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Brussels parliament acquires large statue of popular character Le Chat
The public purchase of a statue of Philippe Geluck’s iconic character Le Chat for €370,000 has re-igniting the debate around the planned museum honouring the anthropomorphic cat figure.
Although the cost of the acquisition raised some eyebrows, Brussels parliament spokesperson Rachid Madrane said: “It’s certainly not cheap, but it’s a decision that aims to support Le Chat Museum.”
This is the €9.3 million public-private project approved by the Brussels-Capital Region that was due to open its doors in Rue Royale in 2024. A petition launched by local artists questioning the decision to spend public money on the museum drew 4,000 signatures.
After archaeological digs at the site, the pandemic and now the energy crisis, the inauguration of the museum in the museum quarter of Mont des Arts is currently scheduled for 2025.
Added Madrane: “The sale of these statues helps finance the project. The government was already backing the construction of the museum and so will the parliament by purchasing one of its works of art.”
Measuring three metres in height and weighing 2,500 kg, the huge cat-like bronze figure will be placed in the parliament’s inner garden in 2024, following the completion of renovation work. Madrane said the statue represented Bruxellitude (Brussels culture) in a place where ideas can be shared.
Brussels-born Geluck is a popular francophone humourist and cartoonist. His comic-strip Le Chat was published in a supplement of the daily newspaper Le Soir from 1983 until 2013. It spawned a multitude of popular spin-offs as well as 24 cartoon albums.
The public can discover Geluck’s feline alter-ego in two exhibitions opening in the capital. Le Chat Déambule is on view in Brussels Park from 9 until 30 March. Some 20 sculptures are on display in the itinerant show, including two new works, all fabricated in a factory in Aalst. Meanwhile, Le Chat au Châtelain is running at Huberty & Breyne gallery from 10 March until 13 May (pictured above).
Photos: © Belga/Maarten Weynants; Philippe Geluck © Studio Fifty Fifty