Sweet Dreams, Delegation of Flanders to the European Union

Brussels (BE)
01 januari - 30 juni 2024

From 1 January up to and including 30 June 2024, Belgium holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union. In accordance with the Belgian state structure, Flanders - like the other Communities and Regions - will assume its own explicit role during the EU presidency in the Council, but also by organising its own events.

In honour of Flanders’ contribution to the EU presidency, internationally renowned Flemish artist Koen Vanmechelen has created the installation Sweet Dreams, which will be on display at the Delegation of Flanders to the European Union during the presidency. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase Flemish art and culture to the many European partners who will be visiting the delegation during the presidency. Vanmechelen is known for his groundbreaking work.

With Sweet Dreams, the artist presents an installation that closely meshes with the presidency’s key principles: ‘innovation, connection and resilience’. “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes”, states Vanmechelen. The four marble sculptures refer to a ‘different’ reality, as a metaphor for dreams and sleep; essential processes that enable humans to discover new worlds and break through boundaries.

A dream is a breakthrough that shapes a new reality 

Koen Vanmechelen

At the centre is the sculpture series Collective Memory. It shows humanity’s connection to its environment. Three figures - human, animal and technology - rest on books representing rights and knowledge, the cradle of our society in both Flanders and Europe. Together, they depict the elements needed to understand tomorrow, across cultures, time and species, and look to a different future.

Watching over the sculptures is the transformed Medusa statue, which bears not only snakes but also chickens on her head. This Medusa symbolises energy and life, with chicken eggs serving as the basis for medicines and vaccinations in modern medicine. Vanmechelen’s Medusa is not a monster, but a healer who embodies the ability to both destroy and give new life.

To make the connection between the works of art and the European presidency, Vanmechelen refers, on the one hand, to Greek mythology, including Medusa. On the other hand, he has chosen works that deal with human rights and the various facets thereof. According to the artist, “it is the melding of mythology and the actual reality that brings us to Europe”.

With Sweet Dreams, Flanders invites us, during the EU presidency, to take an in-depth look at themes such as diversity, resilience, identity, evolution and sustainable coexistence.

During the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, we are showcasing Flemish art, which is highly regarded internationally, to the many European colleagues and partners who visit the Delegation of Flanders to the European Union. Koen Vanmechelen’s works embody, both literally and figuratively, the key principles of innovation, connection and resilience that Flanders adheres to  during the presidency, creating a perfect impression for our visitors. His works also represent the strengths of Flemish art, which dares to address global societal issues

Sarina Motmans, Deputy General Representative of Flanders to the EU

Exhibition facts

Sweet Dreams
1/01 - 30/06/2024
Delegation of Flanders to the European Union
Belliardstraat 65
1040 Brussels