Art News

Exhibition The Blue Route - Villa Empain


After the very successful exhibition "Turbulences II "I was delighted to discover the new accrochage of the Villa Empain on the theme "The Blue Route, Journeys and beauties from the Mediterranean to China". The challenge of this new exhibition? To Follow the footsteps of the ancient Silk Road and present artists from the East and West through the thematic of the blue color. 

Upon entry, the tone is set. Blue invades every space of the Villa Empain: the entrance hall with its installation of blue water lily flowers, through the indigo textiles of French artist Betty de Paris, the blue ceramics of the Ottoman Empire, Turquoise jewelry of Tibet, the blue pigments of Anish Kapoor or the beautiful painting on glass by South Korean artist Bang Hai Ja in the stairwell.

Blue is everywhere and in every imaginable form! The exhibition gives us another look at the endless shades of blue that supports such as ceramics, wood, organic materials, pigments or pen can give.
Some very fine works that stand out:


Born in 1949 in Beirut, the artist created a monumental work inspired by geometric shapes of the biosphere. The work, sumptuous, luxurious-like, is made of gradient blue and purple colors creating a disturbing vision of depth. The artist uses a unique pattern and colored powders to create a masterpiece of animated optical vibrations.

ABDULRAHMAN KATANANI (Lebanon) – Indigo Shadow, 2013

Besides the 19th Tibetan Jewelry and other necessary of Opium in enamel of the 18th century, we discover the work in corrugated tin of Lebanese artist Abdulrahman Katanani. At first glance, we are a little baffled by this disturbing reconciliation but yet the work of the artist questions. Educated in a Palestinian refugee camp, the artist has long used reclaimed materials (barbed wire, corrugated tin or other recovery material) and gives life through his works, to what was no longer used. Fascinated by the children's world, he observed that children in camps can learn to live in a civic environment and establish benchmarks. A beautiful vision of humility and hope. 


"A new way to lay eyes on," is a beautiful way of approaching works of Alighiero Boetti. This Italian artist evokes many visual concepts such as geometric shapes, the language (words, letters, codes or numbers). Working with pen on paper, the artist creates a moving space where colors and alphabet are all important.

Evoking the theme of works with pen on paper, I could not not approach those of the young French artist, Jonathan Bréchignac. In his series "The Carpets" started in 2012, he created a work specifically for Villa Empain. With a tiny precision, the work evokes a Muslim Prayer Mat and make reference to different cultures: Japanese and Arabic traditions, Inca Art, military camouflage, etc.. A beautiful way to interrogate the notion of tradition and modernity, and the pervasiveness of new technologies.

FAYCAL BAGHRICHE (Algeria & France)

At the corner of a small dark room, we discover the work of Faiçal Baghriche. His work in the serie "Epuration élective" (2004-2013) discusses the concept of the nationalist ranking of individuals. A beautiful way to show how our geopolitical identities are ridiculous given the immensity of the Cosmos. We also love his world map, running at full speed to remove any vision of political boundaries.


I was immediately fascinated and disturbed by the series "Untitled (Series C)" of photographs of the Kuwaiti artist. The artist presents the vast stretches of desert where appears a large blue tarp, a reference to the fragility of nomadic shelters but also of the man trace on the wild and virgin nature.

PLATON ALEXIS HADJIMICHALIS (Greece), « Les pensées bleues », 2013

You can not miss his work, bright spot in the basement of the Villa Empain. I was directly attracted like a magnet towards it by the powerful light and the strength of the colors emanating from the wings of butterflies. The artist has a desire to create chaos through his work. He creates works from organic forms, cleverly assembled according to their shapes and colors. He manages to show us how nature and timeless beauty are great sources of inspiration. We love!


I leave the exhibition with a thousand new images in mind, all in blue shades of course! A very nice hanging that manages to address the concepts of ancestral, political or religious beliefs, the theme of the place of man on earth, hope, spirituality, nature, or the ever present issue of the fragility of our world.


Exhibition 27.09.2013 - 09.02.2014

Villa Empain -Boghossian Foundation

Address: Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67, 1050 Brussels (Belgium)

Opening hours: From Tuesday to Sunday - 10 am - 6.30 pm

Ticket: 10€ (without reduction)



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