The 4th edition of the Bruges Triennial – Spaces of Possibility – explores the latent potential of the city. How can a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where preservation is central, deal with concepts such as change and sustainability, and how can contemporary art and architecture create a new framework for these processes?
The past three years have brought many things into focus. We are challenged to think differently, adopt new methods and use materials and resources more intelligently if we want to prioritise our well-being and that of the planet. The role that public space assumes in this story is essential: of movement, encounter and creativity, of perspective, flexibility, chance and freedom. In Bruges too. A city shaped by a succession of histories and which, since its foundation in the 9th century, has continued to evolve into the mesh we know today: a 13th-century structure that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 and which, at 8.6 kilometres in circumference and 430-hectares in area, remains a city on a human scale.
'With TRIBRU24 we are focusing on a subject close to all our hearts: space. Space to live, to work, to meet and to relax. In a city where conservation takes centre stage, how can we consider concepts such as sustainability and transformation? With Spaces of Possibility, we want to work with artists and architects to create fresh opportunities and bring beauty into what is often overlooked. A collective exercise in thinking about the (historic) city of today and tomorrow.'
Twelve international artists and architects are redefining – if only temporarily – some of the city’s un(der)used or scarcely noticed locations. With their artistic interventions and large-scale installations, they connect urban districts, demonstrate new forms of use and search for beauty in typically overlooked places.
The works – primarily around the city centre and West-Bruges and one in Zeebrugge – address its history, its rich patrimony and create new social, societal and ecological narratives that can initiate further sustainable transformation – not only for Bruges, but also for cities worldwide.
Bruges Triennial 2024: Spaces of Possibility is an invitation to leave the familiar terrain, find inspiration and be amazed at how things can be done. An exercise in imagination; a glimpse of what Bruges, and cities in general, can be, both today and in the future.
'This edition sees the city as a place ripe with possibility. Contemporary art and architecture are deployed to enable a spatial or mental shift. I hope the exhibition can become a shared process, in which artists, architects, partners and the public are mutually reinforcing.'