La penseuse tigresse
Belencontre is a neighbourhood of Tourcoing undergoing regeneration and is emblematic of the evolution of the rich industrial past of the city. On the former site of the Francs dying factory, two housing programmes are underway. A factory has been demolished and new environment standard flats are being built. The highrise blocks of Belencontre built in the 1960's are being demolished or renovated. The community centre in the neighbourhood has always been very active. The current director, Mr. Gérard Chaubiron, has been in office for 22 years and knows the commissioners very well. In 2009, a "Memory" group was formed with a writing work-shop and a book was written about the history of the neighbourhood. Following this experience, the same group commissioned a work that would preserve the identity of the place in spite of the changes - they wanted a work that would "evoke the history and future of the quarter in a convivial spirit and a work that would also function as a meeting place".
Emilio López-Menchero has suggested making a meeting place made up of different symbolic elements of the neighbourhood. The first is a dilapidated statue in a classic style by Georges Van der Straeten which used to be in the local park. The aim is to restore the sculpture which contrasting elements of colour and materials, in order that it serve its former function whilst taking on a more contemporary aspect. The second part of the project will be to make a large table in stone and a bowling pitch. On the table, on a historic photograph of the neighbourhood, the commissioners will write their own texts. The bowling pitch will be covered with a shed roof reminiscent of the roofs of the old factories.
Emilio López-Menchero is a Spanish artist living in Brussels. He studied architecture and urban design and is a multi-disciplinary artist. Humour and self-derision are common features of his work. He has realised several installations in the public space, both temporary and permanent. He has already been involved in urban interventions that are linked to the social history, notably in Brussels.