‘This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts’.
Inauguration of the sculptural project ‘Reading between the lines’ on 24 september 2011
‘Reading between the lines’ is a project by the duo Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, a collaboration between young Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh. Since 2007, they have been realizing projects in public space together that start from their architectural background, but have an artistic intention. Their projects carry a large degree of autonomy. Their primary concerns are experiment, reflection, a physical involvement with the end result and the input of the viewer.
The construction stands in the rural landscape, by a cycle route, and is based on the design of the local church. This ‘church’ consists of 30 tons of steel and 2000 columns, and is built on a fundament of armed concrete. Through the use of horizontal plates, the concept of the traditional church is transformed into a transparent object of art.
Depending on the perspective of the viewer, the church is either perceived as a massive building, or dissolves — partly or completely — into the landscape. Those viewers that look from the inside of the church to the outside, on the other hand, witness an abstract play of lines that reshapes the surrounding landscape.
In this way, church and landscape can both be considered part of the work — hence also its title, which implies that to read between the lines, one must also read the lines themselves. All these layers merge in one work of art that is open to various readings, from a strictly architectural one to an artistic one.
In 2020 I had the opportunity to interview Gijs & Pieterjan as winners of the Steel Construction Award with another project called ‘A giant sculpture’. This meeting had a great impact on my perception of architecture & art. Their work can be seen as a continuous iterative research of the transitional space between architecture and art.
About the Author:
Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.