calendar.

Founder Jaqueline Martins and partner Yuri Oliveira. Courtesy: Galeria Jaqueline Martins.

Brazilian dealer Jaqueline Martins is expanding her operation to Brussels next month. The São Paulo-based gallerist is forging ahead with her plans to open a second location in the gallery-rich Sablon neighborhood—seeing a year-long plan finally come to fruition.

The nine-year-old gallery’s program is focused on key 20th-century artists from Brazil, as well as foreign transplants to the country, like US-born, Rio de Janeiro-based Bill Lundberg.

Martins is seeking to create a European outpost to bring the gallery’s artists and program into closer dialog with its base of contacts there. She tells Artnet News that Brussels has both a highly sophisticated and diverse understanding of art, but that it is also a beneficial location due to its proximity to Paris and London, which are both relatively short train rides away. In a normal year, Martins is a regular participant at Frieze London, Art Basel in Switzerland, and Arco Madrid, as well as the gallery-share initiative Condo.

“We are excited to realize our long-held plan to open a second space in Brussels, despite the challenges of 2020,” she says. “We feel more than ever that it is the right time to forge ahead with our expansion.” Martins tells Artnet News that the idea had been in her mind for several years, though she landed the ideal space and partner, Yuri Oliveira, to work with last October. “I have always admired Jaqueline Martins and it’s an honor to be part of this important moment of the gallery’s expansion,” Oliveira says. The partner has moved from São Paulo to set up the new space.

The gallery opens on October 17 with a show of the Brazilian multimedia artist Hudinilson Júnior—who was known for pioneering work with Xerox machine-made portraits in the 1970s, and who died in 2013. Júnior is a good showcase of the gallery’s program, which specializes in artistic practices that came out of the 1970s and ’80s era of dictatorship in the Southern American country.

The gallery had initially planned to open this April, but the lockdown derailed its plans. The move and opening has been further complicated by an ongoing travel ban on Brazilians seeking to enter Europe. “We understand that we are all facing a very delicate moment but more than ever we need to continue working to transform abstraction into action, to remain creatively inspired and existentially motivated,” Oliveira says.

Despite these hurdles, the gallery found a silver lining to this year’s cloud of cancelations and crisis. It gave the gallery a bit more space and time to plan for the opening of the Belgian outpost. “Not traveling between art fairs really helped in the planning of the opening of the new space in Brussels as well as to focus on the gallery’s digital presence, which we are also expanding,” Martins says.

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