Contrei Live: walking and cycling along sixteen works of art in the Leie valley

July 2020 Art Corner Willem van Altena

The Leie valley in West-Flanders is filled with art, this summer and autumn. Intermunicipal organisation Leiedal – the regional developer for South West Flanders – has just turned 60 and celebrates its birthday by putting its territory in a festive spotlight, involving locals as well as visitors. Contrei Live is a unique arts trail around the river Leie (Lys), taking place in the region’s 13 towns and cities. Sixteen artists from Belgium and beyond have created spectacular artworks that people can enjoy at their leisure, free of charge. Contrei Live lasts up until 26 October.

Water as a theme

The 16 artworks makes up an intriguing mix of land art, landscape architecture, sound art and kinetic installations, all with water as a connecting theme. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the works of international top-notch artists Hans Peter Kuhn, Matthijs la Roi, LANDLAB, Kevin Trappeniers, Michel Desvigne, OMGEVING, Esther Kokmeijer, Niels Albers, Willem Boel, Jan Detavernier, Patrick Ceyssens, Rick Abelen, Žilvinas Stasiulevičius, Marco Barotti, Zeli Bauwens and Adrien Tirtiaux.

Bicycle routes

Contrei Live also provides three bicycle routes in the Leie valley, exploring the countryside around Kortrijk and neighbouring villages. For visitors from outside the area this isn’t a problem: a bike rental scheme has been set up, in which users can simply book a bike with an app. There is also a special art walk, in which visitors are invited to discover the art installations in 10,000 steps. Contrei Live brands itself as a cultural happening inviting people to discover some surprising spots in the Leie valley, whilst adding a meaningful and artistic dimension to it, the three bicycle loops even motivating people to keep moving.

Floating Gardens

One of the artworks on display can be discovered right in the historic heart of Kortrijk. French landscape artist Michel Desvigne has designed floating gardens that gently drift in the river Leie, close to the iconic medieval Broel Towers. ‘Floating Gardens’ evokes a natural aquatic landscape, a floating island paradise to reflect on and off the water. From the newly reconstructed quays, people can admire the floating gardens, and wonder at the process of creating new forms of urban nature. The work is intended to be permanent, and the ambition is to extend the number of islands in the future.

More information

Visit the official website of Contrei Live for an overview of all the artworks, interactive maps, apps and more.