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Discover Benelux & France | Culture Trip | Bruges Triennial

Nathan Coley: A Place Beyond Belief.

A neon quote inspired by Taoism which is part of Song Dong’s installation.

spirit, Dewaele is exhibiting a video installation at the train station showing interviews he conducted asking foreigners living in Bruges what they are missing the most about their homeland. Continuing in the theme of immigration, Norwegian architect and artist Vibeke Jensen created a 1:1 Connect: DiamondScope between the belfry and the marketplace. The octagonal structure made from massive one-way glass mirrors is designed to welcome one resident and one visitor. From this intimate space they can observe the people without being seen from the outside. 1:1 Connect is a fascinating and metaphoric work about how a city like Bruges, with its rich history, can combine two facets of the same heritage. On the square near one of Bruges’ main attractions, the ancient Sint-Salvator Cathedral, is another installation. It is created by Chinese contemporary artist Song Dong who made a structure from repurposed house windows from China.

Song Dong’s Wu Wei Er Wei installation made of windows from houses in China.

His work named WU WEI ER WEI (Doing Nothing Doing), is inspired by the Taoist concept of doing by not doing; going with the flow of things. The installation is based on the art of bonsai and man’s endeavour to dominate and control nature. It addresses the paradox of progress leading to environmental damage. As for Austrian born artist Rainer Ganahl, the message is first and foremost economical. The art piece directly links to Bruges as a city – if only because it was created using 500 kilograms of the purest and most expensive Belgian chocolate. With it, Ganahl reflects on capitalism and the unfairness of trade. The sculpture, which was assembled by a real chocolatier, represents the Huis Ter Beurze, one of the first stock exchanges in the world that was based in Bruges, with the words ‘Uber Capitalism’ rotating above it. In the end, what strikes me most about the Bruges Triennial is how well the art pieces have integrated in a city protected and frozen in time. Both locals and

tourists are interacting with the installations with great pleasure. Before I left, I did however visit the Groeninge Museum to contemplate the paintings of Van Eyck, which, in their own way, complete the art fest that Bruges is offering us this summer. On the train home, it was the harmony of the ensemble that stayed with me. Bruges offered us a treat, a composition in its own, between the modern and the authentic.

Visit the Bruges Triennial The Triennial lasts until 18 October and is free. It includes 14 public, temporary outdoor installations in central Bruges and art exhibitions at three indoor locations, De Bond, the Town Hall and Arentshuis.

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