The Sohnarr Sjel, an impressive art installation cube, is currently located at the city cemetery of Leuven, Source: City of Leuven

A modernistic music installation brings peace of mind at Leuven’s cemetery

A modernistic music installation brings peace of mind at Leuven’s cemetery

You can discover the first single album of Balthazar founder Patricia Vannese

Some works of art need complete silence and tranquillity to be well understood and to fully exert their power on the audience. Such is the case with “Coral Dusk” that Patricia Vanneste recorded during her solitary journey through the vast landscapes of Sweden and Norway, armed with just a violin, a microphone and a laptop.

The latest solo project of the ex-Balthazar musician and composer is currently travelling as a temporary art installation named 'Sjel' (referring to the Norwegian word for soul or essence). A few days ago, it found its latest home at Leuven’s city cemetery.

Leaving your shell behind

Anyone who visits the Leuven City Cemetery in the next eight weeks can immerse themselves in the musical art installation 'Sjel'. The large cube 3 metres high, with mirrored glass on the outside and a door, was designed by Patricia Vanneste and architect Sam De Bock. The installation symbolizes the making process of the album 'Coral Dusk' and is meant to enhance its listening experience.

The purified architectural form of the pavilion creates a shelter that seems fused with its surroundings. According to the project website, Sjel is a “reference to the shell we leave behind and let go of what we know and who we are. Its mirrored walls seem to melt into its surroundings in nature and the last thing you see upon entering the Sjel is also what you leave behind that same moment: yourself”.

Once inside, you will find a seating place in front of a large window and an integrated sound system playing the music of the Coral Dusk album for 45 minutes. This debut album narrates the lines of Vanneste’s two-month journey through the astonishing landscapes and solitude of Scandinavia.

Leuven’s alderman for culture Denise Vandevoort, quoted on the city website summarizes the social importance of the art project this way “It is no coincidence that many of us have experienced the importance and beauty of art and nature in recent months. Sjel connects both elements and it gives me great pleasure that we can bring it to a wide audience in this way.

The art project seems to go in line with the vision for the development of Leuven cemeteries, as well. Bieke Verlinden, alderman for welfare, believes that “Our cemeteries have the potential to become modern, accessible cherishing places. They are parks full of tranquillity and greenery where we commemorate, remember and keep each other alive. Sjel fits in perfectly with that.

Before coming to Leuven and remaining here until 28 March, the travelling installation has visited several other locations in Belgium. You too can discover it in the gallery above and learn about the next destinations to follow at Sohnarr Sjel.

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