As part of the City of Brussels PARCOURS Street Art and the Detours Festival – International Urban Art Festival – the Brussels artist Obêtre created in September 2018 a monumental work at the entrance to CENTRALE for contemporary art.
Obêtre, a graduate of art in public spaces from La Cambre and winner of the ISELP in situ creation grant, has already created several installations in Brussels (La Fonderie, ISELP and Wiels) and abroad.
After discovering graffiti in the mid-1990s, he gradually added collage, stencils and stickers to his practices. As well as contemplating the work, it is also essential to consider its location, as Obêtre is moving towards contextual art. After signing his name, like ATLAS who created the gigantic fresco leading to CENTRALE in 2013 (see below), Obêtre used a range of materials (wood, ceramic squares, sheets of newspaper, advertising posters, etc.) to create extremely dynamic and intense bas-reliefs.
While training at La Cambre, he was involved in creating the Transgressif collective together with seven graffiti and other artists. Their goal was to break the rules of graffiti: no more taboos, unlimited techniques and freedom of form. The questioning of graffiti and its norms gradually began to involve the participation of citizens. Obêtre completed his sociology studies in Brussels and combined the two approaches.
He sees himself first and foremost as an urban artist, i.e. a citizen who creates “graffitecture”, installations that are linked to and resonate with a particular place. He was inspired by the diversity and architectural dynamism of the city. It was as a result of this that CENTRALE invited him to take on, or rather take over, the monumental and eclectic area around the art centre. His installation will be located on the railings of the 17th century Baroque-style Saint Catherine tower, the last remains of the church of the same name that predated the current church, which was built in an eclectic style by Joseph Poelaert in the 19th century.
This installation, made of untreated wood and painted, is a way for Obêtre to offer a fresh look at this heterogeneous urban complex by creating a visual dynamic towards the entrance to the art centre of the City of Brussels.
As was the case with Isaac Cordal in 2017 and Oak Oak in 2016 and 2017, there are three other installations in the district, creating an “Obêtre” promenade.
PARCOURS Street Art is an initiative of the Culture Department of the City of Brussels.
• Adrien Grimmeau, Dehors, CFC Editions, Bruxelles, 2011
• Sebastien Maradon, Cours Modeste, 2014. http://www.detoursfestival.be/artistes/obetre/
LE GRAND BANKET by FRANCOISE SCHEIN
10 tables for the 10th anniversary of CENTRALE
10 tables, permanent installation (2016)
On Place Sainte-Catherine opposite the black tower, between CENTRALE and CENTRALE.lab.
A participatory work
For many years, the Belgian artist Françoise Schein, a trained architect and town planner, has developed projects all over the world that make citizens central to the creative process. With these participatory works, she invites us to reconsider the very notion of community. Organised to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the CENTRALE for contemporary art, Le Grand BanKet continues this quest to integrate art into society.
The starting point for Le Grand BanKet is the meal, food and sharing provisions. The shared meal makes us see the essential value of community, a value that individualist consumerism has driven us to forget. This concept is the extension of the artist’s work, which has focused on fundamental rights and the issues of cultural and geographical borders for more than thirty years.
Nearly 120 participants therefore became the creators of a work comprised of ten ceramic tables. The group creative work took place through some ten workshops conducted with residents and those using the CENTRALE’s neighbourhood. With the involvement of two philosophers, the group embarked on a brainstorming session based on the question “what do we do when we eat together?” Françoise Schein then proposed that the participants paint their perfect plate, what they like to eat and describe the thoughts about this idea of “eating together” focused on this meal. Individualities were expressed: fish, vegetables, mussels and cakes made up unique and sometimes surrealist creations. Arranged around an intestine drawn by the artist, these plates create a dialogue in a composition that is both unified and disparate, like the participants. Le Grand BanKet, a metaphor for urban digestion, enabled neighbours of all ages and cultures to meet and talk, think and create through convivial artistic moments.
Le Grand BanKet
Such a participatory project, based on meeting and freedom of expression could only end in a blaze of glory with a festive event: a banquet! Designed as a work, orchestrated by the Brussels art group OKUP (“gathering” in Serbo-Croat), this feast brought together participants, residents and users of the neighbourhood, organisers and passers-by around the ten tables.
A lasting project for all
After the feast featuring the traditional “mussels and chips”, a nod to Marcel Broodthaers, the project really made sense with the table-works made available in the public space on Place Sainte-Catherine opposite the black tower, between CENTRALE and CENTRALE.lab.
Françoise Schein was born in Brussels where she studied Architecture at La Cambre. She then completed a master’s in “Urban Design & Architecture” in New York. She currently lives between France, Belgium and Brazil. She has been a professor at the Ecole Supérieure d’Arts et Médias in Caen since 2004. At the same time, she develops artistic work focusing on fundamental rights, the human rights declaration, geographic borders and city mapping. After creating metro stations in many cities (Paris, Lisbon, Stockholm, Brussels, etc.), she introduced participatory workshops in France, Brazil and Palestine resulting in works installed in the public space. In Brussels, in the Parvis de Saint-Gilles metro station, she created a work in 1992 entitled Dyades on the theme of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Radiocreation on the participatory work Le Grand BranKet (in French)
On the initiative of Karine Lalieux, Alderwoman of Culture of the City of Brussels, two urban artists with international reputation occupy the walls of CENTRALE for contemporary art with permanent artistic creations.
With these artistic projetcs, CENTRALE endorses the success of contemporary art form street art and also wants to give to this art form the widest possible audience. These projects also offer CENTRALE a window on the district and on the city of Brussels.
Permanent installation (September 2013)
The first work of the artist L’ATLAS (France 1978) covers the outer wall (15 x 5 m) of the CENTRALE. It is a transcription of the name of the artist in a very specific form for him. This realization, made especially for the CENTRALE, draws its inspiration, typical of this artist, from the ancestral Arabic calligraphy, and in this way lays a link to the Brussels cultural diversity.
Permanent installation (September 2013)
The second artist Jef AÉROSOL (France 1957) brings a work with a figurative character. The red arrow, the artist’s signature, draws a line under a staging (via template) of anonymous and familiar characters, such as Andy Warhol or Basquiat.
The two artists are represented in Brussels by Galerie Martine Ehmer, partner of this project.