Lonely Planet Writer

Amazing installations are scattered across Bruges' canals for the 2018 Triennial

With its cobbled lanes, calm canals and quaint, medieval buildings, the Belgian city of Bruges is like something out of a fairy-tale. But for the next four months, visitors will be getting even more than they bargained for, as 15 contemporary artists and architects from all over the world have created otherworldly, eye-catching installations that transform the façade of the town.

The colourful, floating Selgascano Pavilion at Bruges Triennial.
The colourful, floating Selgascano Pavilion at Bruges Triennial. Image by Iwan Baan

On display until 16 September, the installations are part of the Bruges Triennial, and respond to the event’s theme entitled, “Liquid City”. Situated on and around the water in the centre of the town, the artworks invite passers-by to consider their meaning and see Bruges in a completely different way. A map brings walkers on a route through the area, with the installations spaced out at different key locations.

Lanchals, designed by John Powers.
Lanchals, designed by John Powers. Image by Iwan Baan

Installations include Polish artist Jarosław Kozakiewicz’s Brug, a contemporary structure that uses metal profiles and canvas to create a bridge that takes visitors from one side of the canal to the other, as well as a vibrant, floating pavilion from Spanish architectural firm Selgascano that has bright pink transparent walls.

ACHERON I by Renato Nicolodi.
ACHERON I by Renato Nicolodi. Image by Iwan Baan

Another striking piece is Lanchals by John Powers, an impressively tall sculpture shaped like a swan’s neck that is installed in a square by the water and draws inspiration from the rich history and folklore of Bruges. Renato Nicoldi’s Acheron I is an on-water sculpture that features stairs leading downwards, symbolising a journey to the underworld. Near Bruges’ statue of Jan Van Eyck, a piece by Studiokcka entitled Skyscraper (The Bruges Whale) sees a large sculpture of an animal made from five tonnes of plastic waste emerging from the water.

MFS III Minne Floating School by Nlé Kunlé Adeyemi. Image by Iwan Baan

The Triennial also includes a number of other events, including open air film screenings, artists’ talks, guided tours, debates, open days and lectures from visiting artists. Special programmed events are also scheduled for families and younger visitors.

More information on visiting the Bruges Triennial is available at the official website.