Gazing Ball: Reflective Dialogues

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Date: 2024
Ref: 1258
Materials: Steel powder-painted, bronze, Belgium blue stone
Dimensions: 550 h x 470 x 470 cm
Exhibition history: 2024 Beaufort Art Triennial, Belgium
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta

For the 8th Beaufort Triennial curated by Els Wuyts, Lucy + Jorge Orta have created Gazing Ball: Reflective Dialogues for the Beaufort Sculpture Park, which extends 67km along the Belgium coast.

The Gazing Ball is installed in the town of Middelkerke. Visitors are greeted by the contours of a small architecture – open and boundless – a figure in bronze, Gyptis, invites people to enter through one of the four passage ways. In Greek mythology Gyptis is a Ligurian princess. Eluding feminine power she is a confident and determined woman who choses Protis, a Greek navigator as her partner. According to the myth, she offers him a chalice of water as a signal that she wishes to bridge the sea of cultural difference. Water is the mediator of this union.

In the nave of the gathering space, resembling a compass rose, is a large reflective sphere that crowns the artwork, capturing the constantly shifting play of light and shadow. As in previous Potential Architecture works by the artists, the reflections offer new perspectives on the landscape while humbly situating the viewers within their surroundings. Seated within, visitors are given a moment for contemplation, self-reflection, and to engage in conversation. Its art on a human scale.

Gazing Ball: Reflective Dialogues also pays homage to adjacent Radio Oostende station. Wireless telegraphy played a crucial role in ensuring safety along the Oostende-Dover route, serving as an essential connection between the shore and ships. The sculpture not only establishes a tangible connection between people, but also a symbolic connection between heaven and earth, land and sea, past and present.