7 WALKS (resolution)
The Musée de la Ville d'eaux in the city of Spa (BE) proposes 7 WALKS (resolution), a project by artist duo Vemeir & Heiremans and legal philosopher Luke Mason. This first public installment of an extended collaboration between the museum and the artists offers an experimental perspective on the city's rich history of water.
7 WALKS (resolution) consists of a series of walks in the therapeutical landscape around the city. These walks will inform and complement a presentation in development at the Musée de la Ville d'eaux, with archival documents and maps that will situate the walks into an historical and socio-economic context.
Spa became renowned for its medicinal water as early as the 16th century. Its ferruginous springs not only attracted many visitors, it was also exported internationally. Gradually the city became the so-called 'Café de l'Europe'. Visited by kings and czars, political refugees, artists and philosophers, it was a peaceful haven where a wide range of philosophies, social questions and artistic visions could interact. The 'bobelins', as the locals used to call these international visitors, walked through the surrounding forests, along landscaped paths on their way to the springs. They came to see and be seen, for diplomacy or espionage, and even for the arts. The local painter Antoine Fontaine depicted these illustrious visitors in Le Livre d'Or (1894), a 9 metres wide group portrait spanning four centuries of visitors.
7 WALKS (resolution) draws inspiration from the intangible legacy of historical walkers and, strongly anchored in a local context, invites its participants to explore a balance between private property of and access to resources that we hold in common as a society. Spa offers the project the unique opportunity for a series of itinerant reflections on water and art.
Each of the walks embodies this thematic focus through a selection of inspiring historical visitors, such as the art dealer Ernest Gambart (1814-1902) who lived at the Château d'Alsa in Spa. Before settling in Spa, Gambart's London business unquestionably pioneered the commercial gallery system as is still in use today. The project also includes the philosopher J.P. Proudhon. When living in Brussels as a refugee of justice, he regularly visited the liberal journalist and social utopist Alexandre Delhasse in Spa. Or the key figure of Realist painting Gustave Courbet, who befriended Proudhon, and promoted his ideas on mutualism. Courbet visited Spa during a journey through the Low Lands.
7 WALKS (resolution) responds to current and recently intensified debates about the necessity and position of art in today's society. Like water, art can be considered a basic necessity of life, a proposal that many international resolutions have promoted. The project questions how basic human rights enter into dialogue with individual private property and exclusive use rights.
Starting point for all the walks is the Musée de la Ville d'eaux.
Participation in the walks is free, but the number of participants per walk is limited.
Walks are in French or English.
Inscription is required and starts from 16 August 2021.
Information and inscription (required):
Musée de la Ville d'eaux
telephone: +3287 77 44 86
28 August – 7 November
Opening 28 August, 14-18h with an introduction by Vermeir & Heiremans and Luke Mason followed by a brief walk (16-17h) in the vicinity of the Musée.
The series of walks:
between 10 – 19 September, 14-18h
more details from 17 August 2021: www.spavillaroyale.be
7 WALKS (resolution), a co-production between Musée de la Ville d'eaux (Spa), Jubilee (Brussels) and Westminster University (London), is supported by the Flemish Community and by the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Un Futur pour la Culture).
Starting point of the walks:
Musée de la ville d'Eaux
Avenue Reine Astrid 77b