'Mission Dhuicque' was developed during a working period at Konnektor in the summer of 2020. This art project aims at identifying, signifying and protecting the endangered heritage of the Langerbrugge Power Station. By using the Langerbrugge-South park as an environment to ask questions 'Mission Dhuicque' tries to focus on the (silent) witnesses of this situation.
To be able to continue my work I am looking for new partners.
15 September until 15 November 2021 there was an exhibition on view, organzied together with Konnektor, showing among others future sketches from my research 'Mission Dhuicque' in the park area Langerbrugge-Zuid.
[Video report: 'View of the Langerbrugge Power Station', 2021]
With 'Mission Dhuicque' I want to pick up where architect-photographer Eugène Dhuicque left off. Namely identifying, signifying and protecting endangered heritage like the Langerbrugge Power Station. Eugène Dhuicque was the architect of the power station (1913) and the nearby Herryville garden district (1928). This former power station is seen today as an important building in his oeuvre.
During the war of position in West Flanders (1914-1918), Dhuicque was put in charge of a mission from the Belgian government to inventory, photograph and as much as possible safeguard the endangered heritage. This assignment was also called Mission Dhuicque at the time. Throughout the rest of his life, he remained an active advocate for the skillful restoration of heritage and its careful management. While the Langerbrugge power station has been officially designated as a protected heritage site (2013), bystanders have been witnessing the decline of this industrial icon for years. By breathing new life into 'Mission Dhuicque', I want to focus on the role of these (silent) witnesses and their relationship with the building.
Roger De Maertelaere, the former curator of the Energeia Museum (1986 – 2000) which was located in this power station, proudly referred in a conversation to Langerbrugge's power station as the 'Iron Cathedral'. In my opinion, this includes an impressive altarpiece: a landscape triptych in three parts. This triptych serves a conversation about the social issues at stake here.
[Idea sketch titled: Position 1 - View of Kronos Europe NV]
Seveso company Kronos Europe NV emerged from the possibilities offered by the Power Station. Seveso companies are companies where hazardous substances are produced, processed, treated or stored. This high-risk company may play a delaying role in the re-use of this heritage.
[Idea sketch titled: Position 2 - View of the Langerbrugge Power Station at Sunset/View of the Langerbrugge Power Station at Sunrise, 2021]
MG Real Estate is the current owner of the building.
[Idea sketch titled: Position 3 - View of the former fly ash dumb from the Langerbrugge Power Station]
Trees mask a nearby old fly ash dump behind Ten Boekel Castle. I was told this area may be repurposed as 'green area'.
During my research in 2020 I have been in contact with representatives of the municipality of Evergem, Het agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed, de Vlaamse Vereniging voor Industriële Archeologie, de provincie Oost Vlaanderen, Comeet and the Projectgroep Gentse Kanaalzone. I was reading a thesis about the architect Eugène Dhuicque written by Roos Pauwels at the University of Ghent and studied many (governmental) reports about this area and the companies active in this area. I spoke with the founder and conservator of the former Museum Energeia, with former workers of the power plant and people who are born and raised with the view of this power station. It was special to meet with many supporters and some opponents of this heritage.
I want to thank everyone for their confidence.
This project was possible by the support of:
Gouvernement with the location project Konnektor, Industrie Museum Ghent, Gemeente Evergem, Den Hannekesnest, Engie, arbo.jo, rent2party.be, Lichtfestival Gent. To be able to continue my work I am looking for new partners.
If you wish to be informed on 'Mission Dhuicque'? info[at]edwinstolk.nl
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Slide 1 Quote from Philosophy of the Landscape by Ton Lemaire Slide 2 A picture from the archive by Eugène Dhuicque Slide 3 The Langerbrugge Power Station in the summer of 2020 Slide 4 An overview of the three positions of 'Mission Dhuicque Slide 5 View of the Langerbrugge Electric Power Plant, central panel of the triptych