BUILDING SITE FOR UTOPIA

 

Djos Janssens, Emilio Lopez Menchero, Marc Rossignol, Eric Stenmans and Chris Straetling.

This is a project that has its origins in “Ensembles séparés” (“Together separated”) in 2003, a collective exhibition curated by Chris Straetling with the artists: Djos Janssens, Emilio Lopez Menchero, Marc Rossignol and Eric Stenmans.

This exhibition took place at the Antwerp art centre: “Factor 44″. After this first edition, we wanted to create an equivalent in Wallonie, in Liège to be precise. Eric and Marc were very close to this town, also Emilio’s agent was none other than Nadja Vilenne, whose gallery is located in this glowing city. We all combined our energies to put together this second edition but unfortunately Eric Stenmans left us in 2009. Today, in pay homage to him, we have now completed this second chapter “Chantier de l’utopie” (“Building site for Utopia”). It will open in September 2011 at “Les Brasseurs” art centre in Liège, where the heart of the exhibition will be Eric’s work, “Le Chantier de l’utopie”, which was our inspiration for the title of the exhibition.

The artists for the “Chantier de l’utopie” exhibition (September 2011) will be:

“Le chantier de l’utopie”: This piece became reality on the 26 September 1997. A second earthquake ravaged the centre of Italy and caused the collapse of the ceiling of the Saint-François basilica. The basilica, a jewel of the 13th century architecture and a key part of world artistic heritage, contains 28 frescoes by Giotto and a crucifixion by Cimabue. The central altar was crushed under the rubble and four people (two priests and two technicians) were killed as they inspected the damage caused the day before by an initial earthquake. The scene, filmed by RAI uno, was broadcast worldwide on the 28 November 1999. For many the reconstruction, under the title “chantier de l’utopie”, and its reopening this morning are seen as a miracle. Thousands of hours were necessary for the many volunteers and the dozens of restorers to re-assemble the over 300,000, often tiny, fragments, like the reconstitution of enormous puzzles. The cost of the works: 36,875,000 Euro. Paradoxically, two years after the earthquake, 10,000 local habitants whose homes were destroyed prepare for their third winter in temporary housing.

L’utopie : pays imaginaire où un gouvernement idéal règne sur un peuple heureux.

              2° Idéal, vue politique ou sociale qui ne tient pas compte de la réalité.

             Chimère, illusion, mirage, rêve, rêverie.

© photos  Germain Ozer  /   Pierre Charlier