Brussels probably has the best collection of artworks in the world in all its metro stations (more than 80). It is like an underground art gallery that you visit and experience with a minimal metro ticket or two. If you love art and want to see a few great ones in an unusual setting, hop on a metro in Brussels. I did a tour with my friend who visited from Germany and it was a wonderful way to show her this beautiful city.
Let me share the top 5 artworks in the Brussels metro.
Thieffry metro station – ‘Aequus Nox’ (Tinted Mirrors) By Vic Gentils, 1976
Created by assembling tiny pieces of glass, this work is a celebration of all races across the continents. Gentils was an ‘assemblagist,’ who used shards of various objects to create masterpieces. The angled glass pieces make a dazzling explosion of light, depicting sun in the background and figures of different skin tones from different parts of the world, together. I loved the concept and it is the most relevant of our times.
Tomberg metro station – ‘Movements’ By Guy Rombouts and Monica Droste, 1998
The artist couple invented the AZART style of alphabets where each is denoted a design and a colour. They used the Portuguese Azulejo tiles to execute these designs for the station. There is a sense of movement in the alphabets and the tiles are amazingly colourful and therapeutic to look at.
Vandervelde metro station – ‘La Grand Taupe et Le Petit Peintre’ By Paul De Gobert, 1982
One of my favourites, these are two long panels on both platforms, acrylic on the wall. The artist painted the landscape as it was before the station was built. His idea was to show how urban life pushes nature behind. Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter – all four seasons are represented with the flora and fauna of the area. The blues and greens make for a very soothing palette.
Mérode metro station – ‘Ensor: Vive la Sociale’ By Roger Raveel, 1976
This oil-on-canvas panel in the images was done by artist Roger Raveel in 1976. You can see his tribute to artists Jan Van Eyck and James Ensor with the figures. Raveel wanted to blend art with the environment and the following lines are etched around the stairs of the station.
‘Come and live in the forest/ Building land for sale/with the authorization to cut down all the trees.’
I particularly loved Raveel’s figure inspired by Ensor.
Stockel metro station – ‘Tintin dans la metro’ By Studio Hergé (1988)
Hergé passed away in 1983 but the station features these original sketches by him. They were implemented at the metro in 1988 by Studio Hergé and feature over 140 characters from 22 Tintin albums. One of my absolute favourites because I’m a huge fan of Tintin comics and have grown up reading them!
Take a look around these and more in Brussels metro and let me know which ones are your favourite.
This article is written by Priyanka Roy Banerjee, writer & editor at Writersmelon and blogger at One and a Half Minutes and Moreechikaa (মরীচিকা). You can also follow Priyanka on Instagram to discover more of her Brussels inspirations.