A superfluous church in Bossuit, Belgium, originally built to replace a church destroyed in World War I, was made into an artificial ruin to create a new outdoor public space for a village. The new terrazzo floor represented both the elements that were removed during demolition (pillars, ceiling arches, altars etc.) and the shadow of the ruins of the church at the end of World War I. The title references the continuing cycle of destruction and reconstruction experienced by the church since the early Middle Ages.
The church is open and can be used for free by the community who have used it to stage numerous events including fairs, concerts, art exhibitions, light shows and weddings. Community members traveled to Bruges to present on their use of the new space on the occasion of Harvey’s exhibition at the Groeninge Museum in 2014. The project won the Belgian Wivina Demeester Prize for Commissioned Public Art in 2016.
Repeat (St. Amalberga, Bossuit, Belgium), Ellen Harvey, 2013. Partially demolished church, terrazzo floor: 54 x 81’ (16.4 x 24.8 m). Photography: Ria Pacquee & Nino Tondat.
Commissioned by the Municipality of Avelgem in collaboration with the Vlaams Bouwmeester Team. Architect: Pol Sileghem & Partners. Terrazzo fabrication: Nino Tondat.
St. Amalberga Church (interior and exterior in 2009, ruins in 2018), Bossuit, Belgium.