Video: An areal view of the Borgwal castle and estate.
Pictures: The transformation from an old abondoned ruin to a beautiful renovated masterpiece of a castle.
The Borgwal castle will not only just serve as visual stimulus for visitors, it'll also serve a higher purpose: a hub for artistic endeavours. "Together with my friend and art critic Peter Cooreman, the idea was formed to regularly invite both established and upcoming artists to Borgwal. And give them access to an exhibition area where their work has the room to be appreciated, in its own right and beauty. Nothing is more satisfying than to take a moment and get absorbed by a beautiful work of art.", Kenneth muses.
When you cross the small bridge that spans the pond surrounding the castle, you enter the building through two beautiful glass doors. "We spent weeks on small details, but it will probably not be noticed by a lot of people.", Kenneth laughs. "Like these glass entrance doors, they have been restored with a special glass that mimics the imperfections of the earlier centuries. It's one of things that can annoy me - if they are not done perfectly. But can give me incredible joy when executed correctly."
Pictures: The custom-made painting for the Borgwal castle corridor, made by Gert Van Weyenberg.
Inside, you are welcomed by an entrance that tickles your imagination - with colorful lamps and an amazing red carpet, inviting you to explore the rest of this amazing building. The stairs - leading to the first floor - are accross a special place in the castle. A place that makes you stop and take in the grandness of it all. Covering the big wall accross the stairs, is a painting made by Gert Van Weyenberg - a Belgian artist that crossed paths with Kenneth a year earlier. "I was in awe of his work for an exhibition I attended, and saw that his style would fit Borgwal perfectly. So I inquired if he would be interested in creating art, specifically made for the castle. Art that would fit in with its surroundings. It's mostly very difficult for an established artist to mold his work to fit a purpose, but Gert took it up as a challenge. And the result is breath-taking. Every time a visitor descends these stairs, they stop. It's impossible not to stop and take in the beauty of the art he created."
It's not the only painting Gert created for the Borgwal castle. On the first floor of the castle, Kenneth was battling the decay of a set of wall paintings. He was able to savor one side of the room, but the other side was completely lost due to extensive damage over the decades. As Kenneth is a firm believer of matching artistic styles with buildings, he was convinced that Gert had the vision to recreate the original style of wall paintings. So he tasked Gert to do exactly that. "When you walk into the room, at one side you see the original paintings - while on the other side, you see an artistic interpretation of the same ornamental drawings, but with a personal touch from Gert. He did a phenomenal job, and that's why our visions match so well. It's like the quote I used in another project: 'Art is like sex, it depends on the artist whethere you like it or not.'", Kenneth laughs.
It's the day of the inauguration. Roaming the castle with visitors, Kenneth is smiling and receiving compliments. But when he pulls us aside, you can see that such a hefty project took quite a chunk of energy out of him. He sighs, "You know, 4 years is a long time - and when you overthink all the problems you encountered, you sometimes doubt if you would take on such a project ever again."
Stefanie, his partner, suddenly cuts in and laughs: "Don't mind him. Like always, he has barely finished one project and is already moving on to a new, bigger project. As a creative thinker, he is unable to stand still and enjoy his accomplishments."
The new project Stefanie is talking about is Kenneth's new "dream" project - the restauration of a old property in Olargues, in the South of France. And so the fairy tale continues ...