Prints : Floc'h

"Atomium - Hommage à André Waterkeyn" - Floc'h
Click on the image to enlarge

"Atomium - Hommage à André Waterkeyn" - Floc'h


Floc’h likes to pursue ideas back to their earliest origins. For him, drawing the Atomium as it now stands held little appeal. He chose, therefore, to pay homage to the man who designed the monument that went on to symbolise Belgium. The Atomium, seen at this more intimate scale, is dwarfed by its creator, André Waterkeyn.

“I was born in 1953, so therefore the Atomium was part of my youth. I never got the opportunity to see it when I was young and now, today, it’s too late. Advancing age has brought me claustrophobia and agoraphobia!” he explains, smiling. The author of “La trilogie anglaise” (with Rivière) compares the Atomium to two other “giants.” “The Eiffel Tower is, in my view, the most ancient of modern monuments and the pyramids of Giza are the most modern of ancient monuments. The Atomium is quite well placed in my list of modern monuments; it has retained all the freshness of its original intention.”

“If the quality of a project is measured by its capacity to evoke nostalgia” he thinks, “the Atomium is a success, and the fact that it stands in Brussels only adds to its success. I can’t imagine it in France.” An admirer of “Spirou et Fantasio”, Floc’h is surprised that Franquin has become the bande dessinée artist most closely associated with the Atomium. “It’s quite strange, because it would seem more appropriate that a realist artist would occupy that position. Jacobs, in the past; Schuiten in our day. Therefore, the “Marcinelle” school has triumphed, in a sense, over the “Brussels” school.”

For his homage to the structure, Floc’h has avoided any nostalgic references to bande dessinée. The author of “Ma vie” admires the man who conceived the Atomium. “Waterkeyn’s project was as daring, in its time, as that of any present-day architect who might choose to represent… the Aids virus!” Floc’h chose to convey the emotion, in the outstretched hand, of the Atomium’s creator as he presents the maquette.”

Floc’h absorbs the lessons of past masters, whether near or far. He applies the graphic logic of René Gruau (1909-2004), the signature illustrator for Dior, “Harper’s Bazaar” and “Vogue”, in his crisp outlines. “His images, showing a man in silhouette or in a dark suit filling the foreground and highlighting the female form, have always pleased me. Waterkeyn and his maquette take the place of the woman.” The Dutch painter, Frans Hals (1582-1666) created, alongside his portraits, paintings of group scenes featuring the civic authorities of the city of Haarlem (the city where lives Joost Swarte, another artist whose work features in “Season 1). “An area of darkness that would dominate his paintings served to emphasise the facial expressions of the people in the paintings. Those elements explain why I consider these artists to be my fellow contemporaries.”