The sculpture “Sint-Begga is protecting a beguine”* and a nearby stain on the street (resulting from an asphalt repair) are set in a formal connection to each other. A simplified replica of the stain was resized according to the Sint-Begga sculpture and installed vertically next to it. The replica is an about 4,50 m high wood construction painted in a shade of grey that matches with the colour of the asphalt.
The work Heavenwards puts the coincidently close to the statuary occurred form in relation with the sculpture’s scale, position, posture and also its content. The form of the reparation not only refers to the shape of the plinth of the sculpture, vertically placed the shape also becomes a silhouette of a simple representation of a building. It refers strangely to the Sint-Begga figure that is shown carrying a model of a chapel or a church with her left arm, symbolising the fact that she has founded seven churches. Her right arm points to the sky, a gesture that besides referring to ‘higher’ powers also fits to her life’s work. Also here the vertically placed asphalt- shape connects very well with the statuary; furthermore with the window-like opening that is framing the two figures of the sculpture.
By stressing these strange ‘coincidences’ Heavenwards creates a situation that connects the sculpture and its history and meaning in an almost miracle way with the present. It can absolutely be considered as a contemporary homage to Sint-Begga’s mystical qualities.
The temporary installation was developed and realized in the scope of the exhibition ‘Virus’ in NETWERK, Centrum for Contemporary Art in Aalst, Belgium in October /November 2014. info: http://www.netwerk-art.be
*On Friday the 30th may 1975 the sculpture "Sint-Begga is protecting a beguine" was placed close to the Sint-Catharinakerk, church of the Aalst béguinage. Before that time the sculpture used to be on the grave of former abbess Joanna Van der Straeten (1797-1872) on the municipal graveyard.
The sculpture was made by the sculptor Léonard Victor Wéry (1829-1883) who was educated at the Academy of Brussels, were he was a student of Willem Geefs. Wéry moved to Aalst in 1864 where he, in 1871, was becoming a teacher at the local Art Academy. (source: www.aalst.be, monumentenzorg)
photography Helmut Dick