Different phases in the construction of ‘Travelling Border”

Stef Van Bellingen

catalog text

In a globalised world, the trafficking of goods and people keeps increasing over ever greater distances. In biology, the concept of exotic species refers to entities that have established themselves outside their natural or original habitat. Most of these exotic species do nnot cause problems, sometimes simply because they cannot adapt to our climate.Others have managed to establish themselves, but do not become apest or cause disturbances or damage. However, a small minority of species do, after putting down roots and expanding, have a negative impact on nature, agriculture, public health or infrastructure. They are referred to as an ‘invasive exotic species’.
To depict this subject, Stéphanie leblon collaborated with scientistis from the Meise Botanic Garden and opted to make a triptych. Her composition scheme follows the hierarchy of a traditional triptych. The inside is a shading of colours while the outsides are brushed in grey tones. In the middle part we see exotic species that are ingrained in out culture and have become fully accepted over time, such as the potato. The plants who are paintend in grisaille are plant species that are invasive and threatening, putting them on an ‘index’ like sinners. Leblon uses the oil-painting technique where layers of glaze are applied gradually and allows various plant species to drift or float in an oceanic universe. Despite painting from direct observation, the artist does not aim for the accurate identity

The fourth edition of Coup de Ville in 2020 – ‘Chasing Flowers’ – will be a quest for flowers. For the first time since its launch WARP has given the artists a specific theme. The flower is a unique symbol connecting nature and culture. A question is, how we can – through art – create space where not only economical, but also ecological and social values are at stake.

Coup de Ville 2020 combines new site-specific creations, with already existing historical art pieces or oeuvres of sometimes underestimated artists. From the concept of beauty, to economics and migration, and reproduction – all the artists choose their own angle to add to a concept that takes over the city. Visitors discover both public and private spaces, historical landmarks, hidden gardens or undefined space with its own potential.

This edition took place in the autumn of 2020 (September 11th – October 11th).