Robin and Pieter Vermeersch
16,5 x 21 cm, ills colour, hardcover, English
design: Studio Jurgen Maelfeyt
edition of 500
First edition out of stock
Artistic interventions in architecture at specific sites or in public spaces are problematic exercises that regularly exceed the concepts of adornment, distraction or embellishment. Be-Part in Waregem is an arts centre located in a former spacious architecturally eclectic villa. Transformations and modernisations behind existing (banal) facades have become a general trend since contemporary art took over the “standard habitus of social distinction” from “antique and typical Flemish interiors”. This was especially the case in the eighties, when our country was suddenly caught up in the swirl of the post-chambres d’amis era when the Ghent museum director Jan Hoet was appointed curator of Documenta IX (1992) in Kassel. This instantly made contemporary art socially acceptable for the upper wider layers of the population. As a centre for contemporary visual art, Be-Part radiates the peace of urban mainstream on the outside; the stately conventional façade and the walled garden with its monumental entrance do not immediately create the impression of drastic ‘modern’ renovations carried out with an eye to running a private gallery. The utopian idea that art can provide the living environment with (permanent) interventions capable of improving the quality of society is even an institutionalised and accepted fact today through the Art Cell of the Flemish Government Architect’s team. Artists see public tenders as a new challenge and source of income. Certain schools such as “La Cambre” in Brussels even organise specialised educational programmes that study art in public spaces in depth. The fact that a permanent assignment granted to Pieter and Robin Vermeersch does not result in the addition of a new image, but in a new interpretation of an existing situation, namely the gate providing access to the Be-Part garden, is a relevant point of departure and enables art to maintain the double status of visual and functional object. Published in collaboration with Be-Part, Waregem (B).