Read between the lines

In a green field in Haspengouw, on a rise overlooking a rolling landscape, there’s a small semi-transparent chapel. It seems transparent because it’s made of horizontal lines that seem to float, stacked on top of each other with nothing but air holding them apart. It’s only when you get close, right next to it in fact, that you discover that it’s made of steel, rusted to a warm brown patina.

The structure is actually an art installation called “Reading Between the Lines,” by Leuven-based architectural team Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, comprised of Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh. It’s part of a series of outdoor public works dotted around the area and commissioned by Z33, the contemporary art organization based in nearby Hasselt. At the tourist office in Borgloon, you can get a map of all the installations with information about the artists.

The chapel appears more or less substantial (less or more transparent) depending on your proximity to it and your viewing angle. From inside, you look through the steel slats and view the surrounding landscape as a series of horizontal stripes or bars. The structure itself prompts you to “read between the lines” and asks, What is a building? Where does architecture stop and art begin? It also invites you to read the landscape between the lines of its material substance.


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