From 15 October 2022 to 15 October 2023, on the initiative of the Uhoda Group, which made this project happen, Liège-Guillemins station becomes the site of a monumental installation by Daniel Buren, one of the world’s best-known artists of French origin.
The work titled ‘Comme tombées du ciel’, ‘Les couleurs in situ et en mouvement’is deployed across all the glass panels of the station canopy to create an interplay of colours. This is an extraordinary work of art that will be constantly in movement, depending on the light of the day, the time of day and the seasons. It is an invitation to the public to look at this architecture afresh, to experience the poetic potential of daily life and discover the unexpected.
I am a fan of breaking down the barriers to contemporary art. One of my main motivations in developing this project was to use a public space to make the work of an internationally recognised artist accessible to as many people as possible and to promote our city on the international cultural scene
Liège-Guillemins international station, which is a veritable cathedral of light, was designed by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, and inaugurated in September 2009. The creation of the station was the cornerstone of the renaissance of the approach Liège takes to mobility. With its vaulted roof of glass and metal, this station is considered an architectural jewel. This is also one of the most frequented stations in the Belgian federal region of Wallonia. France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are within easy reach by Thalys, ICE and InterCity train.
Doing justice to the quality of Santiago Calatrava’s architectural achievement required an artistic concept of equivalent standing. That is how the idea came about of associating the work of Daniel Buren with that of Santiago Calatrava, two great international figures in contemporary creation. They agreed immediately on the interest that a dialogue between art and architecture could have for the public, the more so in an eminently public space like a station. Santiago Calatrava gave Daniel Buren a free hand without even knowing what he had in mind.
It is the sun and the sky that will make these entirely coloured rectangles come to life with their projections onto the platforms, people, trains, objects, the stairs…. These projections will unleash the colour to meander freely. - Daniel Buren
The imposing glass surfaces, which through Santiago Calatrava’s architecture means to convey an omnipresent externality, lightness and transparency, have become the privileged setting for Daniel Buren’s work. By using transparent coloured filters to superimpose large rectangles on half the glass panels, Daniel Buren’s work has enhanced the spatial dimension of this architecture, endowed it with a more accessible visual presence and decorated the building with blocks of colour which will create chromatic projections that will spread throughout the station depending on the movement of natural light. As a result, the public will be able to observe and absorb the variations in the colour of a work which offers a new perspective on a building which was already remarkable in many ways.
Daniel Buren’s starting point was a very precise analysis of the ‘as-is’, taking a minimalist approach to what was there already and then making a proposal for transforming it. Daniel Buren likes to see his work as “borrowing a landscape”, a term taken from the Japanese expression ‘Shakkei’.
The decision to exhibit the work for a full year was deliberate as the work will be in constant motion through the changes of the four seasons. Transforming the building so radically engenders a fresh look at the architecture and provides the impetus for a new approach.