The abstract works of Guillaume Bottazzi lead the viewer down a path of calming transcendence that escapes the bonds of violence and fear that currently grip our society. His latest piece is a 16 meter high by 7 meter wide, oil on canvas abstract piece located at the Palace Jourdan, at the edge of the European Quarter in Brussels, Belgium. Bottazzi’s work will be on display from start to finish as he will have his creative process displayed and integrated into the community of Brussels as a performance piece. The physical creation of the piece began on the 26th of October 2016 and continued through December 2016, taking roughly two months to complete.
A private viewing and inauguration of the work will occur in January 2017 at which point the piece will be on permanent public view as a fixture of the Place Jourdan.
The project is a shared vision of the artist, Guillaume Bottazzi and the bourgemestre, or mayor, of the commune of Etterbeek, Mr. Vincent De Wolf. Both De Wolf and Bottazzi wish to restore the Place Jourdan to its former glory as well as a place of inspiration for future generations. Bottazzi’s concept is that of a hopeful Belgium in quiet resistance of a tumultuous present day Europe. In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks across Europe, as well as the divisive Brexit results, Bottazzi seeks to show a peaceful and unified version of the world. The artist has received a wave of support for this vision and is backed by the European Commission, the French Embassy in Belgium, the commune of Etterbeek, and the local community as a whole. In November of 2016, 300 local children spent the day with Bottazzi and his colossal work in progress, emitting the hope for the future that this piece represents.
Bottazzi’s work is designed to be a unique sensory experience. His work is created using brushes and oil paints so he can create depth with multiple transparent layers. In addition to the visual depth created with paint, the sheer size of the piece contributes to the sensory experience as the work is so large that a person must walk around in order to view it in its entirety. With this in mind, the artist approached his work from a psychological perspective. Rather than create works of pictorial art, Bottazzi’s goal is that the fluidic, abstract painting will have a dopamine effect on the viewer and will inspire pleasure and a sense of well-being. A recent study was conducted by University of Vienna psychology professors and neuroscientists, Helmut Leader and Marcos Nadal, that discusses how the work of Guillaume Bottazzi reduces anxiety in viewers. Their findings are laid out in the article “Curved art in the real world: A psychological look at the art of Guillaume Bottazzi”.
The physical work of Guillaume Bottazzi is visually stunning, yet it is the process and depth of feeling behind the piece that ensures the lasting quality of the art. At the beginning of the process, Bottazzi conceptualizes the project and then performs the creation of the work, unaltered from the initial design stage. He likens it to “the interpretation of a conductor in front of a musical score.” Much like a well-executed piece of music, Bottazzi’s work at the Place Jourdan is designed to transcend civilization and transport the viewer to a peaceful, untroubled version of our world. Bearing this in mind, the artist worked closely with the municipality of Etterbeek to produce a piece that will be permanently integrated into the Place Jourdan. According to Bottazzi, steps have been taken to ensure the work will have a long life in Brussels, “…the municipality has made a commitment to take care of it in the future. I have added a support to ensure the sustainability of the painting; it is not painted directly on the wall. This artwork will belong to Place Jourdan and to the town’s heritage.”