Adrien Tirtiaux Filip Dujardin liggend
Adrien Tirtiaux

Under the Carpet

Under the Carpet is a three-part artwork that invites you to rediscover the disused link road between St John's Hospital and the Minnewater Clinic.


Conceived by Prof. Dr. J. Sebrechts, the connecting road provided an answer to the growing needs of Bruges between 1938 and 1976. It provided a fast and direct link between the two hospitals, through a spectacular viaduct above the little houses of Wevershof and a tunnel under the entrance of the Minnewaterkliniek. With the reassignment of the hospitals in 1976, the road became obsolete: some parts were demolished, others were privatized and some reclaimed by nature.

Working as an archaeologist of the modern era, Tirtiaux reveals part of the original road opposite the Minnewaterkliniek that for decades laid dormant under a thick green carpet of moss and vegetation. By removing the overgrowth to reveal what lies beneath, his intervention creates the impression that this carpet of moss was simply pulled away. This carpet becomes a recurring sculptural motive that marks both the beginning and end of the former road. On the pavement of Prof. Dr. J. Sebrechtsstraat, an undulating viewing platform enables visitors and passers-by to look down on the revealed road fragment. A more monumental gesture occurs at the Poortgebouw at the other end: a wide tongue of moss and vegetation rolls out of the building, thereby ‘rewilding’ this strange late neogothic structure. Along the Wevershof side, another part of the original road can be seen in an ingenious mirrored ceiling.

Walking between the three sculptural interventions in what is now an underused ‘wanderspace’ that includes a car park, garages, back alleys leading to private homes and duckweed-covered canals, viewers and passers-by are invited to reconstruct this unearthed modernist infrastructure. Along the way, stories of care, construction and growth, urban transformations and failures merge with a range of questions: What may be considered heritage and what not? What lives, what grows and how is it remembered in the city?

A film documents the making of the work during Bruges Triennial 2024 and shows how various generations of the city’s inhabitants witnessed the transformation of this site and the potential they saw, or continue to see in it, to this very day. The film is co-produced with Brugge 2030, with support by the Erfgoedcel and Stadsarchief.

Portret Adrien Tirtiaux Isabelle Pateer
© Isabelle Pateer

Adrien Tirtiaux (b. 1980, Etterbeek, BE) is an artist and architectural engineer. In his practice, he links the two disciplines in installations and contextual interventions that play with indoors and outdoors, fiction and reality. Towers, bridges and steps for example whether functional or not mobilise the public to participate in his work or to reflect on its underlying message.

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