In Looz, Belgium, a church you can read between the lines

Gijs Van Vaerenberg, église, Looz, Belgique, Lire entre les lignes

Gijs Van Vaerenbergh’s work is no mirage

Reading between the lines is a project by the Gijs Van Vaerenbergh duo, a collaboration between young Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh. Since 2007, the two artists have been working on architectural projects, but always with an artistic intent. Their projects do not always originate from the client’s initiative, which leaves them with a high degree of autonomy. The viewer is at the heart of their preoccupations: experience, reflection and physical interaction.

Gijs Van Vaerenberg, église, Looz, Belgique, Lire entre les lignes

Reading between the lines is part of an artistic journey featuring works by several dozen artists from the Borgloon-Heers region (in the Flemish province of Limburg). Lost in the middle of the Belgian countryside, this unusual church is a true work of art, capable of removing any notion of space and time. At first glance, there’s nothing ordinary about this church, but in reality the monument is full of mystery. Depending on the angle from which you look, the building transforms itself like a mirage. The church almost disappears into the landscape, giving the illusion of being suspended above the countryside.

Gijs Van Vaerenberg, église, Looz, Belgique, Lire entre les lignes Gijs Van Vaerenberg, église, Looz, Belgique, Lire entre les lignes

The work exactly reproduces the lines of the local church in the background, that of the village of Looz. Depending on the viewer’s perspective, the small chapel can be perceived as a massive building, or it can dissolve, partially or totally, into the landscape. Viewers looking outwards from inside the church witness an abstract interplay of lines that reshapes the surrounding landscape. In this way, both the church and the landscape can be seen as part of the work, hence the name, which implies that you have to read between the lines. In other words: the church makes the subjective experience of the landscape visible, and vice versa.

Gijs Van Vaerenberg, église, Looz, Belgique, Lire entre les lignes

This « church » consists of 30 tonnes of steel and 2,000 columns, and is built on a reinforced concrete base. Thanks to the use of horizontal plates, the concept of the traditional church is transformed into a transparent artistic object.

Gijs Van Vaerenberg, église, Looz, Belgique, Lire entre les lignes Gijs Van Vaerenberg, église, Looz, Belgique, Lire entre les lignes Gijs Van Vaerenberg, église, Looz, Belgique, Lire entre les lignes Gijs Van Vaerenberg, église, Looz, Belgique, Lire entre les lignes

And here’s a video showing how the church was set up:

Photo credits: Filip Dujardin (via Gijs Van Vaerenbergh), Z33 Art center