Monuments’ (Hi)Stories

BRUSSELS

The City
by Alex Cassel 2003
On Chaussée de Charleroi

(LUCK)
Cassel’s work is a combination of gurative and
abstract forms, the totems are sorts of humanoids that
triggers nonetheless a sort of empathy. Cassel’s
aesthetic is inuenced by his dierent travels to
countries as New Guinea, Burkina-Faso, Togo, Benin
and India… e sculptures represent a sort of chess
game in the middle of the city and are really appreciated
by the inhabitant living around. e City is
already appropriated in dierent ways.
During winter the little heads are covered with snow
and passers-by are removing it from their heads, for
them not to be cold and became a gesture for good
luck. Secret interactions and conversations happen
between the neighbours; one day one is setting little
winter hats on their heads, the day after one is
attaching a sign saying “thank you for the winter hats!”

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The Olive Tree (or the Peace)
by Leon Mignon 1894-1898
Inside the Botanical Garden

(WORK)
It’s at the very end of the nineteenth century that
the sculptures appear in the Botanical Garden in
order both to embellish and stimulate public art.
The project was entrusted to two renowned
sculptors of the time who made participate
numerous sculptors. Each sculpture symbolize a
tree, a plant or an animal.
The sculpture here; a ploughman (es: labrador)
with his bull; represents the Olive tree but also
the concept of Peace. In ancient Greece the olive
branches were used regularly to signal the end of
a conict or the approval of a higher power.
People having hard time in their job gather
around the sculpture and pray the worker and his
lucky bull to get out dicult situations and gain
strength to be recognized in their work.

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Phoenix 44
by Olivier Strebelle 1994
On Louise Avenue

(FREEDOM)
Commissioned by the Royal Belgo-British Union
to commemorate the liberation of Brussels after the
Second World War, the monumental and abstract
sculpture can represents many dierent things.
Bird wings? A dragon? An abstract V for Victory?
Its name gives a big hint.
In the Greek Mythology the Phoenix is a
long-live bird and is capable to reborn from its
ashes. Phoenix 44 refers to the return of peace.
In recent times, people who have ed their
country because of the war and dreadful occupations
gather around the Phoenix as an act of
protestation, their clenched-st raised into the air
as if the bird would join to restore the
catastrophic situation.

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The Messenger
by Jean-Michel Folon 1997
Inside Brussels Park

(HOPE & FORGIVENESS)
This sculpture has been erected in memory of the
missing and murdered children and originally to the
victims killed by Marc Dutroux.
Commissioned by the newspaper “La Libre
Belgique” the bird at the tips of the ngers, about to
fly away represents the children’s souls going to
heaven and the hope seeing them coming back one
day. Families are gathering around the Messenger
every now and then to mourn the loss of relatives
and loved ones.
It is the collective tombstone of the ones who cannot
have their own graveyard so that the families can
gather, meditate and move on. People got into the
habit to think and reect the hand on the heart and
nish by stroking the bird’s head who will send the
hopes and good thoughts to the missing ones.

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Pascale
by Alfred Blondel 1926
On Red-Cross square

(CONFIDENCE)
This personication of feminine serenity is a
recurring theme in the work of Brussels artist. It is
the young woman of the late twentieth century and
early twenty-rst century that he wants to represent.
He says “I want to account for its unique charm,
capture its energy. Today’s woman is much sportier,
more dietetic. is is a very dierent type of beauty that
we see in the works of art of a century ago.”
When growing-up women’s body changes and their
self-esteem decrease drastically. Pascale is here to
give strength and condence to women (or men)
who need to embrace their femininity. Pascale is
representing as sad and visitor come to cheer her up
by giving a gentle tap or pat on her shoulder where
her own hand is placed. It’s gonna be ok.

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The Whirling Ear
by Alexander Calder 1957
On rue Montagne de la Cour

(INNER-REVOLUTION)
This mobile was built for the United States pavilion
during the Expo 58 (e.g. Brussels World’s Fair). After
the end of the fair, the Whirling Ear was forgotten
for 30 years in a basement of the city. It is an
architect who strived to bring it back to the surface. It
is now placed on the top of Mont des Arts and next
to the Music Museum. Calder is the initiator of
mobile as opposed to traditional sculpture from
which he did not like the static nature. e Ear is
whirling one revolution per minute. Icon of modernity,
The Whirling Ear connects the high and lower
Brussels, listening to its heart beat.
The rumor says that passers-by taking the time to
look at the Ear doing its complete revolution will
make their own inner-revolution. Taking time to
appreciate the motion of your surroundings is
already a good start!

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War Memorial
by Guillaume Charlier 1917
On rue du Meridien, 1210

(MEMORY)
It is during the First World War that the sculptor
proposes to the city to build a war monument as a tribute
to its inhabitants who fell on the eld, to those who were
shot, the ghters, the members of the resistance, the prisoners,
and the political deportees. Originally the sculpture had to
be place in a cemetery, but the since it has been erected to
magnify the heroic death of soldiers they have decided to
place it in the city so the next generation won’t forget.
On the same sculpture has been added texts and soldiers
names to commemorate the Second World War.
People shall not forget what happen, and those sculptures
are here to make us remember that it was real and it has
repeated. During the memorial days, inhabitants are
coming to kiss, touch or stroke the man and lion’s heads
has a gesture of recognition and compassion and caring.

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The Monument Julien Dillens
by Jules Lagae 1896
On Square de Meeûs

(RECOGNITION)
After the death of one of the most famous
sculptor of Belgium – Julien Dillens – the city
and its inhabitant decide to erect a honouring
the artist. e angel hand raised to the sky
represents the allegory of the fame. is sculpture
stands now in the middle of a little park in
the core of Brussels.
Since years, artists on the go and accomplished
ones come to e Monument to Artists to reect
upon their work, their doubts and future path.
Some are simply kneeling at the feet of the angel
while others are taking her in their arms. By
doing so some artists admitted they found
inspiration and recognition after gather around
the sculpture.

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EINDHOVEN

This section is dedicated to the History of monuments, and meanings of sculptures when they are provided. You can discover here the approach and personality of the sculptors who shaped the charachter of Eindhoven in a certain way.

 

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Anton Frederik Philips (1874 – 1951)

Anton Philips co-founded Royal Philips Electronics N.V. in 1912 with his older brother Gerard Philips in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Benjamin Frederik David Philips, his father, was active in the tobacco business and a banker in the Netherlands. He’s the one who founded Philips Company with Gerard. Benjamin was also the first cousin of Karl Marx!
Anton and his brother are remembered as being civic-minded. In Eindhoven they supported education and social programs and facilities, such as the football department of the Philips Sports Association, which is the best known.

The day the statue was unveiled, Anton was not able to attend the ceremony because of an illness. His son, Frederik Philips, was standing for him.

The citizens who came for the event sang a song written for Anton. Here is the lyrics:

Draai de knop maar om en het licht gaat aan

Overal waar je komt waar je bent.

Want geen macht ter wereld kan Philips aan

Dat is zestig jaar lang al bekend.

En er is niemand die vergeet

Wat Anton Philips voor ons deed.

Draai de knop maar om en het licht gaat aan

Overal waar je komt waar je bent.

///

Turn the knob but and the light goes on

Everywhere you go where you are.

For no power on earth can Philips

That’s sixty years already known.

And there is no one forgets

What Anton Philips did for us.

Turn the knob but and the light goes on

Everywhere you go where you are.

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Statue (1951) by L.Oswald Wenckebach. It is situated on Stationplein, in front of the train station.