Anouk De Clercq
Students at Ghent University have expressed the desire to have a statue erected in downtown Ghent. This initiative was immediately welcomed by the College of the Mayor and Aldermen. The redevelopment of the Sint-Pietersplein was an excellent opportunity to create a work of art. The patrons group was composed of students and municipal services representatives.
The Sint-Pietersplein underground car park was chosen to house the work of art, with reference to the historical library of Saint-Pierre Abbey and Henry Van de Velde's Book Tower, emblems of Ghent students. Thus, the "Monument for Students" is linked to knowledge and culture on the one hand, and to the history of the place on the other. The university library still holds the masterpieces of the former abbey library.
Anouk De Clercq was chosen to design the work of art.
In her work, Anouk De Clercq links video images with other arts. It is a question of finding the right balance between the two and breaking down the boundaries of each discipline. Thus, text, images, architecture and music are brought together in spatial installations.
The artwork is placed in the parking lot of the Sint-Pietersplein. Near the Notre-Dame of Saint-Pierre church, Saint-Pierre Abbey and the Book Tower, Anouk De Clercq represented an abstract library on a large white wall. This evocation follows the model of the rectangles of the concrete stones in the wall.
In addition to a visual component, the experience of the work of art is enriched by a sound creation. A sound is triggered as soon as the spectator reaches the wall. On each floor of the stairs, a different sound is heard. For the sound work, the artist refers to a scene from the film "Himmel über Berlin" in which a whisper can be heard that reflects people's thoughts and the books in the library.
At the beginning of August 2011, Anouk De Clercq and several companies and partners (Amplus, Anton Aeki, Arteconstructo, Auguste Orts, Erwin De Muer and Magma) began to produce the work. After a long period of experimentation, the final paint shades were chosen. On the basis of a detailed diagram, each book back was painted in precise shades of grey.
On Monday, September 19, 2011, the site was officially inaugurated in the presence of the mayor and aldermen, patrons and residents. The mural was given the title of "Monument".
The work of art was created as part of the objectives of the Interreg IVa Shaping 24 project. This European project aims to connect 24 iconic heritage sites in the cities of Norwich and Ghent. The objective of the project is to develop, promote and support this network.
The two cities each have 12 monuments that have left their mark on the city. The 12 monuments selected for Ghent are the buildings of Lange Violettestraat and Sint-Amandsberg (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Abbey St Bavon, Abbey St Pierre, Cathedral St Bavon, Church St Nicolas, City Hall, the Belfry (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the 18th century Clemmen-Hôtel D'Hane-Steenhuyse Cluster, the Bijlokesite, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Castle of the Counts of Flanders.