After the deconsecration of the Saint Margaret's Church in early 2020 in Wintam, the building was changed into a museum and multi-purpose room. The church remained however of great significance to the inhabitants of Wintam: they were baptised there, married there or said goodbye to a loved one. Some of them expressed the desire to make this meaning tangible through an art work. In consultation with the municipality of Bornem, a group of patrons was formed.
In the summer of 2020, under the leadership of the curator/mediator Louise Goegebeur, the group of patrons started the process of selecting an artist who could make the tower a beacon visible in the village and its surroundings.
After an intense search and dialogue, Elise Eeraerts was selected to realise the project. Elise is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Londerzeel. She makes monumental, abstract sculptures that reflect on the spatial context in which they are placed. In her work, she often looks for a link between nature and architectural constructions.
Elise Eeraerts’s design wants to make the new function and the rich history of the church visible, both inside and out. She replaces the four shutters in the church tower with stained glass windows, composed of specially coloured glass. While some pieces are translucent, others reflect all light, revealing a graphic drawing in each wind direction that refers to the identity and history of the church.
At night, a lamp in the tower lights up the windows, turning it into a beacon of light. This play of light and shapes creates an intangible connection with the immediate surroundings of the church, a link that is also translated into the interior.
For the interior, Elise designed a luminous glass sculpture in which she processed the coloured glass with material from the archaeological site in Nattenhaasdonck. This lamp is a contemporary element that is adding to the interior of the church by the artist herself. A new light that heralds the new story of the church.
The work was festively inaugurated on Saturday 9 October.
This project came about in cooperation with the Bornem municipality, the Vlaamse Landmaatschappij and the Flemish Community.
Elise Eeraerts has competed her studies at the Institute fur Raumexperimente, Klasse Olafur Eliasson, in Berlin and Luca school of arts in Brussels. She has exhibited in Antwerp (Extra City), Basel (Ausstellungsraum Klingental), Berlin (Neue Nationalgalerie), Rome (Villa Massimo), Japan (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo), Leuven (Museum M), Iceland (Reykjavik Art Museum), Berlin (Hamburger Bahnhof), Paris (Cité des Arts) and Mexico (ZonaMaco). She has been awarded grants from the Flemish Ministry of Culture. In 2016 she won the Arte Laguna Prize in the Land-Art Division in Venice, Italy. In 2017 she won the Meesterproef-prize from Team Government Architect Flanders. She was a resident at Thread in Senegal (Josef and Anni Albers Foundation), Casa de Velázquez in Madrid and Atelier Calder in France (Calder Foundation).
Elise Eeraerts is a multidisciplinary artist working with monumental, abstract sculptures concentrating on spatial interventions. In addition, she also creates works representing perceptions of reality through small objects of 2-D media and time-based media works.
Often her work is meant to be a conduit for interrelating human construction and nature. She explores material transformations that originate from the landscape, such as soil becoming a wall, or mud becoming a brick. The process of material manufacture in different time periods and cultures inspire her along with the social impact caused by their creation and process. When deploying and incorporating ancient practices in her work, she suggests a reflection about the nature of our own, current situation, society and lives. In essence, her work explores the past and future of tactile actions of creation and examines our gradual social alienation from ritualistic traditions, along with our idea of being in touch with nature.
Eeraerts’ work deals with perception and questions what we see around us. She uses her own visual language, adapted to specific histories, situations, and spatial contexts. Though often site-specific, and relating to architecture, the geometries that occur in her work, aim to establish a contrast to the standard of objects and spaces, questioning their supposed function.