For many years, the Boghossian Foundation has kept its goal to contribute as much as possible to the dialog between western and eastern cultures. That is why the Boghossian Foundation has set up its main office at the Villa Empain, a Brussels Art deco gem. After being totally renovated, this magnificent building has open its doors to the public in April 2010.
In its building, the Boghossian Foundation offers exhibitions, concerts, lectures, international meetings that bring together and confront many aspects of these different cultures.
The artistic creation has an essential role in these process. Art is taken here as a strength of dialog, a universal language that overcomes crackings, that goes through times, disciplines and borders.
From the XVIIIth century and during the Napoleon Bonapartes campaign in particular, Egypt fascinates searchers as well as art and antiquities lovers. The opening of the Suez canal in 1869, the development of the Orientalism and the trend of vast universal exhibitions generalize this enthusiasm for the Niles Valley and the richness of its history.
Source of influence and fascination, the image of Egypt has taken thousands of shapes in the West for more than two centuries, including architecture, ornamental arts, painting and sculpture, in literature and, more recently, in cinema and comics. The zoological gardens of Berlin, Hamburg or Antwerp with their Egyptian looking temple for giraffes and elephants witness among others of its influence.
Famous writers such as Gustave Flaubert, Theophile Gauthier, Gerard de Nerval, painters, photographs, compositors like Giuseppe Verde, Sarah Bernhardt in the character of Cleopatra (1880, theater piece of Victorien Sardou) haven’t escaped from this trend. In 1922, the spectacular discovery of the Tutankhamun revives the imaginary that will inspire the creators of the Art Deco.
Modernity takes possession of the mythical figure of Cleopatra with Liz Taylor, in the famous John Mankiewicz movie, and invites to the adventure with Herge and Edgar P. Jacobs, thanks to the boards of their well-known albums (Tintin and the cigars or the Pharaoh, Tintin and The Mystery of the great Pyramid). Later, this will be Asterix who will dare to go to the land of Pyramids and the land of the legendary queen
Fascinating mommies with detailed description of the Niles shores, from the Return from Egypt style to the decryption of hieroglyphs, from the pharaonic architectures to the Orientalist paintings, from the Empire to the Art Deco furniture, from jewels to fashion accessories, from opera to theater, from literature to comic strips, from the Heliopolis construction by Edouard Empain to the cruises on the Nile, one captivating universe is laid out through this exhibition and witnesses once again, of the deep links between eastern and western cultures.
The exhibition has been set up with the scientific advices of the Professor Eugène Warmembol of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, member of the mission held in Elkab (Upper Egypt) for the Royal Museum of Art and History, member of the mission managed by the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Gourna (left side of Luxor) and author of the book Le lotus et loignon. Egyptologie et Egyptomanie en Belgique au XIXème siècle (Ed. Le Livre Timperman, 2012).
The exhibition has been coordinated by Diane Hennebert, director of the Boghossian Foundation, and by Christophe Dosogne, artistic consultant at the Boghossian Foundation. A catalog, with a introduction by the Professor Eugène Warmembol, completes the exhibition.