Remember Souvenir

Nothing stays the same forever. But isn’t that what makes life interesting? Street artists know this better than most. Once second your surrealist painting of an elephant with tentacles is looming on the side of a brick building by the train tracks and the next minute it has transformed into a shadowy picture of three children with television sets instead of heads. C’est la vie.   Belgian born urban artist Denis Meyers has taken the concept of borrowed time to the extreme. His most ambitious and consuming work as of yet, Remember Souvenir, is covering a building destined to be demolished by mid-May… and that’s the point.   The building, which was commissioned by the Belgian philanthropist and industrialist Ernest Solvay, currently stands (though not for long) in Ixelles. It was constructed in 1883 by architects Constant Bosmans and Henri Vandevelde, however Solvay's business, and subsequently his building, continued to expand well into the mid-1960s.  Now, 4 years after the Solvay company has since vacated, there are plans for it to be converted into residential homes and gardens designed by landscape architect Wirtz.But not before Meyers could get his hand on the space and transform it into what is, very likely to be, what the inside of this mind looks like.   Now, 2000 spray cans and 1500 paint bombs later, his black and white artwork covers nearly every inch of the 50,000 m2 former office space. The words and images from 150 sketchbooks spill over walls and windows. Meyer's personal memoirs are plastered across every surface. The names of his children, lines of poetry by Rene Char, as well as incomprehensible private thoughts from over the last 20 years, consume the doomed eight story building. Meyers is not alone in this project though. He has asked artists such as Jean-Luc Moerman, Arnaud Kool and Steve Locatelli to join him on this journey through the past. The instructions were clear: first, using black and white paint in order to match the rest of the building, each artist will decorate one room- making it their own. Then Meyers and one of the artists will paint a room together. Finally, at the end of their time together in the condemned building, Meyers will will paint a mural of all the artists together.   And then, only days later, the building will cease to exist. “I’ll tell you a secret. Something they don’t teach you in your temple. The Gods envy us.  They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be out last.  Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are no. We will never be here again,” -Homer, The Iliad 

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