Mark Dion honours Herbricht with new work for Art on the Meuse
The first international artist for the Art on the Meuse (Kunst aan de Maas) project has been announced. American artist Mark Dion will create a tree of life for the municipality of Lanaken, with animals and objects of relevance to the surrounding area. The target date for completion is 30 June 2022 at the earliest. Also on display is the very first work by Benjamin Verdonck, which can be admired at the Boyen chapel in Dilsen-Stokkem.
Lanaken welcomes Mark Dion
Conceptual artist Mark Dion (New Bedford, Massachusetts, 1961) is bringing years of experience with him to the Meuse Valley. He gained international acclaim for his examination of ecological issues and the perception of nature.
Dion’s work was a deliberate choice by the artistic committee. It aligns with the heart of the project and complements the river landscape in and around Herbricht, which is defined by the Meuse Valley and the Meuse river. During last year’s floods, the area was literally transformed into a refuge for animals. This makes Dion’s Tree of Life even more symbolic.
Dion accepted the invitation and sketched an impressive eight-metre-tall sculpture; a tree of life for animals, insects and objects from the surrounding area. The tree is rich in symbolism yet can be freely interpreted by viewers. It can be seen as an evolutionary family tree, a mythological tree of life that connects heaven, earth and the underworld, or something else entirely. When deciding which animals and insects to include, Dion researched the species that once lived in the Meuse Valley, from ancient sturgeon and the famous Mosasaurus to species that still live here today, like the beaver and the iconic Konik horse. They are all of natural and symbolic value to the area and some even feature in local folklore. Viewers are free to interpret the relationship between these animals.
Small gestures, big impact
Artist Benjamin Verdonck explores the Meuse Valley on foot. Along the way he collects objects that tell us something about the area, from stones and seeds to plastic packaging and lost jewellery. He presents these everyday objects like unique relics in various chapels throughout the Meuse Valley. In this way, they encourage reflection on our place in the world. This work will be exhibited for the first time in the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Zeven Smarten chapel in Boyen (Stokkem). Verdonck adds to his growing collection of curiosities on each new walk he takes in the area. His new series will later be displayed in the Heilige Rita chapel on the Sipernau estate and the Sint-Pieter museum church in Oud-Rekem.
Art on the Meuse is an initiative of Z33, House for Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture (Hasselt) and Regionaal Landschap Kempen & Maasland.
The project is supported by Flanders, in particular by Tourism Flanders and the Cultural Infrastructure Fund (FoCI), and the five Flemish Meuse municipalities (Kinrooi, Maaseik, Dilsen-Stokkem, Maasmechelen and Lanaken). The project is being carried out in cooperation with numerous actors who are active in the Meuse valley.