zondag 5 augustus 2012

Visit from Loretta & Alessandro : 29 Jul - 5 Aug 2012

This year my Italian friends, Loretta & Alessandro managed to maintain their (3rd) visit which had been cancelled previous year.
They arrived late on Sunday July 29th after a full day driving from Cavaria (Varese).
Monday morning after a lazy breakfast, we drove (by car) to Blankenberge, Wenduine discover some of the Beaufort works of art displayed along the Belgian Coast.

The "Arcs" from Bernar Venet in Wenduine
The works of the French sculptor Bernar Venet are indeterminate forms, but can be read as extreme enlargements of scratched lines, punctuation marks and accents. His lignes indéterminées are at first sight very abstract, but give the impression of pieces of writing on a contrasting ground. Venet also often makes use of mathematical signs and in this way triesto underline the concepts of time and space in his sculptures. With his steel sculptures Venet is not only represented in various important international museum and private collections, but is also present in the public space. So during an exhibition in Versailles his steel arches framed one of the existing sculptures, just as if they put it in parenthesis and offered the horse and rider a kind of laurel crown. Using corten steel gives the arches a particular surface, which reflects the surrounding light in a special way.

The "Sandworm" of Marco Casagrande

 “Designing is not sufficient. Design should not replace reality. The building must grow out of the location; it must react to its environment, it must be a reflection of life and also be itself, as every other living being. Architectural control goes against nature and thus also against architecture. The built human environment is a mediator between human nature and nature itself. To be part of this, man must be weak.”The work of Marco Casagrande is on the cusp between architecture and visual art. His work pays witness to a continuing interaction between work and environment: there is not a single building of his that is not searching for the questions thrown up by the immediate surroundings. For Beaufort04 Casagrande has created a fifty-metre long Sandworm, which stretches out between the dunes like an enormous wooden worm. The holes in the tunnel invite the visitors to come along too.


The horns "I can Hear it" of Ivars Drulle,
nearby the Bellevue Residence (1909) 

The work of Ivars Drulle consists largely of in situ installations and miniature figures with a narrative element. So Drulle explores the two extremes: on the one hand enormous installations and sculptures, on the other minuscule maquettes and miniatures which often produce sound. He prefers to search for the specific characteristics of a site in order to evoke a unique feel from the installations which are linked to the site, integrated in the local and global culture. He expects the visitor to interact with his objects – wander round inside them, touch them, listen and observe. By interacting the viewer becomes conscious of the fine vibrations of light, sound and movement round himself, and also how varied, fragile and powerful our world is. With I Can Hear It he gives the viewer the chance to step outside the everyday pressures and to become one with the natural power of the sea.Two horns (similar to the shape of an old record gramophone or hearing equipment) are located towards the sea. On a bench in front of the horns a woman is sitting and listening. The visitors are invited to sit down next to the woman and hear the sound of the sea through the second horn.  Through numerous details (the woman’s clothes, the bolts of the horns) the installation is linked to the Art Nouveau style of the Hotel Bellevue, thus connecting with the past image of the coast as a prestigious recreation area.

The "Rock Strangers" of Arne Quinze
Arne Quinze developed a cluster of sculptures under the name Rock Strangers for the town of Ostend: strange objects that pop up at places where you would least expect to find them. They have a striking effect on the urban and architectural context of their surroundings. With his sculptures Quinze is criticizing the increasing trend to uniformity in the townscape. His Rock Strangers, however, contribute an assertive, colourful note to the grey, neutral environment. 


We spent Tuesday in Bruggevisiting a.o. the exhibition of "The Mourners" in the Old Saint-John Hospital.
The ongoing expansion and renovation of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon has created the opportunity for these exceptional works to travel first to the United States, and then to a few privileged cities in Europe.The tombs of the first and second dukes of Burgundy have been displayed since the early 19th century within the dukes' medieval palace, which now forms part of the Museum. These galleries will be renovated between 2010 and 2012, providing a first and only opportunity to present the full suite of mourners independent of the architectural framework of the tomb itself, allowing the sculptures to be viewed and appreciated as discrete works of art. While the mourners from the tomb of Philip the Bold will remain on view in another portion of the museum, those from the tomb of John the Fearless are making an unprecedented tour.
Please click on following link for more explanation on these fabulous works of art:

We also visited the "Halve Maan" (Half Moon) Brewery where the 
"Brugse Zot" and de "Straffe Hendrik" beer  is brewed.

View of the Catedral and the Church of Our Lady

The Concerthal


On Wednesday we visited Cadzand & Sluis in Holland.

The mussels in Cadzand  were delicious.
The Beffry in Sluis

On Thursday 2 Aug  we drove to the Westcoast  

De Panne

The "Players" of Michal Gabriel
on the beach in De Panne.

The sculptures of the Czech artist Michal Gabriel present themselves as endless creations, as a natural emergence of a figure from the material. His Players, with their endless arms chained to the ground, make a painfully static impression. As a gang hanging around they seem to threaten; later they appear to stand motionless in their place more as outsider-observer, without the slightest chance of interaction. With their hands rooted deep in the sand of De Panne, we can speculate about what is going on under the ground...

"Waiting for the Climate Change" of Isaac Cordal

"Waiting for the Climate Change" of Isaac Cordal.

IThe Spanish artist Isaac Cordal has been living and working for several years as a street artist in Brussels. By working on a small scale the artist creates an enormous freedom of movement for himself. He sometimes sets off with up to twenty sculptures in his rucksack, to spread them about in the area. For this he rarely uses sculptures that are more than 25 cm high. The underlying idea is that the town degenerates into decor for these little sculptures, and that they find protection behind, under and between the street furniture. Cordal is interested in the fact that the involvement is by nature temporary and that each passer-by can become an involuntary viewer. In his installations he often expresses a concern about our problematic relationship with nature in town and about the passivity and distressing lack of interest towards the hopeless state of the environment. This concern is also present in the installation Waiting for the Climate Change on the beach of De Panne. The small sculptures - as yet high and dry and with a buoy tied around their waist - are located on a pole, waiting for the consequences of global warming. They seem to be passively waiting for the sea to drag them away.

 Cordals installation in Villa Le Chalutier is a further elaboration on this theme 

Villas in the Bortier avenue

The Church of Our Lady in the "Zeelaan" (Avenue de la Mer)

In Koksijde we visited the Dunes Abbey (see link)

"Yorkshire Soul I" of Jaume Plensa

The internationally acclaimed Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa is known for his monumental human figures in the public space. Both silent contemplation as well as physical and instinctive exploration come to the surface in Plensa's work. 

He searches for the pleasures and the contradictions of the condition humaine.In Koksijde a seated sculpture, built out of letters, has been placed on the site of the Abbey Museum Ten Duinen 1388. 

This delicate body is seated on a stone with the arms around the knees, as it were providing protection for his own emotions while entering into conversation with the viewer.

Some works of the Belgian sculptor William Sweetlove.

Alessandro with the Monk sculpture of William Sweetlove
The "Hoge Blekker", the highest dune on the Belgian coast

The "Tripods of Zilvinas Kempinas

After his studies the Lithuanian artist Zilvinas Kempinas moved to New York, where he lives and works. In his work he makes rewarding use of image and sound carriers such as videotape and cassette tape to turn them into kinetic installations, often in interaction with air currents. His work Tripods, which he placed on the dune Hoge Blekker in Koksijde for Beaufort04, also assumes completely the play of air with light. A field of hundreds of flickering and swaying aluminium poles about six metres high attracts the attention. With this work Kempinas puts the emphasis on the importance of the context: without the elements of the environment such as air, light and landscape, the work wouldn't exist.

The faun "The Wanderer" of Melita Couta
on the beach of Oostduinkerke 

A faun with a golden horn stares vacantly towards the sea with its head raised and open mouth. The faun, an old Greek mythological figure, is linked with the location on the beach at Koksijde through its association with old customs and the superstitions of the fishermen. He is staring at the interminable sea, symbol of the eternal waiting, the longing. With his open mouth he blows with the wind and drinks the rain.
In her Journeys the artist is searching for connections and differences between people and places, resulting in a map with inhabitants. To her maps are not only the reproduction of landscape elements, but can just as well reproduce structures of a very different kind. For this she has sought out archive material of the Fisheries Museum as well as own family photographs, thus creating a new universe, in which her own Cypriotic background is interwoven with the rich history of the fishing families of Koksijde.

The Fishery Museum in Oostduinkerke

On the wall of the old churchyard is other work of Melita Couta "Journeys"

In her Journeys the artist is searching for connections and differences between people and places, resulting in a map with inhabitants. To her maps are not only the reproduction of landscape elements, but can just as well reproduce structures of a very different kind. 
For this she has sought out archive material of the Fisheries Museum as well as own family photographs, thus creating a new universe, in which her own Cypriotic background is interwoven with the rich history of the fishing families of Koksijde.


On Friday 3 aug  we walked along the old fortifications and remaining Gates  of  Brugge 

De Smedenpoort

De Ezelpoort

De "Nieuwe Papegaai" (New Parrot) Mill

The "Sint Janshuismolen" (Mill of Saint-John)

Loretta on the Conzett bridge over the Coupure

We ended up in the Astridpark where a popular fiest  "Vama Veche" was in full progress.

On the very last day of their visit, Saturday 4th August, we took the train to Zeebrugge and spent a few lovely sunny hours on the beach.

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