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           Home >  Culture  > Art and Craft  :

'Souvenir de Belgique' - Exhibition of artworks by Lieve Bierque
at the NG Gallery 212 Madras Street, Christchurch
Tuesday13 March - Friday 13 April

Lieve Bierque - 08/03/07

The artworks in the 'Souvenir de Belgique' exhibition deal with absence and presence., living and belonging in New Zealand and simultaneously belonging in Belgium, but not being there. 'World War One' memorabilia have been used in my work. New Zealand soldiers in Flanders Belgium, sent home 'Souvenir de Belgique' hand embroidered cards, from the Flanders Region. Family and friends in New Zealand received these treasured items. I have used some images from these cards, to symbolise the first link between New Zealand and the Flanders Region in Belgium. Remembering and honouring the past for the future is an import part of this exhibition.

When creating my work I am spontaneous. I allow my pieces to become their own entity. Memories are the base of my work. I am especially interested in the power of remembering visual images. Sometimes I call it 'drawing' from the past. The very act of 'drawing' is an act of remembering.

I also collect and keep objects from the past. This gives me an imaginary possession of the past. Treasuring memorable images, accumulating and merging them in mixed media works are ways to preserve the past for the future.

I have developed new associations, new ways of processing information and new ideas about perception. Indulging in content, techniques and materials has been very rewarding.

I have rediscovered the many images, techniques and materials I can take or use to create mixed media prints. In the last few years I had neglected or forgotten that the whole world of sensations and experiences is open for investigation.

I have started searching for traces of my past to which I am connected, with a few old family photos, documents, my own collection of paisley blouses and 'World War One' memorabilia.

Image of a 'Souvenir de Belgique' card
Image of a 'Souvenir de Belgique' card

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Using these elements has been exciting both for the meaning they convey and the formal way in which I have composed the images.

My work deals with absence and presence - living and belonging in New Zealand and simultaneously belonging in Belgium, but not being there.

The systematic reconstruction of my past has become my point of departure.

A holiday trip to Bali in 1990 led to marriage and settling in Christchurch with my husband Gavin Bonnett. The transitions of moving from Belgium and settling in New Zealand are the other two components of my work.

In this exhibition I am only exploring a small part of these themes. The mixed media works that I have completed have a balance of content, ideas and formal considerations.

In the eleven boxes (see images below) with mixed media prints I am redrawing the past, using all types of personal images I have found and created, establishing a moment in time that invites the viewers to have their own thoughts or dreams.

 'Souvenir de Belgique'<br/>Mixed media prints - 350 mm x 350mm
'Souvenir de Belgique'
Mixed media prints - 350 mm x 350mm

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The seven monochrome mixed media works indicate a change, a development in my persona. I manipulate the ink, with gestural movements from light to dark. I build in fine transparent layers timeless landscapes.

Going from vertical to large horizontal landscape compositions did not happen overnight. It was a long voyage. The development happened in a calm, orderly way. A little bit like my favourite poem of "Invitation au Voyage" from Charles Pierre Baudelaire one of the most influential French poets, critic and translator of the nineteenth century. 'Invitation to the Voyage' calls to a distant land, where there is nothing but "grace, measure, richness, quietness, and pleasure." It is a passionate, wistful plea to a lover to embark with the author on a journey to a magical imagined landscape.

3 dimensional installation at the NG Gallery<br/>Souvenir de Belgique ?imagined landscape installation
3 dimensional installation at the NG Gallery
Souvenir de Belgique ?imagined landscape installation

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At the same time I have a passionate desire to express the immeasurable endlessness, powerful and rich influences that the New Zealand landscape has on me.

I'm also intrigued by how I affect my immediate environment and how the environment affects me.

Souvenir de Belgique - Landscape<br/>Mixed media print 600 mm X 1200mm
Souvenir de Belgique - Landscape
Mixed media print 600 mm X 1200mm

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The monochrome colour range in the mixed media print (image above), the dynamic painterly monoprint mark making and the large white empty areas stand for the tension and opposites I experience in 'my voyage' from leaving Belgium and settling and living in New Zealand.

While I am living in New Zealand with my husband Gavin Bonnett, I am collecting a different range of memories, discovering other aspects of my self, speaking another language, living in different seasons, driving on the other side of the road, having family and friends in Belgium, New York, Germany and Luxembourg, etc., etc.

At the same time I can feel a connection with the land - a connection I never felt in Belgium. There I am connected to people. When I go to Belgium it is to meet my family and friends, not for the landscape. Here in New Zealand I feel connected to people and the land.

Souvenir de Belgique 2<br/>	Mixed media print 600 mm X 1800 mm
Souvenir de Belgique 2
Mixed media print 600 mm X 1800 mm

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Lieve Bierque's recent career
After studying several years part time Lieve Bierque received in 2006 a PPTA Study Award and was able to study full time and complete a Bachelor of Design and a Postgraduate Diploma in Design at the CPIT Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.

This year 2007 she has taken up again her full time position as HOD Art (Head of Art Department) at Christchurch Girls' High School.

For information about Lieve's earlier life and career go to "New Zealand Art In Belgium - An Interview With Artist Lieve Bierque"

Editor's comment
Lieve would welcome comments and questions about the exhibition. To add comment to the forum you need to be a member of NZine, so do join now.
It's free and can be done really quickly.


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