Design team: Wesley Meuris
Collaborator: Technical advise: RE-ST, Architectuur/Research, Antwerp, Belgium
Construction: Cravero Construction, Sint Denijs Westrem, Belgium
Photography: Kristof Vrancken
Location: Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium
Belgian artist Wesley Meuris made a new monumental work for the project pit, art in the public space of Borgloon in Belgium. This is a project of Z33, the house for contemporary art based in Hasselt, Belgium.
Memento is a sculpture at the Central Burial of Borgloon. The artwork of Wesley Meuris (BE) is an anchor point in the sloping landscape and invites visitors to step in. The architectural structure of the work provides a special experience of looking and dwelling. The steel built space can be interpreted in many ways by the visitor and challenges the imagination. Whoever is in the room, experiences the intimacy. This reflects the memory of its surroundings.
“The pure, white steel round shape contrasts with the linear patterns of the burial ground. The work’s measurements (5m high and 10m wide) make it a clearly visible beacon in the sloping landscape. Because Meuris has embedded his work at the rear of the central axis of the terrain, the work does not impose itself.
Visitors to the burial site are invited to move towards it. Two subtle openings turning away from the axis allow one to step into the work. At the same time open and closed, the monument is experienced as a space for seclusion, rumination and reflection. A variety of elements enforce the invitation to leave the real world behind. The cylinder shape creates disorienting acoustics.
Inside the work, it is quite impossible to make out the sounds penetrating from the outside. Meuris has furnished the inside of the work with a visual pattern of hovering steel lamellae, which come loose from the base wall. Fashioned in high glossy material, these small discs contrast with the flat white base wall, generating an interesting play of shadows and reflection.
In terms of shape, the lamellae refer to name plates as a metaphor for the numerous deceased individuals. Because Meuris leaves them blank, one is drawn in mostly by the repetitive structure that fails to provide a (focal) anchor point. Thus, the horizontal path, as one moves towards the monument, takes a vertical flight upwards the moment one enters the monument – the repetitive structure of the cassettes leads the gaze upwards, where there is no ceiling as such to speak of, only sky, a contemporary-style vaulted ceiling, spanning the great divide between what is here and there, the finite and the infinite. As such, the work provides an answer to the commissioners’ initial question to create a space for peace and rumination, not bound to any religious denomination.” – text De Nieuwe Opdrachtgevers