Photo of the week: Coming World Remember Me


The art project four years in the making has finally been unveiled in West Flanders

For the past, and the future

After four years working with schools and other organisations to create 600,000 little sculptures, Flemish artist Koen Vanmechelen has unveiled the site-specific installation “ComingWorldRememberMe”. The long-awaited First World War memorial is now open to the public in the Palingbeek recreation area of Ypres.

Jan Moeyaert of the Kunst non-profit is the project’s curator and refers to the works as “new generation” figures, representing the young people who must now face the past and carry it into the future.

Each identical clay figure was created by a single citizen who took part in workshops, both in Belgium and abroad. This is the final year in the four-year centenary of the First World War, and each figure represents a life lost in the war.

At the centre of the installation, the figures appear to be falling out of a giant egg. Van Mechelen, famous for his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project, often uses an egg shape in his work, and it here specifically symbolises the birth of a new world.

Each clay figure also sports a dog tag, with the name of one of the war’s victims. The names come from a list maintained by In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, the city in West Flanders near where much of the war’s front was fought.

The Palingbeek recreation area sits on No-Man’s Land, the area between each side’s system of trenches during the war. “ComingWorldRememberMe” will be open to view until 11 November, Armistice Day.

Photo: David Stephen Draper