Bruges Triennial 2018: Artists of the floating world; Chris Zacharia; Flux Magazine

Belgium – Historic Centre of Brugge

‘If we had tried to do this a few years ago’ jokes Till-Holger Bolchert. ‘the answer wouldn’t have just been ‘no’. You would’ve been exiled’

Bruges’ Triennial has not come easy. First founded in the 1970s, this artistic takeover of Bruges’ historic city-centre fell victim to political squabbles a decade later.

‘After that, the art scene collapsed here. Everything went to Brussels’ explains Michel Dewilde, a curator.

But since 2012, the Triennial has returned, and is now reshaping Bruges for a second time.

‘It’s not just about attracting tourists’ says Till. ‘It’s about giving something back to the local community, to give them something which genuinely helps them’.

Bruges, a picturesque European port, feels like a work of art in and of itself. A UNESCO world heritage site, the locals’ conservative attitude toward the city centre makes change difficult. Restarting the Triennial took a great deal of work.

Yet the results have been worth the effort. The installations add a new dimension to Bruges, bring surprise and pizzazz to the city’s orderly centre. It all makes the Triennial a great time to visit Flanders.

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