'Intimate Audrey'

Vanderborght building, Brussels

Current - August 25th

A couple of days ago I read this in an interview in the Belgian French-speaking journal Le Soir: every time Sean, the oldest son of Audrey Hepburn, used to arrive in a city with his kids, they played a little game: they got three (!) minutes to find a picture of their (grand)mother. They always found one: a mural, a t-shirt, in a barbershop – wherever.

Audrey Hepburn was an influencer, an Instagram star before Instagram existed. An icon. 

Did you know she was born in Brussels? Now, ninety years after her birth and twenty-six years after her death she returns to her birth town. Sean, her son, worked for ten years on this exposition documenting her life. Lots of pictures are shown on two levels in the beautiful Vanderborght building: little Audrey taking dance lessons, family pictures, a movie from the successful musical Gigi. The Roman Holiday. The Vespa she drove with Gregory Peck is there, as well as her dance slippers and books she read (with handwritten messages in them). The rosy life of an Instagram star, quoi. 

No life without shadowsides though: the missing father figure (her father left when she was very young), famine during wartime destroying her dream of becoming a real ballerina, four miscarriages, depression, and – Sean says – a ‘deep inner sorrow’ she always carried with her. The exposition doesn’t focus on these shadowsides –  rather it tells the fairytale. It wouldn’t surprise me, for that matter, if she would have liked it this way: she breathed fairytale. Maybe, if you look closely at certain pictures, you can catch this touch of sadness in her eyes. It made her even more ravishing. 

If you’re in for a nostalgic trip down memory lane in the delightful company of one of the most pretty women ever – and who isn’t? - this is, until August 25th, the place to be.

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