The book of hours
Aluminium, steel, acrylic paint 600 x 1200 x 80 cm
Photos by Louis Bruyneel
The book of hours is a piece produced specifically for the main room of the new building for the administrative centre Leiespiegel in Deinze. It is a room surrounded by big panes of glass that will host the council of the city. Through the glass the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk van Deinze can be seen, with its clock on the top. Despite the proliferation of digital clocks and Smart phones this one is still giving the precise time to the people of Deinze. It is a very nice and light structure attached to the roof covered with slates, with golden Roman numbers and arms. I find very interesting the dialogue between the old medieval building and the extremely new building designed by Tony Fretton. This counterpoint is for me the essence of Europe’s culture: future and past cohabiting and creating a new harmonic structure.
The idea of permanence of the past in the present is at the core of my proposal. The piece is a reproduction of one of the clocks of the church hanging from the centre of the ceiling painted blue. But in this case the arms become two golden discs, one on the other,hiding the centre of the clock and the lower part of the Roman numbers. The discs materialize the continuous rotation of the arms around the clock, as if it were a 3D version of a photograph taken with the shutter opened for 24 hours. Despite the abstract appearance of the piece, the partially hidden Roman golden numbers create a strong link with the real clock that can be seen through the glass.
The book of hours from which this piece takes its name is the most common type of surviving illuminated manuscripts from the middle ages. They were devotional books containing a series of texts, prayers and psalms together with painted images and decoration.