Cécile PITOIS, Little Sisters of the Atomium (2012). Brussels (Belgium)
Her series of works: "Sculptures à Souhaits" (Wishing Sculptures) is based on an invented fictitious tale that opens the door and paves the way to the imaginary, encouraging a different interpretation of a particular site and generating a new social awareness of this location.
The resulting artistic gesture could be read as some sort of offering to the town. This "gift" from the artist, also carries a notion of ritual, of sharing and exchanging.
In 2011, the SLRB: Société du Logement de la Région Bruxelles-capitale (Department of Housing for Brussels?capital region) invited the artist to create a work of public art for the development of Mutsaard, in the Laeken neighborhood of Brussels. This project was possible thanks to a unique 101% art program (1% for art is added to the overall budget) whose goal is to commission artists to create permanent works in conjunction with rehabbed social housing developments within a neighborhood. This added 1% is not just automatic, but has to be requested by the particular agency.
Cécile Pitois' proposal consists of three separate but complementary projects: "Le Refuge des Rêves" (Dreams' shelter) "Requiem pour une étoile" (Requiem for a Star), "Les P'tites soeurs de l'Atomium" (Little sisters of the Atomium.)
The main inspiration for this series comes from Brussels' 1958 World Fair and its emblem: The Atomium, located in this part of town, and from the strong graphic design of the Star of Lucien de Roeck which became its ubiquitous logo. This evokes times of prosperity, dreams, maybe even utopias which the citizens of Brussels like to remember.
As in all of this artist's work, the story (tale/legend) is not the final goal but a tool enabling the artist to create a ritual offering to the population, allowing them an opportunity to become active participants in the history of their town and the life of their own neighborhood.
In "Dreams' Shelter", under the front porch of each one of the small houses along De Wand street, passers-by are invited to reveal the secret of a childhood dream. With "Requiem for a star", along Demanet street, those so inclined, are invited to offer a dream to another person. For the third part of this trilogy: "The Little sisters of the Atomium" the artist has created in a pocket park on Wannecouter street, a place for friendly gatherings around a court where one can play the popular game of Pétanque, which becomes a magnet for social gatherings and exchanges.
Cécile Pitois' artistic intent, and the originality of her work in the public realm, are based on her special talent for combining a physical artistic element and the story that has inspired it, while adding to it a timeless ritual which will keep it alive and renewed.