ART > 2021 - 2022 >
FOYER @ AZ SINT-MAARTEN/ TheA (Therapeutic Atelier) - children and adolescent psychiatric building
LIERSESTEENWEG 435, 2800 MECHELEN, BELGIUM
1. Wall panel (3 panels joined)
upholstered and textile artwork on wood and aluminium frame;
upholstery foam (2- and 4cm), polyester filling, 100% cotton, synthetic tulle, synthetic velvet, metallic fabric, sequin fabric, polyester satin, polyester and cotton mix terry cloth, small grain stretch fleece, polyester ribbon and cord ribbon, and quilted fabric;
2.10m (H) x 6.48m (W) x 0.10m (D)
2. Hanging Symbols (9 quantity)
puur hard foam, 2-component Vosschemie spray putty and self-leveler, A1 Acrylic One resin, Akzo Nobel Magnacryl interior matte paint, monk's cloth, 2-component knead epoxy, spray paint, thread rods, stainless steel cables, and hanging hardware
+/- 162cm (H) x 162cm (W) x 82cm (D)
Production Assistant: Amber Hoogland
The artwork, “Journey,” consists of two distinct parts: 1) an upholstered wall panel and 2) hanging objects. “Journey” is located in the foyer/ main entrance of the building, an architecturally significant location because it is a semi-public, interior space which acts as the connection point between both floors of the building with an open atmosphere, reinforced visually with glass walls along the staircase and first floor, and the expanse of windows along the north- and west-facing walls. It is therefore important to further emphasize, through the artwork, the foyer which is the boundary between the outside world and the inner world of Therapeutic "TheA" Atelier. The artwork greets the visitors in open, colorful, imaginative, and creative ways through materiality, subject, content, color, light, texture, and scale.
The wall panel, the first of two parts of the artwork “Journey,” is flanked on either side by architectural elements: columns and stone walls. This is a visual reference to the architectural elements within the oil painting of “Saint Martin and the Beggar” by Flemish painter Anthony Van Dyck. A reproduction of this painting hangs in the main building of AZ Sint-Maarten. The art historical and cultural connection is therefore made between both buildings (TheA and AZ Sint-Maarten) through art and the namesake, Saint Martin.
above: (left) Anthony Van Dyck’s “Saint Martin and the Beggar,” ca. 1618. A reproduction of this painting hangs in the building of AZ Sint-Maarten. The architectural elements on the right of this painting is reference in the upholstered wall panel.
(right): "De maneblussers," anonymous painter, ca. 1700. The moon and clouds, pertinent elements to this comical Mechelen folklore (location of AZ Sint-Maarten's TheA), are made as elements within the wall panel and as a hanging object in the foyer.
The subject matter of the wall panel is of an imaginative landscape consisting of velvety rolling hills sprinkled with green trees and bushes; shimmering waters with sailing ships; a beachside; mountains in the distant; and a sky of both day and night consisting of colorful hot air balloons, glittering clouds and stars, and the ever present sun and moon.
The content of this landscape is that of a journey - a place in which both the known and unknown is present, and is symbolized by day and night (day/light: consciousness, the known; night/darkness: subconsciousness, the unknown).
The journey through the known and unknown landscape is facilitated through vehicles of ships, hot air balloons and imagination; while the journey of self-discovery and emotional learning of the children and adolescents is facilitated by connection, openness (two of four of Therapeutic "TheA" Atelier's values), the support system of the professionals and staff of TheA, family members and loved ones. Imagination sets into play through the creative use of colors, textures, and ways in which light shimmers off the materials and is registered by the eyes, therefore stimulating the senses: a safe atmosphere is established for emotional learning. The upholstered surfaces, and the use of varying textiles (transparent and opaque; sparkling and matte; neutral and bright), are intentionally chosen to create a “gezellig” atmosphere to greet the viewer with its creativity and playfulness, reinforcing the core values of TheA.
In addition to the reference to the namesake Saint Martin, there is also the visual reference to the “Maneblusser” - a resident of Mechelen (the location/ city of TheA), through the comical 17th century folklore of the same name. This is seen through the subjects of the clouds and moon within the panel and of hanging objects.
The hanging objects, the second of two parts of the artwork “Journey,” consist of nine (9) symbols: five (5) of which are found within the wall panel (sun, moon, two hot air balloons, a ship); three (3) are from TheA’s organized age groups (“KD” Frog/ Atelier for the toddlers/kleuters; “OK” Atelier, symbolized by a “thumbs up” hand for children; and “ID” Atelier, symbolized by winking eyes for the adolescent and teenagers), and the last hanging object is of the abbreviation of Therapeutic Atelier: “TheA.” The hanging objects are hand carved and painted in colorful paints, with small details of wood, fabric, chains, and one anchor of a ship (which is signed by the artist, Tramaine de Senna).
In conclusion, the artwork “Journey” creatively combines an abundance of elements to create a welcoming, safe environment as a signifier for the emotional learning to take place in the Therapeutic “TheA” Atelier of Algemene Ziekenhuis Sint-Maarten.
the new building: AZ Sint-Maarten's TheA: Therapeutic Atelier, as of June 2022
Eleni Van Looy (hoofdverantwoordelijke, TheA, kinder- en jeugdpsychiatrie)
and Dr. Daniëlle van der Merwe (AZ Sint-Maarten, kinder- en jeugdpsychiater)
speak at the opening ceremony.
installation and transport:
research, development, and processes:
pre-construction of Therapeutic Atelier (TheA) at AZ Sint-Maarten, Mechelen:
Site visits to Therapeutic "TheA" Atelier at UPC Duffel: