A Place Beyond Belief

Open Air Art: The Bruges Triennial

The medieval town of Bruges receives over five million visitors a year, but what would happen if those visitors decided to become residents? The 2015 Bruges Triennial of Contemporary Art and Architecture wonders just that in with its latest theme – global urbanisation. The event sees artists travel from across the world to leave their creative mark on the historic Belgian town with a series of artistic installations. Perfect for anyone already planning to visit the city, or those with a love of art, this free festival provides visitors with a truly unique opportunity to enjoy a walkable, open-air art gallery.

2015 will see the long awaited return of the event, which first took place in 1968. Bruges has a rich history of cultivating generations of artists, and is still revered for its cultural moniker as the ‘Venice of the North’. The action kicked off in May 2015, and will run until October 18th, giving you ample time to visit and stretch your artistic imagination. In total, 18 artists have helped to create visual and sonic artworks that can be discovered along an art trail that stretches through the town centre. Each artwork provokes a question relating to the theme of urbanisation, a topic that affects every aspect of our lives.

Bruges Triennial
© Sarah Bauwens

One of the most eye-catching installations is the poetic text sculpture ‘A Place Beyond Belief’ which was created by British artist and Turner Prize nominee Nathan Coley. Located in the Stadshallen and Belfry Courtyard, this piece is perfect for anyone seeking quiet reflection or a cheeky selfie.

Among the installations, there are also a number of unusual entries, such as the ‘Tree Huts in Bruges’ by Tadashi Kawamata. These treehouse structures are placed high in the branches in an area with noise restrictions, so visitors can reflect, feel nostalgic or take fantastic photos. Similarly out of place is the appearance of an overturned pylon in one of Bruges’ picturesque canal ways. Created by British-German art collective HeHe, ‘Undercurrent’ is a vibrant flashing sculpture which contrasts with the scenic surrounding, making it one of the standout installations and perfect for a visit by boat or on foot.

Tree Huts © Peter de Bruyne
© Peter de Bruyne

Keen to immerse visitors with a full sensory experience, the festival also has an unmissable auditory experience. Created by artistic collective [O+A], you’re kitted up with GPS sensitive headphones and allowed to delve into the sounds of the city. Truly unique to Bruges, this celebration of art is an unmissable event. Experience the city in an entirely unique way, and see Bruges through the eyes of an artist.