I.XI.XIV

Maxim Willemspad 1
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8300 Knokke-Heist

In 2014 Conrad Willems started a series of architectural sculptures fashioned from natural stone. These are dubbed Constructions and this is precisely what they are, built with loosely stacked blocks. The shapes with which he works in this series have been pre-determined: they take the form of the well-known, wooden play blocks developed by the pedagogue Friedrich Fröbel in the 19th century. Free play with these wooden blocks yields a construction which is subsequently executed on a larger scale and in a specifically selected natural stone.

Building upon this Constructions series, in 2020 the artist completed the work I.XI.XIV: a monumental sculpture for the international group exhibition ‘Hortus Conclusus’ in Bellinzona, Switzerland. This sculpture consists of three enlarged shapes from Fröbel’s set of blocks, executed in red marble. The three elements appear solid, but this is not the case—they are in fact constructed from marble sheets which are invisibly glued to a metal structure. The Rouge Griotte marble hails from Belgium’s last active red marble quarry.

I.XI.XIV was exhibited for 12 months in the public park in which the museum is located. For the next two years, the artwork will grace the garden of Scharpoord Cultural Centre.

This artwork was created with the support of Potier Stone, Cromarbo and Merbes Sprimont.

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