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High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Art in the Chapel
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© Mirjam Devriendt
© Mirjam Devriendt © Mirjam Devriendt
The L-Spot
arts

Art in the Chapel

An old chapel lies abandoned in the heart of Ghent’s Patershol quarter. The Drongenhofkapel is all that remains of a Norbertine monastery. Empty for many years, the chapel was recently taken over by the Flemish sculptor Berlinde De Bruyckere as an art gallery.

De Bruyckere, who works in Ghent, came up with the idea after she was approached by a client who had bought one of her works. He wanted the work, Honte, 2018-2019, to be displayed in a public space. De Bruyckere proposed the late-gothic chapel. The city agreed to let her use the chapel for a three-year project that would involve art exhibitions, readings and performances.

The interior has been stripped of every statue, every light bulb. The walls are bare brick with patches of plaster. The floor is earth. The vaulted wooden roof has gaps where the light shines through. It is a dark, primitive space that feels like an ancient ruin.

The only modern element is a stained glass window created in 2000 by the artist Wim Delvoye for the art exhibition Over the Edges. Titled Trans Parity, the window incorporates small x-ray images of couples having sex.

De Bruyckere’s work sits in the middle of this pure architectural space. It resembles a stone altar with a dead animal lying on it. This austere artwork has become the focal point for a dance performance and several concerts. The abandoned chapel has become a space where almost anything can happen.

website Drongenhofkapel

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