The Boghossian Foundation – Villa Empain is exceptionally closed on Thursday 20 June. We thank you for your understanding and look forward to welcoming you from Friday 21 June, until 8 September for the visit of the exhibition Josef and Anni Albers.

Introduction

The Boghossian Foundation presents A call to travel, an invitation to walk, to contemplate and to interact with contemporary works of art. A few steps away from the Villa Empain, the installation of six monumental works in a small area of the Bois de la Cambre was conceived to propose a journey that invites the public, for one year, to discover the many ways in which artists reinvent the landscape.

The creation of a sculpture trail in the Bois de la Cambre is a project of the Boghossian Foundation. All the pieces presented were specifically designed, produced or acquired by the Boghossian Foundation for A call to travel. The project was carried out in collaboration with Urban.Brussels and the City of Brussels for a period of one year. The Boghossian Foundation thanks them for their support and commitment.

  1. Thierry Bontridder
  2. Samar Mogharbel (in restoration)
  3. Léopoldine Roux
  4. Ara Alekyan
  5. Jiana Kim
  6. Kaz Shirane

Thierry Bontridder

Thierry Bontridder (Brussels, 1956) is a Belgian sculptor and designer of contemporary jewellery. His work is marked by a predilection for movement and light. Like an engineer, he assembles the toughest materials, copper, titanium and steel, with astounding technical mastery.

Pli [Fold]#75 (2015) continues the series Plissements [Foldings] in a search for forms whose shape and structure can be apprehended from any angle.  This quest has pushed Bontridder to explore the possibilities of the spiral. Omnipresent in nature, spirals are found, at every scale, in the living and physical worlds, whether in snail shells, pine cones or the arrangement of certain galaxies. This monumental sculpture in heavy materials, solidly anchored to the ground of the Bois de la Cambre, seems to defy the laws of gravity. Like a spherical whirlwind, it re-transcribes the circular movement of the spiral, starting from its original point, then maintaining it and extending it into infinity. The abstract, harmonious and refined form of this monumental sculpture, on careful inspection, speaks of flight, upward movement and vitality.

Thierry Bontridder was awarded the Egide Rombaux Prize of the Belgian Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 2001 and was a winner of the Village of Hamburg Sculpture Competition in the United States.

Samar Mogharbel

In restoration.

Samar Mogharbel (Lebanon, 1958) is a Lebanese plastic artist who works mainly with clay. A large part of her work is directed towards transcribing the emotional memories of the war and the events which disturb her country. She works mainly with clay, for her a key material for understanding the world and life itself.

Art de Triomphe (2022) is inspired by a series  of ceramic miniatures depicting exhaust pipes bent beyond recognition. Initiated in 2020, a tragic year for Lebanon, it explores the theme of exhaustion with a double message. On the one hand, these distorted exhaust pipes represent the collapse of a system that processes and disposes of waste. On the other, they emphasize the fatigue and exhaustion of life in the wake of permanent crises, and point allegorically to the impossibility of working to heal the trauma in an environment prone to multiple crises. For this large-scale version, Mogharbel used a 3D printer to create a polystyrene sculpture inspired by a ceramic scale model.

Samar Mogharbel has received several awards for her work, including first prize at the 2006 Salon d’Automne at Beirut’s Sursock Museum. She has been teaching ceramics at the Lebanese American University in Beirut since 1983.

Léopoldine Roux

Léopoldine Roux (France, 1979), a graduate of the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Rennes, France and ENSAV La Cambre, has lived and worked in Brussels since 2003. In her work she explores the range of possibilities by which, through the use of unconventional media, colour becomes matter and eminently tactile, frees itself and gains autonomy.

Rainbow Seeds (2022) is an encounter between the immutable and its embodiment in what is solid, full, untouchable and heavy, and that which is blown and carried by breath, air, wind …. The painted stones are there from all eternity, beyond winds and seasons. In them, time has stopped.  Born of long-distant sedimentations, they exorcise the changes of matter, crying out to the sky and to the elements that life is a short passage in time. Having become rainbow seeds, they run down to the water, like an ultimate watchman, to whom is entrusted the impossible mirage. The work exudes strength, calm and unity. Stone becomes seed, inviting us to look at life through children’s eyes, as Matisse recommended. Everything is a question of scale and perspective. In our midst, a maze of solitary, monolithic, coloured stones form an enchanted refrain. We guess the idea. Whatever. Stone flirts with the oneiric and immaterial. A rainbow takes shape in our heads.

Léopoldine Roux’s work can be found in many public and private collections, including the Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles and the Banque Nationale du Luxembourg.

Ara Alekyan

Ara Alekyan (Armenia, 1959) is a sculptor whose practice was turned upside down by the earthquake that devastated his country in 1988. The emotional and visual shock he suffered that day prompted him to draw from the piles of metallic waste born from the destruction of his homeland the wherewithal to recreate.

Horse (2012) skilfully evokes the spirit and power of the animal through relevant mechanical details like large and small springs recalling the tension of an animal ready to embark on an endless race. The sculpture, although monumental, is all lightness and plays on transparency. The spectator’s eye drifts from one piece of metal to another, stopping on an empty interstice, in a composition the precision and finesse of which unfailingly recalls the mechanism of a clock. Each element has been carefully placed to transpose the character and mood of the animal models into the metal. Once a work is finished, the artist wraps it in paper and unveils it by setting it alight. Doing this he highlights fire as the central element and key to creation, enabling him to assemble disparate metal pieces into sculptures.

Ara Alekyan’s works have entered private collections, museums, public places and parks in Armenia, the United States, Italy, Russia and Belgium.

Jiana Kim

Jiana Kim (South Korea, 1972) earned a doctorate in crafts and design in Seoul before completing her artistic training in the United States. Captivated by the infinite possibilities of clay, she has made porcelain her preferred means of expression. Her technique lends itself to many variations in hybrid compositions, which play with texture in a language common to sculpture and painting.

Bridge (2022) is made of straight, thick corten steel panels that lean on and support each other.  The resulting shape recalls the Chinese ideogram for a human being 人. Placed above them are ceramic tiles, a combination of water, fire, air and earth, on which are represented elements borrowed from humanity (books, languages, everyday consumer goods, etc.). All these elements gathered in an impassable bridge tell a story, that of civilization. Bridge talks about the world, the past, the present and the future, about the great changes that humanity has to face. Unpassable in its present form, the bridge recalls an uncomfortable truth and evokes a difficult future, like an invitation to reinvent the future.

Jiana Kim took part in the Boghossian Foundation residency programme in 2019.

Kaz Shirane

Kaz Shirane (Japan, 1981), whose real name is Masakazu Shirane, is a Japanese artist. Trained in architecture, he began his career in various architectural offices in Tokyo, London, Shanghai, quickly specializing in the design and conception of three-dimensional decorations, using mirrors to play with light using mirrors. His creations, veritable life-size kaleidoscopes, invite visitors to immerse themselves in a visual setting.

Enso (2022), the sculpture that Kaz Shirane has created for A call to travel, is composed of three metal strips folded into triangles and twisted into a large circle. In heavy stainless steel with a mirror finish, the imposing structure creates a sense of transparency by reflecting the surrounding landscape of the Bois de la Cambre. Integrating with its environment, this sculpture evolves constantly from sunrise to sunset and with the passing of the seasons. This work is inspired by two oriental principles: the Zen symbol ensō and the concept of Yin and Yang. In Zen, the ensō is a circle drawn in a single stroke, with no starting or ending point. It is meant to represent infinity, while Yin and Yang complement each other to form a whole, beyond which a dynamic new world can be created. As the emergency of the Covid-19 pandemic loosens its grip on the world’s population, this artwork meets us us as a symbolic gateway to a new world and an invitation to move forward.

Kaz Shirane has exhibited his creations in the United States, China, Australia, Japan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.He has also won several interior design awards.