News - Stefaan van Biesen





[Utopia, just around the corner?] Urban Emptiness Neme Art Centre Limassol Cyprus February 2017.


This exhibition is based on the 'Utopia, just around the corner?' December 2016 in Braga Portugal by Geert Vermeire, Annemie Mestdagh and Stefaan van Biesen.


Installation in the Art Centre. Outdoors performance by Marielys Lely Burgos [NY-Porto Rico] based on 2 sound compositions 'Inhale The City' by Stefaan van Biesen specialy for this event [24:17].



A performance at the opening of the Urban Emptiness exhibition in Limassol, Cyprus. February 4 at 8.30 pm in Neme Arts Center. This opening will be preceded by a seminar at the nearby University of Limassol about media, silence, walking/movement in urban space in relation to UE, between 5.30 pm and 8 pm. Geert Vermeire will moderate a conversation/presentation. A talk about your experiences within Urban Emptiness 2016 and possible future approaches.


Urban Emptiness


The project suggests an interdisciplinary investigation of emptiness and silence in three contemporary cities: Athens, Edinburgh and Brussels. The aim is to highlight the importance of real and imaginary/hidden landscapes in the urban environment and explore different conditions of intimacy in their understanding. Through three main actions that involve different methodological strategies (workshops, performative projects, open discussions and exhibitions), the project intends to contribute to the discourse about the social, educational, financial, ecological and cultural value of an experiential/performative understanding of silence and emptiness in urban life. Acknowledging the significance of the contribution of diverse groups of people in its results, this pilot study invites university students and local citizens in its actions.







A performance based on a tea ritual. Conversations, soundscapes, smell, gestures are part of an alternating talk and performance focusing on the relation between water, writing and the city during an ad hoc temporary exhibition as a flow of drawings, prints, sounds and videos. We redefine the tea ritual as a literary and artistical meeting place inspired by Venice and the (wordless) conversations between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan in the novel Invisible Cities of Calvino. Moments of keeping silence interchange with conversations, intertwined with ideas about society and liquid cities, and the sharing about the taste of tea and other facets of tasting and sensorial experience. The body and senses becomes an instrument of knowledge and of communication between people and cities.



[ Water Carrier III & VI ] For I am water. Digital print size: 3 meters long.

The tea ceremony is multidisciplinary. Conversations, sound, soundscapes, smell, gestures are integrated. Parallel events are a series of performances and talks based on the topic and an exhibition with a flux of drawings, prints and the video-performances 'We wish we were like water' (Braga, Museu Biscainhos 2010), 'Writing in water' (Venice Biennale 2007 & 2015) and 'Liquid islands' (Venice Biennale 2011) next to the video-poems “Antarctica” (Brasilia, 1a Feira Intercional do Livro / Museu Nacional) connected to the installation “Spirals / Mater” including a public performance. Production: the Milena principle.



[Traces of Rain] a current and ongoing project in Europe.



[Traces of Rain] is a project for the 'Water Carrier' event. Almost every day rain is captured on a drawing sheet and collected as an urban ritual. A sequence of rainwater of several places and conditions, on places the artist is visiting. Name and place of the spot, where the rain is captured, is mentioned on the paper. The whole series is shown during the event. A vaporated trace of memory of rainy days, somewhere in Europe.




[Traces of Memory] an ongoing, current project with Dr. Shaomin Xue [China/Belgium].



Shaomin xue is an Chinese doctor, who teaches and is practicing Chinese medicin, influenced by her homeland, the philosophy of Confusius. In China writing is considered as art. The drawings and watercolours of Stefaan van Biesen are a field of thoughts and combine two cultures, making connections with different views.





[O Voo Do Garajau] book cover publication scientific essay prof. Maria do Rosário ⋈ University Braga Portugal.



Prof. Maria do Rosário wrote [04.07.2014]:

Dear Stefaan, your drawing is magnificent for the following reasons:

1.     Its framing and different planes telepathically reflect the theme of our book.  We’ll focus now on the upper and lower planes: high up, there it is, the tern, flying free and ethereal; and below, the ruins of São Paulo’s Church, unchangeable and eternal; on the one hand, the ascension or rise of which the migratory bird is a symbol; and, on the other, the earthly permanence crystallized in the monument; on the one hand, spirituality; on the other, materiality.

2.     Symbology: the flight suggested by the non-static movement of the wings of the tern, the dotted lines that reproduce the sea routes, and the blurs that represent the islands of the Archipelago and the back and forth movement of the itinerary; the tern’s almost joyful humanized look, as though Joy is the source, course and purpose of its trajectory.

3.     Colour: the bluish white colour of the tern, imbued of sea and soaring heights; the shades of blue and white denoting insularity (the land and the sea); the ochre tonalities of the ruins, filtered, perhaps, by a ray of light, as a symbol of the passage of the bird.


We are deeply grateful for your sublime drawing. Indeed, never has any of our previous books had a cover that can compare to this one.

Maria do Rosário and Manuel José




[Chlorophilia - Inner Fluids] [Biodiversity]



Chlorophilia (Greek: ‘chloros’ pale green + ‘philia’ love), was introduced in 2004 by the journalist Bob Hoss (Cholorophilia - Exploratorium). He referred to a remarkable phenomenon: the physical and sexual attraction that scientists believe to feel for the natural world, specifically for plants and trees. He described it as a form of 'being in love' that expressed itself in, among other things, embracing and hugging trees and in an extreme interest in gardening. An ambivalent emotional attitude that was at odds with the objectivity in research, the rationality that you would expect from scientists.

Hoss made ​​the analysis that the phenomenon Chlorophilia was a passionate force that drove people to see their admiration and attraction as an impulse that leads to change and respect. The increasingly blurred line between culture and the natural world served as a forum to explore how aesthetics and morality were closely related to each other. 'Chlorophilia' became a common denominator for the work of breeders, (ecological) garden communities and researchers, both by artists and experts in a tradition as old as human culture.

In recent decades the dialogue between art and science has become visible again through a social, societal and environmental undercurrent. It has become an exciting encounter between reason and intuition, body and spirit, culture and nature. A cherished utopy of opposites that are not entirely irreconcilable in my world.

Respect for our natural world, wonder as an instrument to a creative process in everyday life, are ingredients for biodiversity in all its aspects. To see ourselves less as consumers, but rather as global citizens. Ecology as a synonym for "caring", a social engagement, a transnational attitude with a compelling question, not in isolation, but standing in the world. Life and art as a silent, tender gesture that doesn't occur unnoticed.

Every action has a meaning for someone, or the 'other'. Deep inside, we do not escape the sprouting, boundless wisdom of biodiversity in which everyone and everything is interconnected. That "even the flight of a butterfly has an effect on the entire planet".

Stefaan van Biesen 2014.




O Passeio Branco [White Walk] Lisbon Walks ⋈ Saramago ⋈ Pessoa ⋈ Ricardo Reis 2015.



Ricardo Reis is the departing point of an urban and academical research to Spaziergangwissenschaft (the science of walking) in relation to the literary works of José Saramago and Fernando Pessoa. A research project by Simona Vermeire and a creative process by Stefaan Van Biesen will go aside and interact, leading to an exhibition in the Pessoa Museum in Lisbon, urban interventions and geolocated sound walk in Lisbon connecting the Pessoa Museum with the Casa dos Bicos - Foundation José Saramago. The project Passeio Branco will be part of a post-doctoral study by Simona Vermeire in collaboration with curator Geert Vermeire and noTours. The project is supported by the Foundation José Saramago. 


The spirit of Fernando Pessoa wanders through the streets of Lisbon. Ricardo Reis meets Pessoa after his death. He wanders through the city, in his mind and thoughts. José Saramago let them live again as urban nomads. All three they wander through the city, connected by the power of their beauty and poetry. Shadows of connection.


See drawings pdf file ' O Passeio Branco'.






Sensitive Islands [Spaziergangwissenschaft] [Walking as an absolute science].




Sensitive Islands [Spaziergangwissenschaft]
[Walking as an absolute science]. Philosophical scale models: writings, reflections, drawings, models, performances about society, ecology versus economy. It is seen as a forum for discussion about sociological and ecological visions. In this project there are links to Alfred Dürer [1471-1528], Caspar David Friedrich [1774-1840], Friedrich Nietzsche [1844-1900], Fernando Pessoa [1888-1935], Joseph Beuys [1921-1986], Luis Baragan [1902-1988], Willem Schinkel [1976], ...





©stefaan van biesen-annemie mestdagh 13.03.2017