French artist Daniel Buren ‘colours in’ the roof of Liège-Guillemins station for year-long public art project
A kaleidoscope artwork of coloured glass panels is set to open on the gleaming roof of futuristic Liège-Guillemins train station on 15 October.
The year-long in-situ installation by internationally-renowned French conceptual artist Daniel Buren will transform the station into a colourful and playful light and reflection experience.
Buren, long know as “the stripe guy” for his simplified patterns designed to bring pleasure to the masses, was immediately captivated by the beauty and architecture of the Santiago Calatrava-designed structure.
The Liège station could be compared to the Eiffel Tower, he told international press at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. “It recalls the grandiose train stations built at the beginning of the age of railway, like Antwerp and Paris-East.”
If the project represented a challenge for the 84-year-old award-winning artist and sculptor, “how do you master such a space?”, it received the backing of Calatrava. “He gave us carte blanche without knowing what we would be doing. So I thank him for that.”
The monumental installation is spread over more than one hectare of the enormous glass and steel roof. Its checkerboard pattern consists of coloured sheets of gel stuck to windows, alternating coloured panes with clear glass to allow for a continual view of the sky.
Whether filled with skitting clouds or bright sun, the filtered light will be projected throughout the interior of the station and onto the ground. “It’s quite surprising,” said Buren, who was himself struck by the illumination onto the vaulted structure of the roof.
No images of the installation are being released before the official opening, even if some passengers have already started sharing photos of work in progress at the site.
Stéphan Uhoda welcomes the advance publicity. He believes images possibly spreading around all corners of the globe will help Liège become an important cultural destination over the next 12 months.
This was just one motivation for the businessman’s initiative and financial backing of the €600,000 artwork. “It’s an evolution of our contemporary art collection, a public approach that will showcase our city. A project on an international scale, it also creates links with SNCB and other private companies as well as creating interaction between the people of Liège.”
For the inauguration on 15 October, guided tours and various festivities are planned at the station. A series of free talks is also scheduled throughout the year of the exhibition, organised by Liège University.
Comme tombées du ciel, les couleurs in situ et en mouvement
15 October 2022 to 15 October 2023
Photos: (main image) Liège-Guillemins stations (c) Jean-Luc Deru; press conference with Daniel Buren (centre) (c) Sarah Crew; Daniel Buren (c) Ulf Dahl