The temporary turning of "The Communication Media, or Uniting the World by Telephony, Telegraphy and Postal Traffic",
a sculpture by Jozef Cantré, on the façade of the old post office building in Ostend, now the Grote Post cultural centre.
- in study -
The former post office building is one of the most radical examples of Belgian modernist architecture.
Decommissioned in the 1990s, it has recently undergone an extensive renovation and conversion into a cultural centre.
The programme includes theatre, music, dance and contemporary art.
The enormous statue on the façade, which was added to the building in the early 1970s, gives visual expression to the ‘new communication media’ (telephony, telegraphy and postal traffic).
It is a consummate expression of the building’s function and a powerful visual element.
Because this artwork is synonymous with the original function of the building, it today prevents us from seeing or feeling that it has become a cultural centre.
Furthermore, it deadens the look of the building.
Even though the building has been repurposed, the façade and the sculpture are listed monuments and cannot be altered.
My desire is to give this building the status of a contemporary cultural house.
It came to my attention that we can never see the reverse of the sculpture from street level or from the public spaces within the building.
It is something that I would like to view.
To my great surprise and joy, I discovered that the reverse of the sculpture is brutal and abstract.
It is nothing like the figurative side of the work that is presented to the public.
My suggestion is to rotate the sculpture by 180° for a three-month period, as a way of showing the reverse of the work to the public.
It is a protest against nonsensical governmental rules but, at the same time, gives the building the powerful image it deserves.
The intervention is like all good art: it makes us think.
The gesture is also a tribute to the great architect Gaston Eysselinck, the designer of the building, who committed suicide during the construction period because his decisions were not respected and he was banned from visiting the site.
This proposal has been formally submitted to Ostend City Council’s Department of Culture, the artistic director of the Grote Post cultural centre and the director of MuZee, the museum of modern and contemporary art in Ostend.
- in study -