The Voeten Collection represents a unique combination of both Belgian and international works. Currently it comprises over 1700 art pieces that have been collected during a period of more than 40 years. They are exhibited in two separate locations – at the Art Center close to Herentals and at the sculpture park near Gheel.

Fabrizio Plessi

Trittico, 2010, drawing, mixed media on paper and wooden model, 49 x 72 cm and 43 x 10 x 29,5 cm

Trittico or triptych (2010) of the well-known contemporary video-artist Fabrizio Plessi (°1940, Regio Emilia, Italy) exists of a drawing and a wooden model of three ships for the spacious installation MARI VERTICALI, that was on view in 2011 in the 54th Venice Biennale and was produced for Louis Vuitton. Three black colossal steal vessels were installed vertically in the Venetian pavilion. Within these vessels videos showed the continuous movement and transformation of waterfalls, bathed in a bright blue light and surrounded by the echoing sound of the waves as seen on the video screens. With this installation Plessi inaugurated the restoration of the pavilion. He arranged his vessels in accordance with the rationalistic, half circular architecture. 

In his oeuvre Plessi pays attention to natural elements and combines, like a modern alchemist, archetypical materials with technology. The Italian artist connects past, present and future and coalesces craftsmanship and symbols of the past with the recently developed newest media. Some of Plessi's other works, such as Trittico della Lava (2007) and Il trittico della violenza (2002) indicate that the artist chose repeatedly for the formal language of the triptych. Plessi regularly made numerous and colorful sketch drawings and designs prior to his installations, that provide an insight into his design process.

In 1976 Plessi created the sculpture MARE ORIZZONTALE, that consists out of two horizontal video monitors placed together showing the sea. This was the start of Plessi's phase of video sculptures. Preliminary to these wooden models and the drawing for MARI VERTICALI, Plessi designed several variants of this sculptural concept. Commissioned by the Italian government, the artist created in 2000 the work MARE VERTICALE for EXPO 2000 in Hannover: a 44 meter high steal structure depicting a ship with a sizable LED screen that displays once more an electronic simulation of the eternal movement of the waves of the ocean. For the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005 Plessi produced a new version of this work. This sculpture was placed at the entrance of the Giardini della Biennale and thus became in a way the trademark of the city. On the occasion of the regatta or boat race 'Louis Vuitton Trophy' in 2010, Plessi set up MARI VERTICALI, a fleet of twelve enormous black steal vessels, tilting 45°, in the old shipyard of the island La Maddalena. On 48 monitors, affixed in the vessels, were wildly flowing ocean waves depicted. Later that same year, this installation got re-erected in a slightly different formation and exhibited for three weeks in front of the Burj Al Khalifa in Dubai inside an illuminated pyramid of Louis Vuitton. In such a setting the installations of Plessi breath grandeur and luxury. Video designer Matthias Schnabel accommodated every vessel with a four meter long video-installation representing the fizzy ocean water. The visitors got submersed in an overwhelming soundscape of splashing waves. In 2012 eventually, was in the exhibition Blù, in the Galleria Contini Venice, another series of projects on view with the same theme as MARI VERTICALI. Next to works in museums and art fairs, Plessi also installed numerous scenes for operas, concerts and ballet performances.

Plessi is described as 'master of water'. For the artist water, that is traditionally conceived as a seducing, but also deceiving, female element, has a male power. Plessi praises water for her flowing character and consequently as a symbol of change. Unlike other materials that Plessi uses, such as iron, marble, coal, wood, sand, is water flexible, dynamic and able to change form. It is a seemingly unpredictable, but rhythmic steady element that Plessi opposes to the inflexibility and severity of the steal of the ships and the rigor of the construction.

The artist adds a fluent material to a hard, austere structure as a suggestion of inner life, because where there is water, there is life. He mixes the mechanical with the organic and poetical and naturalizes in that way technology. At the same time Plessi plays with the idea of water as a sublime natural force and emphasizes the universality of energy, that manifests itself in the natural form of water as well as in an electronic form. Next to that, water for Plessi is also autobiographic and linked to his residence Venice.

Text: Sarah Gallasz