L'invitation de Victor H.

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Collection of work inspired by the Maison Horta

To shut the town out, and return to dreams. These words, which refer to Victor Horta’s work, resonated with LOrka. This was the catalyst: the need to escape, the need for flexibility. Everything should have this flexibility. But then we have this full-length portrait, and this perfectly stiff cane.

Victor Horta’s portrait, ca.1900 © The Horta Museum Archives.

This is what LOrka worked on, transforming a familiar object by making it curved. The need to escape that she facilitated by raising the man upon a cloud, just like he liked to elevate his building using colour.

LOrka, Pour s’isoler de la Ville, pour revenir au rêve, 2019. Photograph, pins, wool. 39 x 26 x 8 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

"Creativity makes death retreat"1 When Art Nouveau emerged at the end of the 19th century, people were already experiencing the effects of the industrial revolution that had taken place over several decades. Concerned and “maintaining a consistent distrust of the qualitative and aesthetic consequences of technology”2, some held that hand-crafted work had a superior beauty to that created by a machine. Art Nouveau, which undeniably echoed the Arts & Crafts movement in England, brought a new-found prestige to hand-crafted objects and gave them pride of place in the domestic environment. Among its great names, Victor Horta was a fervent defender of craftsmanship and skilful use of light, the inventor of the whiplash and a master in combining fine materials with ordinary building materials. Forward-looking, he knew how to draw out all the potential of the encounter between industry and artisanal expertise, adhering to the motto of the Vienna Secession movement: “To every age its art, and to every art its freedom”. Faced with so much originality, the question is how to be inspired by Victor Horta without “doing a Horta”? It is no easy matter to embrace such an impressive, almost sacred, body of work. Yet Victor Horta invited the artists of BeCraft to do just that, as part of a unique cooperation project. They thus took a contemporary look at the great work of this architect. From the technical interplay of light and curves to the sensuality of the silk wall coverings, their interpretations have invested the space of the Maison Horta, where the theme of nature is omnipresent, to assert the creative worth of the applied arts. Because according to Romain Rolland 3, creativity makes death retreat, the effects of time can be countered by this union, an almost organic exchange, of artistic forms. They share with Horta the same view of the concept of expertise, mastery, and skill, refracted through the prism of current preoccupations and techniques. More than just a view, it is a reinterpretation in the light of the present-day, but which in the end reflects the same concerns and distrust, whilst seeking authentic beauty in a world dominated by image culture and excessive conformity.

Ornella La Vaccara, BeCraft

1 To paraphrase the quotation Créer, c’est tuer la mort taken from ROLLAND R., Jean-Christophe, Le Livre de Poche, Paris, 1961 2 IONESCU V., Arts appliqués, art impliqué, A&S/book, Gand, 2016, p. 43 3 ROLLAND R., idem.

An exercise in interpretation Victor Horta’s contemporaries had followed rigorous teaching that was not always conducive to self expression. The art academies encouraged future artists and architects to express their creativity within a strict Neo-classic framework. Some of them followed other paths, such as neo-Gothicism or eclecticism. But they all shared the same consideration for the past and for the great artists who came before them. They also all adhered to a strong work ethic. Then came Art Nouveau. Some, like Henry van de Velde, made a clean break with the past; for them eclecticism and the renaissance were nothing other than heresy. Lines, shapes and colours became more and more abstract, expressing the beginning of a new era whose leitmotif was beauty. Horta proposed a less radical revolution. For him it was always possible to find seminal traces of rococo, neo-classicism, Japanese and even neo-Gothic art in an ornamentation elevated by a completely new style. In his case, this stemmed from his interest in botany, but was above all the expression of a highly personal inventiveness. There will always be an element of mystery around the advent of such an individual style; it appears unfettered but it nevertheless follows a rigorous process. Horta is a remarkable example of how admiration for the masters of bygone times can co-exist with overflowing personal creativity. In his later years, wiser than his younger self, he went so far as to write: “Man doesn’t create but interprets”1. It is as if Horta saw himself as a link in a chain that goes back to the dawn of time. Art Nouveau liberated us from the chains of academism. But this freedom involved taking some risks. In the words of Francis Jourdain, writing about the heyday of Art Nouveau: “It wasn’t a revolution, but a revolt. Albeit a healthy and necessary one, but as their only motivation was the enthusiasm of their great intentions, the rebels quickly ran out of steam. They were anaemic and their only sustenance was the empty meat of their fancies”2. It is in this light that the invitation extended to the artists of BeCraft in 2019 makes complete sense to us. Inviting contemporary artists into a historic house and museum is not the same as riding on the crest of a current trend. We aren’t trying to give Horta’s work a spring clean either. And it’s not at all an opportunist move to break down the barriers between artistic disciplines. Our reasons for putting out this invitation, at least as far as the Musée Horta is concerned, were on the contrary to propose an exercise in humility; to show that we are sometimes less contemporary than we think and that the ideas of an architect from 1900 sometimes foresaw what we think are recent discoveries. To use the words of Jourdain, it is to avoid becoming anaemic through personal fancies by coming face to face with an alternative vision, that of Horta. And there is another connection which explains why the artists of BeCraft have their place in the museum. They all work in the field of applied arts and crafts. Their works are all painstakingly crafted by hand. They experiment with materials that may be noble or common, sometimes outlandish. Their techniques may have been invented by one of their predecessors, or they may have invented new skills themselves. All of these approaches connect them directly with Horta. They share the same preoccupations (crafts, materials and techniques) as Horta and his craftsmen. The powerful academies may no longer exist today, but there are other pulls from such things as conformism, fashion or the myth of the born genius. Man doesn’t create but interprets. It is to do just this that the artists of BeCraft have been invited in. Not to imitate, but to create in resonance with the Maison Horta, and to take their own place in a genealogical scheme that encourages emulation.

Benjamin Zurstrassen, Curator of Horta Museum

1 COOLS A. & VANDENDAELE R., Les croisades de Victor Horta, Bruxelles, Institut supérieur d’architecture Victor Horta, n.d., p. 100. 2 JOURDAIN F., Sans remord ni rancune. Souvenirs, Paris, Delga, 2013, p. 332.

This sculpture is part of a series created by Myriam A. Goulet during a residency at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, in Japan. The artist found her inspiration in both traditional local ceramics and everyday objects. Here she has assembled shapes moulded from the plastic packaging which is everywhere in Japan. The form clearly echoes the windows to be found in Art Nouveau architecture. This piece, both sculptural and functional, is also a means for the artist to underline how art is less categorised in Japan.

Myriam A. Goulet, Horta - Combini architecture series, 2019. Wood-fired stoneware. 25 x 20 x 20 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten. Front of the Victor Horta’s House. Š Horta Museum. Photo: Paul Louis.

Aurore de Heusch chose to work on Horta’s creative process rather than on Art Nouveau aesthetics. What strikes her in his work is the idea that a façade should reflect what is inside a building. Her series of brooches describe their wearers in the same way. She based her design on the idea of the “friendship books” that she and her peers would pass round when they were at school, each of her brooches being in the shape of a book cover. These silver books are engraved with the replies given by three people: Ugo, Zarah and Margaux. While her creations may appear naïve and light-hearted, these statements actually raise the questions we ask ourselves all our lives. They present the individuals without totally revealing them, like the façade of a building.

Aurore de Heusch, Margaux, Zarah et Hugo - Qui es-tu? collection, 2019. Brooches. Silver 925, remanium. 8 x 4 x 0,3 cm / 5 x 5 x 0,3 cm / 8 x 3 x 0,3 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

Dining room, Horta Museum. Photo: Arthur Ancion

Marta Dobrynina’s jewellery is usually black, representing the idea of destruction and deconstruction before a renaissance, a new future life. The brooch inspired by Horta’s work is however pure white. In this environment charged with perfection, the light fittings with their stylistic floral designs gave her a new-found energy that is gentle and comforting. Marta Dobrynina, Fleur, 2019. Brooch. Cut, thermoformed and polished synthetic glass and brass. 12 x 11 x 8,5 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

The flower-shaped light fittings in the dining room captured the attention of Bettina Philippo. What she created for the exhibition is a bust adorned with a plethora of pressed clay motifs. Golden and white flowers are thus piled up decoratively to form a feminine headpiece inspired by modern times. Bettina Philippo, Femme-fleur, 2019. Cast porcelain, pressed clay and glaze. Third firing with gold. Ø 20 x 32 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

Bricks form the basis for all buildings, especially those of the industrial era. Rather than working on the organic motifs and arabesques found in Victor Horta’s work, Isabelle Carpentier focused her attention on the more fundamental and geometrical white glazed bricks of the dining room. The less refined lines of the brooch reflect the artist’s personal work; it has the same irregularities as hand-made bricks when they leave the kiln. The necklace, however, illustrates the highly constructed designs of Horta through the linearity of the medallion and the structuring of the chain.

Isabelle Carpentier, Brique, 2019. Necklace and brooch. Silver, brass, micro-mosaics, steel. 6 x 3 cm / p. Photos in situ, dining room, Horta Museum: Arthur Ancion.

Marie-Agnès Marlair combines screen-printing and ceramics in her work. She took many photographs of Victor Horta’s work and selected five of them to be reworked and “printed” on porcelain paper. She focused on some of the architect’s key motifs, from the general to the particular, representing them in the symbolic red ochre of the Art Nouveau movement.

Marie-Agnès Marlair, untitled, 2019. Screen printed porcelain paper. Installation : 60 x 11 cm. Photo in-situ, dining room, Horta Museum: Arthur Ancion.

Light and Nature... The world of Horta could not fail to please Chantal Delporte, whose sculptures in glass reveal the oppositions at play between Man and Nature. In this piece, the oppositions are organic versus static, Nature’s work versus Human activity; modernism versus Art Nouveau. Oppositions illustrated by the freely curving blue-green form and the rigid white figure immobilised on a square base. Each part nevertheless supports the other. They are complementar y. They are locked together, their minds inter-connected, while the sprues left in place form elements outside of the basic structure, just like in Horta’s architecture.

Chantal Delporte, Confrontation ?, 2019. Crystal, pigment. Lost wax technique, kilncasting, sanding. 40 x 25 x 30 cm. Photo in situ, dining room, Horta Museum: Arthur Ancion.

Isabelle Azaïs has combined all the meanders, “spaghetti" like loops, tension and graphics that characterize Horta’s work in this sculpture. The plastic straps, a favoured material with this artist, intertwine like vines, as in the famous whiplashes of Art Nouveau wrought ironwork and wooden structures. This is a fleeting and contemporary interpretation of Horta’s work, retaining all the intensity of its natural vigour.

Isabelle Azaïs, Nœud de table, 2019. Plastic thermoformed straps, tarpaulin. 80 x 60 x 70 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

Hélène de Gottal’s work is a veritable research laboratory which explores our relationship with memories, history and corporeality. The artist, whose favoured medium is lace, was fascinated by the spine-like radiator in the main lobby. This sculpture is also constructed like a vertebral column, with its central marble core from which stem glass pipettes, a laboratory object which take on a newfound beauty in this work. They are interlaced like yarn, forming fragile lace-like knots, contrasting with the robustness of the radiator. These glass pipettes, vessels of memories revealed by the interaction of light and transparency, tell us a lot about how the artist perceives the world that surrounds her.

Hélène de Gottal, untitled, 2019. Glass, Carrara marble. Glass pipettes : 36 x 36 x 20 cm. Marble : Ø 5 x 6,5 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten. Radiator, hall, Horta Museum. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

Hand rail, Horta Museum, detail. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

Anne-Marie Trignon’s work revolves around the strict and archetypal form of the cylinder. Her thick, heavy pieces burnt with a blowtorch first took shape on the potter’s wheel. Inspired by the circumvolutions of the bannister, she expresses the powerful yet gentle strength of Art Nouveau designs.

Anne-Marie Trignon, Oscillations, 2019. Stoneware. Reducer clamp. Steel with acrylic gold paint. 25 x 19 x 34 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

Circle Wood is inspired by the general atmosphere in Maison Horta. Anne-Sophie Muller’s creative process is based on three fundamental concerns: shape, colour and material. The first explores the curve, a predominant feature of Art Nouveau, experimenting with plywood and bending it to give it a curved shape. The second was to recreate the pallet of colours found in the Maison Horta, by experimenting with natural dyes based on turmeric and cashew. And the third was how the different materials specific to Horta’s architecture, such as wood and copper, are assembled and interact.

Anne-Sophie Muller, Circle wood, 2019. Wall. Turmeric and cashew dyed ash plywood, bent and assembled with metal wire. 150 x 50 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

These two candlesticks - in appearance only - show Fabienne Withof’s interest for arabesques and the shapes to be found in nature. The warm, bright colours and the gold cut an outlandish graphic figure. The idea of repetition can also be seen in this quirky interpretation of relief wallpaper, creating shapes that appear both similar and different. All of them reflect the Japanese style that both artists, although a century apart, have a genuine love for. Fabienne Withofs, untitled, 2019. Modelled, pressed and glazed porcelain, with gold and decalcomania. Fired in electric and/or wood-fired kiln. Varying sizes around 28 x 12 x 8 cm. Photos: Joris Luyten. Smoking lounge, Horta Museum. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

"Cohorta" means “horde” in Latin. Coloured yarns are coordinated with small white porcelain elements that cover the whole surface, echoing the arcs to be found in different shapes and sizes throughout the Maison Horta. These arcs are the subtle leitmotivs that Amandine Lamand integrates into a woven base whose composite forms and blurred lines, in the palette of colours characteristic of Horta’s work, suggest an atmosphere of contemplation. The balance she achieves between the general and the particular, the yarn and the clay, generates a new language somewhere between inertia and movement

CAÈS, Cohorta 784, 2019. Woven linen, cotton, wool, mixed fibres, glazed porcelain. Weaving. 100 x 70 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

And what if Horta had gone east? The cross-arch, which is presented en abyme here results from Clémentine Correzzola’s fascination for Muqarnas, the emblematic features of oriental architecture. She merges her own sources of inspiration with those of the Belgian architect to create a piece of jeweller y in which the ceramic sculpture, gold leaf and metalwork pay tribute to the craftspeople they both identify with and honour in their work. The French word Ogives could also refer to warheads rendered inoffensive by the intense beauty of the beadwork.

Clémentine Correzzola, Ogives, 2019. Headpiece. Sculpted, cast porcelain, iron oxide pigment, gold leaf, silk thread, tiny beads, silver 925, white metal. Each component is individually designed and hand-made, drawn, cut, welded, gilt… 20 x 30 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

What inspired Dolorès Gossye was the combination of references to the natural world and all things Japanese that are ever-present in Horta’s work and much favoured among the late 19th century aristocracy. Using natural pigments from the Indian madder plant, the artist has reproduced the shades of pink and gold of the landing between the first and second floors. Le Fleuve Jaune is composed of embroidery on a weave of gold threads and mummified organic matter. In Chinese mythology, rivers are represented by dragons. They inhabit them and generate their sources. Horta’s genius is symbolized here by this imaginary beast, a giver of life in the Chinese cosmogony.

Dolorès Gossye, Le Fleuve Jaune, 2019. Gold thread embroidery on textile and mummified organic matter. 147 x 49 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten. Stair, Horta Museum. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

Imagine if the stained-glass windows of the Maison Horta had sprouted, then wilted. This is the intriguing interpretation that Brigitte Arbelot has made of them. Iron and earth, the materials used by Horta, are present in these metallic stoneware pieces whose structure grows like an organic stained-glass window. While retaining a degree of familiarity with the architect’s work, she deviates from it by proposing the darker yet realistic other side of Nature, used and glorified to illustrate the industrial growth of that era. It is a perfected hypertrophy that the artist invites us to reconsider.

Brigitte Arbelot, Hortus, 2019. Modelled and glazed stoneware, fired at 1220°C. 60 x 60 x 30 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten. Stained glass, Horta Museum, detail. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

The bed, a place of pleasure, rest and lovemaking, is transfigured here. Like a protective shell, the cover is made of thousands of porcelain leaves. Both fragile and strong, this shell reflects some of Victor Horta’s main precepts: simplification, stylization and multiplication. Like a second living skin, from which life’s breath emerges from a gentle respiration, this white cover enwraps us and invites contemplation.

Sara Júdice de Menezes, Nuit blanche à Horta, 2019. Construction in wood, cotton and foam, porcelain, embroidery. 210 x 200 cm. Photo in situ, Horta’s bedroom, Horta Museum: Arthur Ancion.

Boudoir, Horta Museum. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

The large screen in the boudoir of Maison Horta has been scaled down by Catherine Delbruyère. The patterns recall the flowered wallpaper of the bedroom, while the more earthy and dark tones echo those of the Gothic style guest room on the top floor. Delbruyère uses a porcelain filigree technique which reflects the graphic flourishes of the Art Nouveau style. The end result also connects with the organic lines of the Maison Horta’s stained-glass designs.

Catherine Delbruyère, Paravent arbre et Paravent fleur, 2019. Coloured porcelain filigree. Fired in electric kiln at 1250°C. 39 x 37 cm and 45 x 35 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

Movement is ever-present in the jewellery of Lou Sautreau, just as it is in Art Nouveau. The shimmering patterns of the silk wall coverings in the boudoir are repeated in its curves and changing light effects. The optical illusion is also underlined by the impression of volume the structure of this large necklace gives, together with the suggestion of precious materials which, when viewed close up, deliberately evoke something more industrial.

Lou Sautreau, Le boudoir, 2019. Necklace. Brass, lacquer, nylon. 60 x 20 x 0,2 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten. Silk wall, boudoir, Horta Museum, detail. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

Nature and Time are the raw materials used by Thérèse Lebrun. She takes the structures found in nature and uses them like building blocks to create something different, something new. It struck her that the bathroom is virtually the only place that is not occupied by Hortadesigned furnishings. It is here that she would imagine her installation to be. While not for a minute wishing to finish the work of the architect, it is a fleeting gesture that Thérèse Lebrun wishes to offer the bathtub, as well as the bullseye window of the gallery, allowing her physalislike objects to occupy the space like barnacles clinging to rocks on the seashore.

Thérèse Lebrun, Impétuosité, 2019. Installation. Porcelain physalis seed pods. Varying sizes. Photo in situ, bathroom, Horta Museum: BeCraft

While the Pina mark the end of a season, Héri is still on the move, soon to be part of the past but not just yet... Jewellery-objects that settle where they land, as if blown by the wind from the greenhouse, scattering this peculiar garden here and there. As if it needed a bit of noise to break the almost religious silence that surrounds visitors as they walk through the Master’s house.

Chloé Noyon, Pina and Héri, 2019. Earrings and ring. Soldered and enamelled silver, copper. 11 cm and Ø 12 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

Simone’s conservatory, Horta Museum. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

Paraphrasing the architect: “I only keep the stem of a plant and throw away the leaves”, Hélène Rivière has made something that grows and extends. It is a snapshot of growth. It is not the poetic tension of flowers but rather versions of stems that are perceived.

Hélène Rivière, Jardin d’hiver, 2019. Porcelain fired at 1280°C. Varying sizes around 30 x 10 cm / p. Photo in situ, Simone’s conservatory, Horta Museum. Photo: Arthur Ancion

Isabelle Francis was moved by the story of Simone, Victor Horta’s only daughter, who killed herself at the age of 49. It struck Francis that if Simone had been born in the present day, she would have had quite a different life. Imagining her seated on a stool at a low table, wearing gloves, drinking tea or gin, she designed a special 80-page issue of a colour magazine especially for her. Like all young girls, she could flick through it and choose the wallpaper for her room, imagine the flowers, the colours and design her father’s garden, a garden for dreaming in; have the right to dream and be a young girl like any other. Pulling the petals from a daisy: he loves me, loves me not... The colour RAL 5017 is the colour used for road signs. It represents the antonymy in Victor Horta’s work between pure industry and craftsmanship.

Isabelle Francis, SiMoNe Hors-série, 2019. 80-page special issue, printed in 50 numbered and signed copies. Embroidered gloves. Steel thermo-lacquered in “road sign blue” RAL 5017. Table: 56 x Ø 65 cm / stool: 43 x Ø 55 cm / issue: 22 x 28 cm / gloves: one size. Photo: Joris Luyten.

The metalwork of the main staircase of the Maison Horta struck a special chord with Dominique Thomas. The endless swirls of this central feature are echoed in the gold wire earring designed by her. The same spirit of lightness and flexibility are found in this ornament for the body and for the ears.

Dominique Thomas, untitled, 2019. Earring and Flexible brooch. Melted, drawn, rolled and polished recycled 18 carat gold. 35 and 9 cm. Photos: Joris Luyten.

Stair, Horta Museum. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

From a drawing to a volume, Victor Horta and Claire Lavendhome share the same view of the close relation between the second and third dimensions. One detail caught the artist’s eye, the pattern on the wall on the main staircase, which appears to reflect the line of the bannister. The pure linearity of Lavendome’s jewellery reflects the stiff folds of these lines, that have nothing of the curves so characteristic of Art Nouveau. A snapshot of this wall thus transferred onto resin and used in the doublesided pendant illustrates how we can move from one dimension to another by means of a simple line.

Claire Lavendhomme, untitled, 2019. Two-sided pendant. Resin, transfer, tombak. 10 x 5 x 1 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

Stair, Horta Museum. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

Claire Lavendhomme, untitled, 2019. Two-sided pendant and brooches. Resin, transfer, tombak, silver, acrylic. Varying sizes. Photos: Joris Luyten.

This installation is inspired by Japanese gardens and the painting by Gustav Klimt The Three Ages of Woman. In three parts, it presents the following: a roller coaster that evokes youth, speed and loss of control, guided by rails that have been carefully MANufactured; the first cocoon, referring to the metamorphosis into maturity, the uterus, this golden cage in which a WOMAN represses the impending crisis, representing latency; the second cocoon, that of old age when all hope is lost, unless she can cling to a former existence. All three have one thing in common: holding on. On the plinth, the geometrical motifs in straw marquetry announce the arrival of Art Deco and the crushed freedom of women. A tribute to all those who were treated like objects, all those who were considered mad, hysterical or nymphomaniac, if they dared to live their lives.

Delphine Joly, ChrysthĂŠrie, 2019. Brass, copper, glass, straw marquetry. 40 x 20 x 60 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

Glass roof, Horta Museum. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

The light well above the staircase of the architect’s house has a dream-like quality that gives the impression we can actually see the light falling from it. To illustrate this sensation, Jeounghee Kim has created a glass and mother-of-pearl sculpture which radiates light all around it.

Jeounghee Kim, [E]au-delà n° 17, 2019. Overlaid ultra clear glass and mother-of-pearl. 42 x 36 x 6,5 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

The light well in the Maison Horta acts like an architectural spinal column from which extend horizontal metal ribs, underlined by the organic whiplash design of the staircase. Isabelle Grevisse has interpreted this in the form of a column of paper encased in glass, containing the same metal supports entwined with clematis leaves in autumn colours.

Isabelle Grevisse, Le jardin de Monsieur Horta, 2019. Glass, metal, tracing paper, plant material. Mixed techniques. 45 x Ă˜ 10 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

Monique Voz has embraced the universe of Victor Horta by encasing her jewel in strands of metal which echo the structure of the glass roof. The peculiar “connected egg� has an iceblue heart containing a couple embracing for the last time.

Monique Voz, Couple dans le paradis blanc, 2019. Porcelain, brass, electronic components, gold, glass, scale models of human figures. 30 x 20 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

While others were inspired by the aesthetics or artistic process of Victor Horta, Diederick Van Hövell was more interested in soaking up the atmosphere of an era, still palpable in the Master’s house. He imagined men smoking cigars in the music room, their bow ties removed and lying on the table. Black. He dreamed of gardens, watching how the wisteria grows, with its veloured grapes of seed pods. Finally, he rested in Simone’s winter garden, gazing through the glasshouse bathed in cool light. Green.

Diederick van Hövell, Broche austère de fumoir, 2019. Waxed brass, matt plastic, steel, tobacco. 8 x 8 x 2 cm. / La broche de Simone, 2019. Waxed brass, chlorophillized plastic, steel. 7 x 4 x 1 cm. / Une broche volubile, 2019. Waxed brass, wisteria pods, steel. 10 x 8 x 1 cm. Photos: Joris Luyten.

Kitchen, Horta Museum. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

The pâte de verre sculptures of Francine Delmotte, like the everyday objects of yesteryear, have pride of place in the kitchen of the Maison Horta. This installation was inspired by the simple geometric design of the floor tiles. Francine Delmotte, untitled, 2019. Bowls. White pâte de verre, blue resin squares. 80 x 50 x 8 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

From the kitchen of the Maison Horta, where fine food would have been carefully prepared, Romina Remmo chose one item: the rolling pin. Trained in drawing and painting, she created a 40-centimetre-wide pattern, that is repeated over and over. Using a 3D pen as a nod to the avant-gardist tendencies of Victor Horta, she generated lace, her favoured medium. Like in Horta’s world, for her everything is symbolic, everything is created intentionally. The length of lace is therefore her exact height: 155 centimetres. The coppery tones found in wood marquetry, reminiscent of caramel and wrought iron, make the work look good enough to eat, like a sumptuous sweetmeat.

Romina Remmo, Horta et moi, dentelle confidentielle, 2019. Marble, wood, plastic lace produced with a 3D pen. 155 x 48 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

The radiator-food warmer in the kitchen attracted Coryse Kiriluk’s eye. Poetically named “fleur de fonte” (floral cast-iron), this sturdy device is evocative of the olden days, that golden age straddling two centuries with its dinners and parties, that this faithful and discreet artefact would have witnessed. Imagine falling asleep wrapped in the warmth of this protective stove. Why not slip a hot-water bottle into its belly, take its fire before sliding it under the bed-time sheets? A bottle made of earth, fire, water and air, which stokes our dreams and fires our imagination.

Coryse Kiriluk, Bouillote, 2019. Modelled stoneware, porcelain paper clay, oxide wash, enamel. Fired in electric kiln at 1250°C. 27 x 16 x 14 cm. Photo in situ, kitchen radiator, Horta Museum: Arthur Ancion.

The kitchen ceiling, because it diffuses the light and creates interesting shadows; and also the mirror, because it offers the intriguing idea of two-sidedness, are the sources of inspiration for this work. How to obtain a curve from a straight line using a technique, a skill and material? To meet this challenge, Mathilde D’hooge devised a special stitch which makes the surface curve on its own. By using a single colour, the play on light and shadow is accentuated, producing an infinity of other curves.

Mathilde D’hooge, White H and Blue H, 2019. 240 x 190 x 5 cm and 120 x 60 x 5 cm. Wall-hangings. Wool and cotton. Photo: Joris Luyten.

While Art Nouveau lends itself to many interpretations, Valérie Ceulemans chose to create one of the most everyday objects possible, a door stop. Apart from its purely functional purpose, a door stop allows thoughts and minds to mingle from the cellar to the attic, thus representing Horta’s open-mindedness, his life and visionary work. There are three versions of her door stop, representing the early days, the pinnacle and the end of Victor Horta’s career. To allow free spirits to move freely, from dawn to dusk, after reaching a zenith.

Valérie Ceulemans, Cale-porte ou comment laisser circuler les esprits libres, 2019. English porcelain, coloured English porcelain, feldspath, enamel, gold. 60 x 25 x 36 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

A trained architect, Maria Fernanda Guzman had studied the work of Victor Horta back in Argentina. Ten years later, now a socially and politically committed artist, she visited this emblematic house. While the Maison Horta is a showcase of technical prowess and is visionary in its design, it also illustrates the strong divide between social classes at that time, by the design of its staircases and passageways ensuring that domestics and guests of the house never met. An antagonizing bourgeois society that she herself had shunned some years before. This night-light is a black octopus, contrasting with Victor Horta’s art which she had nevertheless always found joyful and golden. The object has a social rather than an aesthetic purpose: it is designed to aid those who worked in the background (the “small hands” in French) and give them hope, whilst paying tribute to Horta, an enlightening intellectual whose “many arms” reached into so many domains.

Maria Fernanda Guzman, Pulpo, 2019. Night-light. Silk paper, carbon paper, brass, braided cable. 36 x Ø 18 cm. Photo: Joris Luyten.

Main staircase of the Maison du Peuple, vestige, Horta Museum. Photo: Arthur Ancion.

The ornament enhances the shape. The way Horta perceived the role of structure and aesthetics in architecture underlies the series presented by Frédérique Coomans. Illustrated by the façade and main staircase of the Maison du Peuple designed by Horta, whilst vegetal in appearance, what prevails is its geometric shape. The metal used by the artist starts out as a thin, flexible strip. By simply working the material, it hardens, generating curves. The structure enhances the shape, and the shape enhances the structure.

Frédérique Coomans, Ornare. "L’ornement sert la forme", 2019. Vegetal disk, organic disk: cups or decorative objects. Cut alpaca. Coppersmithery. Ø 12 x 1 and Ø 13 x 1 cm. / Brooch. Cut copper, steel pin. Coppersmithery. 14 x 6,5 x 1 cm. Photos: Joris Luyten.


L’ invitation de Victor H.

At BeCraft Gallery 10.11.2019 → 15.03.2020

At Horta Museum 15.01.2021 → 18.04.2021

This project in cooperation with the Horta Museum follows on from an initiative started by BeCraft in 2015. For the third time, the non-profit association has worked with a major museum on a project based on the following concept: The artists belonging to the association take their inspiration from the collections of a museum to create some original contemporar y work. The main goals are to encourage the sharing of knowledge in the field of Art and Design and to raise general awareness of current creative crafts and their artistic and social impact. The first establishment to engage in this concept was the Photography Museum in Charleroi, and the experience was repeated in 2017 with La Piscine in Roubaix.

The scenography of the exhibition reflects some of the devices used in the architect’s work. Mirror effects, trompe-l’oeil, multiplication... Victor Horta plays with the interior space and interacts with its users. The exhibition invites visitors to let themselves be guided by the perspectives of his imagination. Photos: Joris Luyten

LOrka, Pour s’isoler de la Ville, pour revenir au rêve, 2019. 500 € Myriam A. Goulet, Horta - Combini architecture series, 2019. 750 € Aurore de Heusch, Margaux, Zarah et Hugo - Qui es-tu? collection, 2019. 345 € / p. Marta Dobrynina, Fleur, 2019. 300 € Bettina Philippo, Femme-fleur, 2019. NFS Isabelle Carpentier, Brique, 2019. Necklace: 470 €. Brooch: 350 € Marie-Agnès Marlair, untitled, 2019. Installation: 450 € Chantal Delporte, Confrontation ?, 2019. NFS Isabelle Azaïs, Nœud de table, 2019. 850 € Hélène de Gottal, untitled, 2019. NFS Anne-Marie Trignon, Oscillations, 2019. NFS Anne-Sophie Muller, Circle wood, 2019. 1000 € Fabienne Withofs, untitled, 2019. Duos: 130 € > 350 € CAÈS, Cohorta 784, 2019. NFS Clémentine Correzzola, Ogives, 2019. 880 € Dolorès Gossye, Le Fleuve Jaune, 2019. NFS Brigitte Arbelot, Hortus, 2019. 360 € Sara Júdice de Menezes, Nuit blanche à Horta, 2019. 35 000 € Catherine Delbruyère, Paravent arbre and Paravent fleur, 2019. 500 € / p. Lou Sautreau, Le boudoir, 2019. 3200 € Thérèse Lebrun, Impétuosité, 2019. Price on demand Chloé Noyon, Pina and Héri, 2019. Earrings: 10 € / p. Ring: 500 € Hélène Rivière, Jardin d’hiver, 2019. 300 € > 1000 € Isabelle Francis, SiMoNe Hors-série, 2019. Table: 1600 € / stool: 900 € / issue: 35 € / gloves: 50 € Dominique Thomas, untitled, 2019. Earring: 420 €. Brooch: 650 € Claire Lavendhomme, untitled, 2019. Two-sided pendant: 360 €. Brooches: 120 € > 360 € Delphine Joly, Chrysthérie, 2019. 3800 € Jeounghee Kim, [E]au-delà n° 17, 2019. 1470 € Isabelle Grevisse, Le jardin de Monsieur Horta, 2019. NFS Monique Voz, Couple dans le paradis blanc, 2019. 1500 € Diederick van Hövell, Broche austère de fumoir, La broche de Simone, Une broche volubile, 2019. 320 € Francine Delmotte, untitled, 2019. Installation: 500 € Romina Remmo, Horta et moi, dentelle confidentielle, 2019. 1500 € Coryse Kiriluk, Bouillote, 2019. 600 € Mathilde D’hooge, White H and Blue H, 2019. 15 000 € and 2500 € Valérie Ceulemans, Cale-porte ou comment laisser circuler les esprits libres, 2019. 1250 € Maria Fernanda Guzman, Pulpo, 2019. 180 € Frédérique Coomans, Ornare. "L’ornement sert la forme", 2019. NFS

More information: BeCraft Gallery - info@becraft.org - +32 (0)65 84 64 67

Translated from french by Jackie Eales - JET Traductions - www.jet-traductions.com

Catalogue produced as part of a fundraising initiative supported by the Fondation Roi Baudouin; BeCraft thanks the Foundation and its patrons for their support.

Avec le soutien de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles

BeCraft Les Anciens Abattoirs 17/02, rue de la Trouille 7000 Mons (Belgique) +32 65 84 64 67 www.becraft.org |  | |