Marc Pairon and Piet Stockmans unveil their versions of the Antwerp mooring post for the Shanghai World Expo 2010

Antwerp, 15 April 2010 • The Bollart, created by the Belgian sculptor and designer Patrick Villas, honours the stylistic beauty of the Antwerp mooring post. This sitting, which suggests a moment of reflection, has been reinterpreted by ceramic artist Piet Stockmans and best-selling author Marc Pairon. Together with those of Belgian designer Nedda and avant-garde artist Dr. Hugo Heyrman, Pairon’s and Stockmans’ Art Bollarts have been selected for the Belgian-European Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Two more Art Bollarts for the World Expo will be presented at the end of April.

Four years ago, Patrick Villas 'rediscovered' the mooring post of Antwerp, 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.

“The media pay a lot of attention to negative trends in society, and far less to positive aspects. With fellow artists, we want to use the Bollarts and the special editions to emphasize the genuine symbol of Antwerp's hospitality. Harbours are the gateways of society, and mooring posts the symbol of hospitality The image of the mooring post symbolizes the anchoring, and the coming and going – within decent standards – across all frontiers.” According to the artists, "the Bollart also embodies the statement that anyone who is part of a society, even though it is only temporary, must bear the soul of that society in the heart. A city is not just the sum of some bricks and concrete."

This thought was the starting point for six well-known Belgian artists to apply their own artistic visions to the Antwerp mooring post. The Art Bollarts of Nedda and Dr. Hugo Heyrman were presented earlier this month. The two other Art Bollarts selected for the Belgian-European Pavillion at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai will be presented in two weeks.


Flemish best-selling author Marc Pairon has put quotes from Albert Einstein, Erasmus, Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso, Oscar Wilde and himself on his Languagebollart*, and placed them in a completely different context. He added visually attractive translations (in Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese and Chinese) referring to the multi-cultural character of Antwerp and to the ‘warm welcome’ for visitors. He wrapped the mooring rope made with these quotes around his Bollart, as if it were Ariadne’s wire: the grip to escape from the labyrinth of isolation.

Marc Pairon stated: “Language is - in its specific form or dialect - the bollard of one’s homeport. The meaningful elements of language already exist long in in advance. Anyone can reorder these words and signs as he wants. Therefore, I do not need to reinvent what has already been clearly said or written. For this reason, I used 'found quotations' of cultural and moral sages, and added one sentence, to make them tell a new story.”

Blue Bollart

As a thoroughly experienced ceramicist, Piet Stockmans is able to express feelings and rhythm in material which is by nature quite cold and static. All of Stockmans’ Art Bollarts are hand-painted by the artist and have received a personal touch, as if they were calligraphic diaries. The typical ‘Stockmans-blue’ is here symbolic of the tangible aspect of the mind; faithful to each individual, each city resident.

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. The Bollart installation will be part of the permanent collection of the brand new Museum of Belgium and the European Union in China when the Expo 2010 is over.

* Graphic design: Joëlle Palmaerts - Ad altera


Marc Pairon (Wilrijk, Belgium; b.1959) left school at the age of 15 because of family circumstances and roamed around Europe for the rest of his teenage years. When he was occasionally back in Belgium, he earned his living with stencilled texts and poems in Antwerp cafés. His original style caught the attention of the ‘Pink Poets’. Pairon’s debut volume of poetry was published in 1981. In spite of garnering many favourable reviews, Pairon stopped writing very soon after that and started to use his creative talent in the business sector. In addition, he became an expert on Belgian Art Deco ceramics. In 2006, he published the trilingual reference work ` Art Deco Ceramics - Made in Belgium'. Marc Pairon made a remarkable literary comeback in early 2009. He broke one sales record after another with his poetry books and became the `most read poet of Flanders and the Low Countries’. More than 50,000 copies of his books published in 2009 were sold in one year's time. `TOP 50 Most Intimate Love Poems!’ even reached 42nd place in the Top 100 Books of 2009 in Belgium.

Piet Stockmans (Leopoldsburg, Belgium; b.1940), cultural ambassador of Flanders, is one of the most the most versatile European ceramic artists of his generation in the fields of both industrial applications and art editions. Stockmans' work can be found in the permanent collections of renowned design museums worldwide, and the list of international acclaim is still growing.

From 1966 to 1989, Stockmans worked as a designer at the porcelain manufacturer Koninklijke Mosa B.V. in Maastricht (The Netherlands). He taught Industrial Design in the Department of Product Design at The Catholic College of Limburg (Belgium) from 1969 to 1998, and Ceramic Design at the Academy for Industrial Design at Eindhoven (The Netherlands) from1983 to 1985. Since 1989, Stockmans has worked as an independent designer, examining the characteristics of different materials.