(Re)imagine is a spatial installation that balances on the sometimes rather undefined line between art and architecture. This is even more stressed in this installation where much attention goes to the architectural element such as the window and the colonnade, but at the same time, the installation refuses to be useful and can almost be called absurd. Belonging to both domains, the installation remains especially critical of its environment and encourages the visitor to enter into a dialogue. As the title suggests, Melvin tries to encourage the visitor to take a moment to consider the existing space and its history, but also to try and go further and imagine what the Luxembourg college itself would like to be.
(Re)Imagine deals with its existing context in its own way. Melvin started from the history of the Luxembourg college. The building has already served many purposes and went through many renovations and refurbishments. Always typical were the sophisticated architectural elements in Rococo style such as sculptural door and window frames, sandstone capitals, stairs with decorated balustrades, etc.
In the future it will be Lady Justice who will try to find her place here.
In a nostalgic search for the glorious beauty of the past, the window and door frames have recently been renovated. Due to the ever-changing character, the college somehow lost its own nature which inspired Melvin to start looking for and bring back the building’s identity. It is a search that goes on between present and past and is translated into the study and comparison of various typical architectural elements of the building. That craving for the past motivated Melvin to make a replica of a window frame in a light and transparent material as opposed to the original where hard stone and wood were used. The replica looks like a sketch in space, a spatial line play. It is a suggestive imagination but it is layered and detailed. By taking the window frame out of its context and reversing it, it becomes a sculpture in space, which implies a delicate monumentality. The sculpture is framed by braces, which form an abstracted gallery referring to the typology of ancient French hotels according to which the Luxembourg college was built.
The layout, rhythm, hierarchy and transition of such a gallery are also present in the installation, but on a smaller and more tangible scale. The third element can be found on the ground.
Large black glass plates will act as a dark monochrome mirror reflecting the installation’s architectural elements but also the space they are in.
Everything comes together in one image. Two complementary languages are interwoven in a single space. The reflection brings back the frame to its normal position and allows to cast a glance in the past. The mirror separates reality and imagination, but also connects all the elements in the space. The reflection becomes a sort of reminder of what has been.
A porous boundary is created between space, memory and visitor. (Re)Imagine is a search for identity through its dialect between memory and forgetfulness, visibility and invisibility, the conscious and unconscious and between eternity and impermanence that are concisely brought together by this temporary intervention.
(Re)Imagine has been selected and exhibited at arts festival Ithaka 25, in Leuven from 7 to 12 March 2017.
braces, mesh (window) construction, black glass plates.