Raveel and the swans

Raveel en de zwanen

Once upon a time … the Bruges Triennial, the one of 1971, the second in line. The poster for that exhibition was created by Roger Raveel, artist who is in the spotlight today, 50 years later, with a retrospective at Bozaar. He didn’t just design that poster, however.

Pop-up art

One morning when the “swan keeper” was feeding his swans at the Beguinage, he saw about four swans paddling peacefully on the Minnewater. Escaped, was his first thought. On closer inspection, those wooden swans had a square hole in the middle of their bodies. It was a pop-up artwork by Roger Raveel, long before that term would become known. Raveel’s swans, however, turned out to be not so much a part of the 1971 Triennial as they were a critical indictment of the pollution of the Reien, which, according to Raveel to anyone who would hear it, did absolutely no credit to the clean city of Bruges. The Bruges mayor, Michel Van Maele, really couldn’t laugh at this, so he sent out the swan keeper to catch Raveel’s swans and pen them in some city warehouse. No sooner said than done, much to the chagrin of Raveel, who in turn didn’t like the violent removal of his swans and who loudly proclaimed it to all who wanted to hear it, especially the national press, who had a big job to do.

End all good

All in all, things did work out, both between Raveel and Bruges and with the Brugse Reien. These are now so clean that they can be swum in during the summer months. Thank you, Roger! And Roger Raveel left a lot of art behind in Bruges. Go check out the Groeninge Museum. He also created nine unique flags with Bruges cityscapes in 2002 for the Golden Tree procession in the shopping streets of Bruges. And those not missing were … his swans.

Bruges Triennial 2024

This time without Roger Raveel, for that you have to go to Brussels, but between April 13 and September 01 you can visit large installations by national and international artists in our city. And how better than doing this with an S-wan guide who can tell you all about it. Also read our other blogs about Triennial Bruges 2021 and book your visit of the Triennial Bruges 2024 at S-wan.

(Photo: Argos Center for Art and Media)

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Visit in Brugge with the colleagues When calling for the price of a guided tour, I had Hélène on the phone. Rather than selling her tours she asked questions, understood my needs and shared her recommendations. We selected the chocolate tour. (mix of EU and US colleagues) Hélène was a wonderful guide. Very funny, interested in us , well prepared (linked the explanations to our Pharma business), no pressure, good pace, flexible! shared perspectives. Of all the quides we ever had ... she was the best! Don't hesitate and win time preparing your trip- assure you are in good hands ! Just relax and enjoy the stories of Hélène!
Jenna J
Jenna J
Best personal tour with fantastic guide! I would highly recommend the 'best of Bruges' tour - we were a family of 5 and had a private tour, shown around by the most fantastic tour guide, Frank. He was superb! So knowledgeable and made the experience. Fantastic! You will not be disappointed.
Virginie C
Virginie C
Guide compétent et sympathique J'ai réservé une visite quelques jours avant notre arrivée. Très bien conseillée par mon interlocutrice. Nous avons passé 2 heures de promenade très agréable avec un guide expérimenté et disponible. Top.