de Nieuwe opdrachtgevers

les Nouveaux commanditaires

Koen Broucke – De Brug (The Bridge)

Patrons - City of Ghent Culture Participation service
Curator - Joost Declercq

Pakhuis Clemmen, Gent, Belgie, November 2011

The context

Following the renovation of the Pakhuis Clemmen on the Lys and the main building of the Arnold Vander Haeghen Hotel on the Veldstraat, two historic buildings housing the Culture Participation Service of the City of Ghent and the CIRCA (Ghent Cultural Center) the challenge was to create an artistic link between the two buildings.

The commission

The only place where that connection can be made visual, with an important visibility from the Veldstraat is the corridor and the courtyard. Koen Broucke notices the presence of different types of bridges in the wall paintings in the staircase of the Hotel Arnold Vander Haeghen; a stone bridge, a wooden bridge, a suspension bridge, .... From this point of view, the proposal is made to realize a reversed hanging bridge that runs from the Veldstraat to the Lys.

A bridge as a symbol for connection. A reverse bridge not to compete with the already limited place in the passage. Hanging: the choice is made for the Dyneema material, which is particularly strong, flexible and durable, and which also refers to the industrial significance of the textile in Ghent, and in particular at the Hotel Vander Haeghen. The hanging structure also refers to the models of the Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi and to the chandeliers present in the Hotels. Dyneema is knotted with simple traditional knotting techniques: round turn with two half hitches, eight knot, stopper knot and bowline. The bridge has a fixed structure that is suspended from a double track of cables. These cables are tightly connected by a system of pulleys and counterweights such as the electric overhead lines of tram and railways. In this, a series of objects largely coming from the remains of the depots of the municipal museums of Ghent are knit in an intuitive way. The bridge is lit from the inside by a parallel system of suspended light, creating the overall impression of a chandelier.

De Brug was built with rejected collection pieces from the MIAT (Museum over Industry, Labour and Textile), referring to the rich industrial past of the city of Ghent and the Clemmen warehouse.

The artwork thus gives a new layer of meaning to the rich historical patrimony and is a meaningful allegory for the invisible but real bond, which from now on connects the two beautiful 18th century complexes on the commercial axis of the Veldstraat.

Koen Broucke

Koen Broucke is a visual artist who lives and works in Boechout, near Antwerp. He expresses himself through drawings, paintings, videos, books and installations. His diploma of licentiate in history betrays a strong interest in texts and research. In the mid-1990s, the series 'Menskunde', in which he gave an anthropological and psychological approach to the human portrait, found its way to various art institutions and collections. From 1997 he started writing biographies of fictional artists.