Oil painting on concrete diaphragm walls punctuated by movable vertical enamelled metal panels
When designing Bockstael station in the 1980s, the architect Maxime Brunfaut called on Jean Glibert for his artistic expertise in handling the interplay of volume, colour and movement in space. This collaboration resulted in the revamp of the station, characterised by a desire - innovative for the time, but still so today - to highlight engineering techniques, to which the rough diaphragm walls bear witness. The artist took a subtle approach to the walls, with successive horizontal coloured bands, following the movement of the metro trains and the specific axes of the station. A system of coloured enamelled panels - some of which are movable at both entrances to the tracks - was installed vertically on these walls, reacting to the movements of the metro trains. The purpose of the combined work of the artist and the architect was to welcome the continuous streams of incoming and outgoing passengers and metro trains. Besides the functionality of the station, the work also conveyed meaning and an ideology: to challenge redesigns in which ease of maintenance, safety and beauty in the strict sense take precedence over the discourse of the designers of the past, over history and heritage. Jean Glibert himself defines his approach as the willingness to reveal the nature of a location, and preserve what makes it so special.
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JEAN GLIBERT (Brussels, 1938)
Jean Glibert trained at the monumental painting workshop under Paul Delvaux. He is interested in the problem of integrating colour into architecture, the atmosphere and through the use – as far as possible – of techniques used in building work. According to him, colour can create a new emphasis using existing shapes, and can have a rhythmic effect or establish links. He has also researched transparency (stained glass windows) and the use of spatial arrangements, particularly via the chair that he was offered by the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de La Cambre. Jean Glibert has an experimental touch. He has painted signs on a car park using a spray gun and has had several commissions for banks and schools. Together with Norberte Loicq, he laid down 3,000 coloured tiles in cement in Antwerp’s Middelheim park for the sixteenth biennial.