Christine Conix: “The Art Bollart Symbolises the Hospitality and Prosperity of our City”
Antwerp (Belgium), 28 April 2010 – Six renowned Belgian artists have applied their own artistic visions to the stylistic beauty of the Antwerp mooring posts. Earlier this month, designer Nedda, avant-garde artist Dr. Hugo Heyrman, ceramic artist Piet Stockmans and best-selling author Marc Pairon presented their Art Bollart versions. The series is now completed with the Art Bollarts designed by architect Christine Conix and artist-designer Patrick Villas. The six Art Bollarts were selected for the Belgian EU Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The pavilion itself was also designed by Christine Conix.
The Antwerp mooring posts are a familiar sight to Christine Conix. From her office in the Cockerillkaai in Antwerp, the architect has a nice view of the quays of the port. Analogous to her design for the pavilion, her Art Bollart has the dimension of urban clusters: a set of cooperating elements---buildings and streets close together---which form the main part of the affinity between the city and its inhabitants. Conix’s Art Bollart refers to, among other things, the great diversity and density of cities. It welcomes all cultures and nationalities, and is specific to her own country's hospitality.
Christine Conix states: "The geometric patterns on my version of the Art Bollart consist of five modules and a special module which makes a symbolic connection between Belgium/Brussels and China/Shanghai. Moreover, the geometric patterns symbolise the windows from which the light of the spirit emerges from Antwerp's inhabitants". The architect, who also was responsible for the design of the Belgian EU Pavilion, adds: "I am extremely pleased that I am working on this project with artists from different disciplines, and that this art project was selected for the Expo in Shanghai. The six Art Bollarts will be placed as sitting and resting objects at the entrance to the Belgian EU Pavilion, where about 5000 people per hour will walk by."
Mooring post graffiti
Antwerp artist-designer Patrick Villas designed the sixth Art Bollart for the Expo in Shanghai. It was he who 'rediscovered' the Antwerp mooring posts four years ago: "I saw that over the centuries many bollards have been covered with various messages; graffiti expressing the pleasures and annoyances of Antwerp's citizens and people visiting the city on the Scheldt River. With my version of the Art Bollart, I am inviting the spectator to add a personal message. I have already put the first name tag and picture on the Bollart. "
He adds: "The Bollart is a chair of which the functional beauty is a homage to the stylistic beauty of the Antwerp mooring posts, the ultimate breviary icon of the social, economic and touristic welcome. The Bollart does not represent any bigotry, but stands for progress without any taboos: mutual respect, freedom of expression, and the colours of the multicultural society."
6 Artists, 6 Art Bollarts
The name Bollart refers to the addition of an extra dimension to the original design of the Antwerp bollard. Christine and Patrick Conix Villas are the last of six artists who have designed an art version of the Bollart. Over the past weeks, Bollarts by top designer Nedda, Dr. Hugo Heyrman, best-selling author Marc Pairon and Piet Stockmans have been unveiled. Nedda put a black temperature-sensitive coating on her version of the Art Bollart, thus giving the mooring post a different look after each touch. Avant-garde artist Dr. Hugo Heyrman's design plays with the idea of molecular interactions. Pairon presented the Languagebollart*, while ceramic artist Piet Stockmans made a striking blue Art Bollart.
The six Art Bollarts will be installed at the entrance to the Belgian EU Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010. The world exhibition 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.
Profits go to charity
The artists will donate the bulk of the profits from the sale of their Art Bollarts to charities such as "De Vaart" in Antwerp, a day-center which provides basic services to homeless people (locker usage, shower rooms and a washing machine).
Christine Conix (b.1955) got her Master's Degree at the College for Architectural Sciences “Henry van de Velde” in Antwerp in 1978. Shortly after, she started her own architectural office. Currently, Conix Architects, based in Antwerp and Brussels, is lead by Christine Conix and Sylvie Bruyninckx, who joined the company as partner in 2005. Their team of 40 people works on various projects: the renovation of the Silver Museum Sterckshof in Antwerp (2007-2015), the residential project Ocean's Four in Gdansk, Poland (2008-2011), the masterplan for the industrial site and the new headquarters of Umicore in Antwerp (2005-2009), and the renovation of the Atomium in Brussels (2004-2007). In 2009, Conix Architects was asked by the Belgian government to design the Belgian EU Pavilion for the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.
Patrick Villas (b.1961) is a Belgian artist-designer-composer with numerous international exhibitions and publicly commissioned works. His work is found in renowned art collections. In 1991, he established the association Art-Prom, which organised cultural events such as Open Atelier. In 1995, Antwerp Mayor Leona Detiège officially recognised his initiative. The art event Salon d'Artistes developed from the Open Atelier principle, attracting more than 40,000 visitors and 200 participating artists. During the Salon 1994, a conference was organised with speakers such as Hans Ulrich Obrist. Villas also organised the Digital @rt Labyrinth, an introduction to the (at that time) relatively unknown possibilies of multimedia, in collaboration with Dr. Hugo Heyrman and Silicon Graphics. Patrick Villas's designs include the Bollart, the ‘design trouvé’ of the Antwerp mooring post, various lighting elements, and furniture.
*Graphic design by Joelle Palmaerts
The complete Art Bollart Collection