Wesley Meuris’ Memento – A place to leave your worries behind

Wesley Meuris - Memento Public, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium
Wesley Meuris – Memento, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium

What is it?

Memento is a circular pavilion that was created by Belgian artist Wesley Meuris. This beautiful white pavilion is located on the outskirts of the little Flemish town of Borgloon. Being situated directly on the slope, Memento overlooks the central graveyard found in the medieval city that has been nicknamed Central Burial by the locals.

Wesley Meuris - Memento Public, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium
Wesley Meuris – Memento, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium

Memento has a white, smooth tiled exterior that attracts visitors from miles away. The monument’s site is an anchor point for the sloping countryside that invites visitors to step in and experience the marvel that is the pavilion through the narrow slots that act as entrances into the space. The slender gaps in between act like some sort of sundial, thus effectively creating beautiful shadows around the circle.

Wesley Meuris - Memento Public, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium
Wesley Meuris – Memento, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium

The square tiles that were used to build the pavilion were created in relief, which simply means that the sculpture was designed on a flat surface. This arrangement is what allows the tiles of the pavilion to keep making different shapes and patterns whenever the sun streams in through the gaps.

Wesley Meuris - Memento Public, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium
Wesley Meuris – Memento, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium

According to Meuris, Memento was created for contemplation and thinking. The white steel structure has been designed to expose the nearby landscape through its openings. It towers over the observer, which challenges one’s imagination, thus allowing one to interpret the structure in many different ways.

Wesley Meuris - Memento Public, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium
Wesley Meuris – Memento, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium

Location

Address: Lambertusstraat 111, 3840 Borgloon, Belgium
Hours: 24h

Construction and design process

The pavilion was initiated by the Municipality of Borgloon and Z33 to build a new symbol and an interesting art project that would help represent the importance of the burial ground to the local community. But Meuris did not create this project alone.

Wesley Meuris - Memento Public, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium
Wesley Meuris – Memento, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium

Because it was commissioned by the municipality, the pavilion was created with the participation of the local community members, undertakers, counselors from various religious faiths, denominations, and members of the local art group- art Borgloon.

Wesley Meuris - Memento Public, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium
Wesley Meuris – Memento, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium

Once the community members had expressed what they were looking for in a monument, the next step involved looking for a respectable artist that could help the locals realize their vision.

Wesley Meuris - Memento Public, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium
Wesley Meuris – Memento, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium

The municipality, community members, and Z33 were looking for an artwork that could lend a sense of three-dimensional integration to the cemetery and one that would serve as a link between the unity of life here on earth and that of the afterlife.

Wesley Meuris - Memento Public, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium
Wesley Meuris – Memento, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium

The community perused many artists, but they felt drawn to the work of Belgian artist Wesley Meuris. After months of consultations, Meuris made a final sketch of the masterpiece he wanted to create, a clean, white and circular steel pavilion containing linear patterns of the burial ground. The pavilion was to be 5 meters high and 10 meters wide and visible from afar to act as a beacon for those looking to visit.

Wesley Meuris - Memento Public, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium
Wesley Meuris – Memento, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium

At night, Memento becomes washed with pure light from the moon and stars, which helps to make the monument even more awe-inspiring. Open yet closed, Memento is often used by arriving visitors and residents as a space for seclusion, contemplation, and reflection. When one stands in the pavilion, it is impossible to hear any noises from the exterior, making it a lot easier for those experiencing the monument to leave their worries behind.

Wesley Meuris - Memento Public, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium
Wesley Meuris – Memento, 2012, 500 x 1000 x 1000 cm, installation view, Central Burial of Borgloon, Belgium

 

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