MEAULNES/Gerolf van de Perre

08 September 2016 - 06 November 2016

What would it be like to stroll (literally) through a book? Painter Gerolf Van de Perre drew inspiration from the book Le Grand Meaulnes, the only novel by the French author Alain-Fournier, published in 1913. This ‘coming of age’ story tells about the friendship between the tormented, adventurous Meaulnes and the somewhat timid schoolteacher’s son, François Seurel.

Gerolf Van de Perre (born in Sint-Amandsberg in 1965), who previously also explored sources from just before the Great War, has set out a trail through the book. In three major ‘acts’, you are taken past the various stages of the story, which are spread throughout the castle.

The charm and the mystery of Meaulnes are experienced not only in images, but also in sounds and scents. The central scene of the book takes place in a mysterious castle, where a young woman plays the piano during a party. This image has inspired us to include, in collaboration with Pianos Maene, a number of historic and more recent pianos in the exhibition. These are played regularly, for example, by piano teachers and pupils of the Academie Peter Benoit Lennik.

In collaboration with The Library of Fragrance (UK) and Senteurs d’Ailleurs (Brussels), we wish to increase the intensity of the experience. The Library of Fragrance produces scents that we smell every day: from talcum powder to fresh hay. ‘We want to stir fragrant memories, stimulate curiosity about scent, celebrate the often underappreciated sense of smell and create products that allow individuals to select fragrance based on their own preferences.’ The fragrances of things such as a school classroom and a blacksmith’s forge impart a nostalgic and mysterious feeling to the castle rooms.

A story about youth’s dreams, about ‘la princesse lointaine’, about a world now slipping away, in which strong emotions are written in capital letters.

Pictures: Gerolf Van de Perre, 'Embarquement', 'Magic Lantern' en 'Nocturnal Ramble', 2015

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