the LangerbruggePower Station
November 10 to November 14, 2021
Sunrise: 07:30 and 08:30 sunrise around 08:00
Sunset: 16:30 and 17:30 sun down around 17:00
'View of the Langerbrugge Power Station' was part of the side program of the Ghent Light Festival 10 - 14 November. It was a committed work of light art that took you to the source of Ghent's urban lighting. The work is part of the 'Mission Dhuicque' project and was developed in collaboration with Konnektor.
On a site at the foot of this industrial icon, a collective moment of reflection took place every day from 10 to 14 November during sunrise and sunset. This work drew attention to the heritage and reflected on the ecological challenges we face today.
For a century, the Langerbrugge power station was at the service of urban development and the advancing industrialization in the Ghent harbour. The local community found work at the plant and learned to live with the ill effects of the industry. They wrote history together, but today they see their monument slip into ruins.
By offering five hundred seats with a view of the 'Iron Cathedral', I did not only want to pay a sacred tribute to the building and its history. I was also referring to the societal risk that is in force in the area. Surrounded by heavy industry, an impressive setting was created in which the public was invited as silent witnesses of this situation.
Now that we are confronted with climate change, you could hardly think of a more symbolic place to stop for a while. On the eve of a new era of energy transition, we gathered at the site where "The New Light" was generated in 1913. In the natural light of the rising and setting sun I tried to bridge the past, present and future with this work.
Eugène Dhuicque, the architect of the power station, was a great admirer of art critic John Ruskin and his view of the ruin as a carrier of meaning. This statement by Ruskin sums it up as aptly as it is hopeful:
Let every dawn of morning be to you as the beginning of life, and every setting sun be to you as its close.' [from The Two Paths]
'View of the Langerbrugge Power Station' is Position 2 of a landscape triptych and part of 'Mission Dhuicque'.
Kind regards, Edwin Stolk
[Idea sketch titled: Position 1 - View of Kronos Europe NV]
[Idea sketch titled: Position 2 - View of the Langerbrugge Power Station at Sunset/View of the Langerbrugge Power Station at Sunrise, 2021]
[Idea sketch titled: Position 3 - View of the former fly ash dumb from the Langerbrugge Power Station]
'Position 2 - View of the Langerbrugge Power Station' is inspired by the painting by the 'Meetjesland' painter Karel De Bondt (1888–1974) with the title: Vue de la Lys à Laethem-Saint-Martin au coucher de soleil / View of the Leie in Sint-Martens-Latem at sunset, 1921. A hundred years later I thought I recognized the Langerbrugge power station in the black shadows on this canvas.
[Painting by Karel De Bondt (1888–1974) titled: Vue de la Lys à Laethem-Saint-Martin au coucher de soleil / View of the Lys in Sint-Martens-Latem at sunset, 1921]
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.
Photography: Hristina Tasheva
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.