Antwerp (Belgium), 26 March 2010 • Nedda, recipient of the Flanders Cultural Award for Design in 2009 and designer of the interior of the Belgian Antarctic research station Princess Elisabeth, and avant-garde artist Dr. Hugo Heyrman are the first artists to reinterpret the Bollart. This sitting object, created by Patrick Villas, honours the stylistic beauty of the Antwerp mooring post. The Bollart has been selected for the Belgian Pavilion at the Shanghai World Exhibition, which will welcome some 5000 visitors per hour from May to October 2010.
Belgian designer-artist Patrick Villas ‘rediscovered’ the mooring post of one of Europe’s largest ports. The name Bollart – ‘bollard’ in French and English – refers to the addition of an extra dimension to the original design. After three years of research, numerous applications have become possible. The original Antwerp mooring post, now recreated in a manageable material, is not only an icon of understanding but also a multifunctional testimonial: the primary resting point, very basic, without any extras; namely, a chair.
“Harbours are the gateways of society and mooring posts the symbol of hospitality. For centuries, countless citizens and visitors to Antwerp carved their messages into the ‘bolders’, as the mooring posts are called in Flemish. They are the graffiti of personal revelations. The Antwerp Bollart stands not for narrow-mindedness, but for progress: mutual respect, freedom of speech and the colourful aspect of a multicultural society”, stated Patrick Villas.
This thought was the starting point for six well-known Belgian artists to apply their own artistic views to the Antwerp mooring post. It is their way of emphasizing the symbolic value of this landmark of hospitality on the banks of the river Scheldt. The first two Art Bollart editions have been created by Nedda and Dr. Hugo Heyrman. Four other art editions will be revealed soon.
Warmth-sensitivity and molecular interaction
With her version of the Antwerp Bollart, Nedda accentuates the authentic ‘tactile factor’ of the mooring post: “Each bollard carries a history of the joys of life. Who kissed whom on which bollard? Who awaited someone to return home safely? Who was listening to the buzz of an active society?” Nedda makes these marks visible again by putting warmth-sensitive paint on the monochrome Bollart. The paint makes the slightest touch visible through temperature change.
Entitled ‘The Memory of the Bollart’, the work of Dr. Hugo Heyrman targets the powerful appearance of the Bollart in colour, form and meaning from the perspective of the painter: “Optically, the crude granules create the effect of a high-tech pointillist painting. It is a pictoral enlargement of molecular interactions. The history of matter, revealed by the matter itself.”
An installation of the diverse artistic expressions of the Antwerp Bollart will be shown in the Belgian-European Pavillion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010. The world exhibitition opens 1 May, 2010. It is expected that some 70 million people will visit the Expo 2010.
When the Expo 2010 is over, the Bollart installation will be part of the permanent collection of the brand new Museum of Belgium and the European Union in China.
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Nedda El-Asmar studied jewellery design and silversmithing at the Royal Academy for Fine Arts in Antwerp, and completed her education at the Royal College of Art in London. She works for such renowned names as Hermès, Puiforcat, Royal Boch, Eternum, Villeroy & Boch, Gense, Obumex, Carl Mertens, and Robbe & Berking. Her designs have earned numerous awards and prizes. In 1997, she won the Henry van de Velde Award for young talent. Nedda was proclaimed Belgian Designer of 2007, and last year she was nominated for the second time for the 'Talents du Luxe’. In 2009, she received the prestigious Flemish Cultural Award for Design. She has taught at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp since 2007.
Dr. Hugo Heyrman is a painter, film maker, internet pioneer and doctor of art history. In the sixties, he emerged as an avant-garde artist in happenings, actions and conceptual art. From 1973 onwards, he dedicated himself to the art of painting and won the Prize for Young Belgian Painting Art 1974. Dr. Hugo Heyrman immediately made an impression with the cyle ‘The Cycle of Street Life’. He painted a street view in Antwerp at different times and in diverse weather conditions, all from the same point of view. Dr. Hugo Heyrman’s oeuvre makes a statement on the poetics of painting, on a perceptive way of thinking, and on questioning the truth of images. Thanks to his website www.doctorhugo.org, he became very famous in the alternative web world of young digital artists.