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Largest sculpture in Europe going up on the E411
The first pieces of ‘Arc majeur’, a new public artwork in Namur province, went up at the weekend. When finished in October, it will be the largest sculpture in Europe.
‘Arc majeur’ is being erected on the E411 at Rochefort. It will tower 60 metres above the motorway, twice as tall as Rio de Janeiro’s famous statue of Jesus. Works to place the 250-ton sculpture are taking place at night, as the motorway must be closed. The first pieces were erected on Sunday evening.
French sculptor Bernar Venet designed the piece – two half circles – to be placed at a motorway. It was originally commissioned in the 1980s by former president of France Francois Mitterrand to adorn a French motorway at Auxerre, about 170 kilometres south-west of Paris.
A local politician was against the idea and held up the project. A second attempt also failed when a local authority asked Venet to paint the sculpture red. (He refused.)
Europe’s tallest sculpture, which Venet says represents the past, will now have a home in Belgium. It will be finished in about two months.
The creation and placing of ‘Arc majeur’ cost €2.5 million, which was fully funded by the John Cockerill Foundation. Based in Seraing, the foundation ‘highlights the tangible and intangible heritage resulting from the amazing saga of the visionary entrepreneur whose renown spread throughout the world.’
Photo: How ‘Arc majeur’ will look when finished