Author: Olivier Hottois

The Jewish Museum of Belgium invites you to discover a short film directed by Sarah Lederman, which draws its inspiration from the work of filmmaker Chantal Akerman, one of the artists featured in the “Four Sisters” exhibition.

Les Racines de l’eau (synopsis) : Two women, one Ashkenazi Jew from Poland and one Sephardic Jew from Algeria meet in Brussels with the same quest: to find out what their Jewish identity means to them. Their biggest desire is to undergo the water ritual called Mikveh. But they are not welcome in a bath house, being neither married nor orthodox. Nonetheless, they try to claim their heritage on a road trip and own their Judaism. 

Program : 

Doors open at 6:30pm 

Film screening from 7:00 pm 

Talk with Shabbes 24/7 Collective and Samuel Kujas (director of IMAJ) from 7:45 pm

Light Dinner from 8:30  pm to 10 pm 

Price: 10 euros (+ free admission to the “Four Sisters” exhibition)

free for students

“Mirror effect: I am all this, piece by piece. I go out through every pore. I am crossed, invaded, dispossessed. And yet, in this thin skin, I grow, I am alive.” (Marianne Berenhaut)

In Private Collection / Vie Privée, choreographer/performer Ula Sickle invites the audience to explore the exhibition “Four Sisters” through the materiality of the Poupées-Poubelles – transparent nylon tights filled with textiles and everyday objects – made by artist Marianne Berenhaut.

In 1969, a fall of more than four metres left Marianne Berenhaut bedridden for over a year. The accident became an opportunity to question and reinvent her artistic practice: no longer able to engage in large-scale physical productions, it was with the Poupées-Poubelles that she returned to a production that resonated with the demands of feminist thought to which she was close.

For this performance, Ula Sickle invited Sabrina Seifried and Joëlle Laederach to develop a series of wearable pieces in natural latex, a mutable material known for its healing, protective and sensual properties.

The performer Katja Dreyer personifies the Poupées-Poubelles, which she embodies by wearing these clothing creations in a choreography developed by Ula Sickle.

Program :

3:30 p.m.: Doors open

4:00 pm : Start of the performance

16h30 – 17h30 : Talk with Yann Chataigné, Marianne Berenhaut and Ula Sickle (EN)

5:30 pm : Performance

18h00 : Drink

Price: 10 euros (+ free access to the “Four Sisters” exhibition)

It is common knowledge that war photography is a profession often dominated by men. Julia Pirotte however, like many women photographers, has also worked in war zones. The Polish photographer of Jewish origin, documented the resistance in Marseille during World War II, Jewish families in the internment camp of Bompard and the Kielce Pogrom. Throughout these conflict territories, women often had access to families and children, Julia in particular made it a point to render these moving portraits. Her images played a decisive role in shaping war imagery. By highlighting Julia Pirotte’s photographs and journey, Bruna Lo Biundo, Caroline François and Maja Wolny tell us the specificity of female gaze on war and show us that women are as much transmitters of images as witnesses of war atrocities. The conference will also explore how other women she met along the way have contributed to her work.

The conference will be held in FR/EN
The speakers are : Maja Wolny, Bruna Lo Biundo, Caroline François
Program :
Opening of the doors 18:00
Beginning of the conference 18h30
Drink at 19h30/20h

With the support of the Polish Institute in Brussels

During the Nocturnes, the Jewish Museum will be more than ever a space for encounter and dialogue. In addition to its permanent exhibition on Jewish religion and culture, the museum hosts two temporary exhibitions. Four sisters combines the works of Chantal Akerman, Marianne Berenhaut, Sarah Kaliski and Julia Pirotte, all four women, artists, Jews, and custodians of a memory. 236. Land(es)capes of the 20th Convoy offers, through the photographs of Jo Struyven and the paintings of Luc Tuymans, an artistic look at an exceptional episode in the history of the Second World War. On April 19, 1943, thanks to resistance actions, 236 deportees managed to jump from the train that was taking them to Auschwitz.

More information

WORKSHOP Want to discover Judaism? What rituals and practices are part of Jewish family life? In this workshop on Jewish cultures, the aim is to build bridges, to show the commonalities between cultures and their enriching differences. The workshop is for all audiences, regardless of their background and beliefs. 

→ 18:00 (NL) / 19:30 (FR) – Limited places Please send an e-mail to with your name, the number of people you wish to register, the language of the activity and name of the activity.

WORKSHOP The last survivors of the Holocaust share their personal stories with you, documented by the Museum’s archives. A unique and exceptional opportunity to get to know someone who survived the Holocaust and who will explain why bearing witness is still necessary today. 

→ 17:30 (FR) / 19:30 (FR) –Limited places Please send an e-mail to with your name, the number of people you wish to register, the language of the activity and name of the activity.

On March 19, 2023 at 5:00 pm, the Union des Etudiants Juifs de Belgique, the MerKaz and the Musée Juif de Belgique will have the pleasure of receiving sociologist Illana Weizman on the occasion of the publication of her latest book “Des blancs comme les autres?” dealing with the blind spot that the fight against antisemitism represents within the anti-racist world.

A panel of speakers from Jewish and anti-racist associations will follow IIlana Weizman’s presentation to discuss her book. We will publish their names on the event in the next few days.

It is a fact that in today’s Jewish communities, there is a prevailing feeling that the fight against antisemitism is the most overlooked aspect of anti-racist campaigns. The loneliness that those involved in the fight against antisemitism too often face or, quite simply, the frequent lack of understanding of the antisemitic phenomenon in anti-racist circles are all elements that reinforce this feeling.

Faced with this observation, the speakers and the audience will discuss several major questions: Why is antisemitism sidelined in anti-racist struggles? How can we rehabilitate the fight against antisemitism and the inclusion of this fight in the anti-racist movement? How can we renew the collaboration between activist organizations and Jewish communities?

This event will be in French.

Chantal Akerman, Marianne Berenhaut, Sarah Kaliski and Julia Pirotte are artists. One makes films, the other sculptures. Another is a painter, the last a photographer. Four Jewish women. Coming from different generations, they emigrated or were born of stateless parents who fled Eastern Europe and the persecutions of the 1930s. All four lived in Brussels and have in common that they lived – directly or through their relatives – through the Occupation, that they saw and suffered deportations, that they lived through the disaster. 

Chantal, Marianne, Sarah and Julia are sisters. Sisters from other parents. They have survived, or simply lived, thanks to their own resilience. Like Ruth Elias, Ada Lichtman, Paula Biren and Hanna Marton, The Four Sisters who returned from the death camps and whose testimonies were collected by the filmmaker Claude Lanzmann in the late 1970s, they share the experience of the Shoah. They are custodians of a memory, made up of as many stories as of absences and incomplete words. A gap, a silence, a haunting which they inherited.

These artists have created works, languages, and ways of seeing in and around this hole in history, in their history. Evolving each in a singular world, Chantal, Marianne, Sarah and Julia have sometimes crossed paths, seen each other at the bend of an exhibition or a projection. These women have built themselves with a strength and a commitment that make them today’s models of life and freedom. As Jews, they have questioned the weight of belonging and transmission, the power of a scattered and diasporic culture.

Four Sisters is a choral exhibition that follows the gaze of these four figures, whose lives, placed end to end, cover an entire century of history, where events and places, destruction and emancipation, political transformations and intimate experimentations are connected. Combining works and archives, images and texts, monographic presentations and collective arrangements, Four Sisters interweaves the threads of these life stories in a weaving fashion extending into the present, through the punctuated participation of artists from a younger generation. Within Four Sisters, in the details and folds, memories mingling with fiction, there are gestures, times and fragments whose echoes resonate and compose new patterns, like a memory that can only be formed in sharing.

This exhibition project is realized in partnership with Bozar, the Museum of Photography of Charleroi, the C.A Foundation and the Polish Institute Brussels.

This exhibition offers an artistic take on an exceptional episode in the history of the Second World War. On 19 April 1943, the Twentieth convoy left the Mechelen transit camp for Auschwitz, with 1,631 Jewish deportees on board. Thanks to acts of resistance onboard and an attack by the resistance along the way, 236 of these deportees managed to jump off the train that was carrying them to their extermination.  

The photographer Jo Struyven (b. Sint-Truiden, 1961) reflects on this unique act of rebellion in Western Europe under Nazi administration, showing us the landscapes in which this little-known story took place. These photographs constitute a contemporary “memorial”, providing a response to the indifference that characterises these stripped landscapes today. Although they seem devoid of human presence, they were nevertheless infused with (in)humanity.  

Two paintings by Luc Tuymans (b. Mortsel, 1958), which also evoke the destruction of the European Jews and Romani, engage in a dialogue with these photos. In his work, Tuymans has repeatedly explored the relationship between individuals and history, confronting them with their ability to ignore it. The persecution during the Second World War emerged as a theme in his painting practice in the late 1970s. 

“To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric”, the German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno famously said in 1949. The exhibition raises the question of whether art is (im)possible after the Holocaust, through the perspectives of two visual artists. 

Organised in partnership with the Auschwitz Foundation, this exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue book (to be published on 19 April 2023), as well as an educational area presenting the testimonies of escapees from the 20th deportation convoy.

Luc Tuymans, Our New Quarters, 1986, oil on canvas, 80.5 x 120 cm (MMK -Germany)

Luc Tuymans, Die Wiedergutmachung, 1989. Oil on board, mounted on plywood,
Oil on canvas; diptych, 36.6 x 43 cm, 39.4 x 51.8 cm (Private collection)

In partnership with PhotoBrussels Festival

This exhibition, Moroccan women – Between ethic and aesthetic, – an original creation of the Centre de la Culture Judéo-Marocaine – revisits the rules of appearance in Moroccan aesthetics, explores the ethics and customs imposed on women as well as the motivations – still at work – of these highly codified customs.

For the first time, ancient productions and recent creations are put in dialogue, in a rich narrative journey presenting a large quantity of objects dating from the 16th century to the present day: traditional and cultic objects, clothes, ornaments, talismans and jewels, archival documents, photographs and drawings, orientalist paintings coming from the Dahan-Hirsch Collection, which holds a special place in the safeguarding of Morocco’s cultural and civilizational heritage, whose great historical and affective value we measure here.

The Arie Mandelbaum exhibition is an original creation of the Jewish Museum of Belgium. Fre-
quently exhibited, the work of painter Arié Mandelbaum (°1939, Brussels) had not yet been the
subject of a retrospective. For the first time, old productions and recent creations engage in dia-
logue here, in a journey which starts in 1957 and ends in 2016.

Arié Mandelbaum, the son of Polish Jewish immigrants, began painting at the age of sixteen. As
from the early 1960s, he was considered one of the most promising talents in Belgian painting. His
idiosyncratic and compelling oeuvre continued to develop over the decades that followed. After
the heightened expressionism of his early days, greater restraint followed as of the 1980s, giving
rise to works of disturbing fragility, which he has created to this day.

The exhibition is structured around different themes. We first discover the way in which the artist
deals with intimacy, before politics – especially the anti-authoritarian protest of 1968 – telescopes
his soul-searching. The visit continues with the exploration of the self-portrait and the body, two
themes through which we see the work of Arié Mandelbaum transform into a reflection on trace,
absence and erasure. Political violence, particularly related to (neo)colonialism, then made a
marked return in his work. Over the past two decades, it has become increasingly influenced by
the memory of the Shoah – as a return to what was repressed in this child of the war, who will re-
main a rebel painter all his life.

The works presented come from the collections of the Jewish Museum of Belgium, but also from
institutions such as the Museum of Ixelles, the Museum of the National Bank of Belgium or the
collections of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. A number of private collections have also been
mobilized, in particular those of private individuals and the Belfius Art Collection.

Arié Mandelbaum, Untitled, 1987, 150 x 162 cm, mixed technique on canvas, Hugo Godderis collection, Veurne
© Jan Van Goidsenhoven

Arié Mandelbaum, L’Amandier de Fontenoille, 1989, 162 x 150 cm, acrylic on canvas, Hugo Godderis collection, Veurne © Jan Van Goidsenhoven

Arié Mandelbaum, Le canapé vert n°1, 1968, 1220 x 720 cm, oil and coloured chalk on paper, collection of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Mon © coll. Communauté française de Belgique

Arié Mandelbaum, The Assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Maurice M’Polo and Joseph Okito – 2 – The Villa Brouwez, 2011, 180 x 210 cm, charcoal and coloured chalk on paper mounted on canvas, Jewish Museum of Belgium, Brussels © Anass El Azhar Idrissi

Le Musée Juif de Belgique a le plaisir de présenter une nouvelle exposition consacrée à l’artiste conceptuel américain Sol LeWitt (1928-2007). L’exposition est organisée par Barbara Cuglietta et Stephanie Manasseh en collaboration avec la succession de l’artiste.

À travers une sélection unique de Wall Drawings (dessins muraux), d’œuvres sur papier, de gouaches, de structures et d’archives datant des années 1960 aux années 2000, cette exposition vise à mettre en lumière la diversité et l’unité dans la production prolifique de Sol LeWitt. Elle présentera une double « première » : une exploration de son héritage juif et une enquête sur ses liens avec la Belgique. Elle s’accompagnera, en outre, du lancement de la nouvelle application Sol LeWitt créée par Microsoft.


Né à Hartford (Connecticut) dans une famille d’immigrants juifs venus de Russie, Solomon (Sol) LeWitt est l’un des pionniers de l’art conceptuel et minimal, réputé notamment pour ses Wall Drawings (dessins muraux). Bien qu’il ne soit pas religieux, menant une vie sécularisée, Sol LeWitt entretient tout au long de sa vie des liens discrets mais tenaces avec son héritage juif. Dans les années 1990, il s’engage plus activement au sein de sa communauté à Chester (Connecticut) jusqu’à en concevoir la nouvelle synagogue de la Congrégation réformée Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek qui sera inaugurée en 2001. Pour Sol LeWitt, la conception d’une synagogue relevait d’“un problème de formes géométriques dans un espace qui se conforme aux usages du rituel » . À l’appui d’archives, de dessins, de photographies et de témoignages, l’exposition explore la genèse de ce projet majeur, resté jusqu’à aujourd’hui peu connu du grand public. 

L’exposition aborde également un autre aspect oublié de la carrière de Sol LeWitt : les relations étroites que l’artiste a développées tout au long de sa carrière avec des collectionneurs, des galeristes et des artistes basés en Belgique. Seront présentés, entre autres, le Wall Drawing #138, réalisé pour la première fois à Bruxelles dans la galerie MTL – qui joua un rôle pionnier dans l’introduction de l’art conceptuel en Belgique -, mais également la collaboration de Sol LeWitt avec l’architecte Charles Vandenhove pour l’aménagement du Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Liège. 

Toutes les œuvres montrées dans l’exposition sont issues de collections publiques et privées belges, ainsi que de la Collection LeWitt. Quant à la réalisation des Wall Drawings, directement sur les murs du Musée Juif de Belgique, elle est l’occasion d’une expérience participative exceptionnelle, rassemblant aux côtés de dessinateurs professionnels de l’atelier LeWitt de jeunes artistes et étudiants en art plastique basés à Bruxelles. Pour chaque dessin mural, des équipes sont constituées autour d’un assistant professionnel qui accompagne et guide les apprentis. Cette initiative pédagogique est une opportunité unique pour ces derniers d’être associés au processus de création d’un des plus grands artistes américains. 

Enfin, l’exposition au Musée Juif de Belgique est l’occasion de lancer en Europe une application pour smartphone dédiée à l’artiste et à son œuvre, développée par Microsoft avec la Collection LeWitt. Fidèle à la volonté de Sol LeWitt de rendre l’art accessible à toutes et tous, cette application offrira aux visiteurs une expérience immersive et éducative inédite. 

Wall Drawing #528G, 1987, india ink and color ink wash. Installation view at the Jewish Museum of Belgium (c) Private Collection, Belgium / Image: Hugard & Vanoverschelde

© Estate of Sol LeWitt, 2021