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Bruges Triennial: Unveiling the Latest in Contemporary Art

On Sunday the 14th of April 2024, the fourth edition of the Bruges Triennial will kick off, this time with Spaces of Possibility as its theme. The world heritage city, known for its beautiful historic streets where time seems to have stood still, had 12 artists and architects from all over the world, search for ways to inject change and sustainability into the centuries-old streets with art and architecture without detracting from the past. The 12 answers to that creatively challenging question will be exhibited in the streets of Bruges and Zeebrugge until the first of September 2024, and can serve as an inspiration for cities worldwide.

Opening festivities

The official starting signal will be given during a festive opening on Sunday the 14th of April, in the courtyard of the Belfry. There, you can admire the installation The Joyful Apocalypse by Brussels-based architecture firm Traumnovelle, whose designs deliberately stay away from the everyday. They use architecture combined with fiction as an analytical and critical tool to highlight contemporary problems and dissect the solutions.

Looking is fun, but learning is even more fun. At all the locations, statue whispers are present to provide additional information about the artworks. You can make the experience even more interactive by using the search card that allows you to look at the images in a different way using a series of questions. If you find all the answers, you can even win fun prizes.

If you really want to learn, be sure to visit the Sebrechtspark where two beekeepers take care of the bees and are happy to answer all your questions. Or how about a guided tour by artist Adrien Tirtiaux while he tells you all about his work and the old connecting road between the Old Saint John’s Hospital and the Minnewater clinic? Check out the full programme of the Triennial kick-off here.

Artists and architects

The artists and architects who will show us different possibilities for sustainable transformation with their installations came from all over the world. They went looking for forgotten areas in Bruges that are not used optimally today and (temporarily) gave them a brilliant new interpretation, each with their own creative background.

Iván Argote

Iván Argote, born in Colombia, studied Graphic Design and Film in his native country and moved to Paris for his Fine Arts studies, where he still lives and works today. Argote works mainly with sculpture and video. He’s fascinated by our relationship with sculptures in public spaces and their link to history, tradition, and power. However, it is the forgotten part of history that Argote likes to connect with the present. Now, you can see how he manages this in Bruges, but his creations have also previously been included in the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the ASU Art Museum in Arizona, among others.

Boonserm Premthada

Boonserm Premthada is the founder of Bangkok Project Studio, a Thai architecture firm based on the relationship between humans and animals, with great attention to sustainability and nature. He consciously moves away from designs that focus only on human functionality and opts for a shared lead role with nature. A brilliant example of this is his design A house for Human and a House for Elephants. Elements of nature become part of his designs in a way that goes beyond simply choosing natural materials. He plays with shapes, light and shadows, textures, but also unexpected layouts and even air to stimulate the senses in such a way that it forces people to shift their attention to their surroundings (instead of their mobile phone, e.g.) and slow down.

Mona Hatoum

Mona Hatoum is not only an extraordinary artist, but she also has an extraordinary life story that she also reflects in her work. Hatoum was born in Beirut, but while visiting London for what was supposed to be a short trip, war broke out in Lebanon, stranding her abroad. She studied in London and later became known for her surrealist work, often with a rather uncanny, dark edge. In the 1980s, she designed installations with everyday objects that were distorted or enlarged and evoked a sense of recognition as well as threat in visitors. This is also the woman who visualised her own body with an endoscopic camera in the 1990s. So be sure not to skip her installation in the gardens of PZ Onzelievevrouw, just outside the city centre (still accessible on foot).

These are just some of the group of 12 talented artists and architects who will let you discover Bruges in a new way during the Triennial. So if a visit to Bruges was not yet included in your agenda for this year, this is an excellent reason to still do so. If you want to combine the work of these contemporary artists with the historical attractions, it’s best to stay a bit longer. Thanks to Bruges’ long history, there is an awful lot to see and experience and a day flies by in no time. Make sure that won’t be a problem and book a stay in one of the renovated rooms at Green Park Hotel Bruges. If you book directly through this website, you will book at the best possible rate.

Author Bio: Katie McGarr is a daytime writer for Green Park Hotel Brugge, a three-star hotel offering the perfect countryside accommodation experience while exploring the best-preserved medieval city of Belgium. Since this free-spirited damsel loves to go on adventures, she’s got a lot to say about travel, dining, cultural enjoyment, and lifestyle. 

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