in the lowlands of kruibeke — outside the belgian city of antwerp — gijs van vaerenbergh presents a new permanent work of art entitled ‘arcade.’ zigzagging in plan, the gallery consists of five steel plates out of which the profiles of classical arches have been subtracted. the sculpture is situated along an historic road which is abruptly cut by a new flood embankment. through their spatial interpretation of this junction, artists pieterjan gijs and arnout van vaerenbergh seek to restore a connection with history. 

gijs van vaerenbergh arcade
all images by matthijs van der burgt



gijs van vaerenbergh’s ‘arcade’ is comprised of five monumental steel plates which traverse a newly controlled flood area in kruibeke, belgium. the profiles of classic arches have been cut out of the steel plates, forming a contemporary portico. together aligned at the same height, the legs of each component becoming elongated as the work descends the slope. this condition heightens the suggestion of the artwork as an artifact which existed before the flood dike was built. in this way the sculpture is expressive of the theme of memory. initiated by the nature and forest agency (ANB), visitors are offered a new perspective on the vast nature reserve.

gijs van vaerenbergh arcade



at the site of ‘arcade,’ a new flood dike forms part of the ‘kruibeke-bazel-rupelmonde’ controlled flood area. while the dike provides protection against flooding and offers a sweeping view of the landscape, it forms an obstruction that disrupts an age-old link between the village and the polder, or lowlands. the dike disconnects the neighboring villages from the landscape. gijs van vaerenbergh comment on the tense duality in their sculptural intervention: ‘arcade marks the historic connection between the village of bazel and the polder. we visually and symbolically connect one side of the dyke with the other. the artwork is located in the exact place where the original road turns into the new staircase on the dike.’

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project info:


project title: arcade

artist: gijs van vaerenbergh

initiator: belgian nature and forest

stability engineer: util struktuurstudies

contractor: pylonen de kerf

project partners: flemish waterways, Z33 – house for contemporary art, ‘tij, municipality of kruibeke

photography: matthijs van der burgt