deer fountain
Willem Boel

Deer Fountain #2



The installation will be active each day from 9am to 9pm.

Seven converted wheelbarrows are mounted on top of a structure of scaffolding poles and boards. The barrows are filled with water when suddenly, in a seemingly uncontrolled rhythm, they tilt forward and pour their contents down. And so the water goes back from whence it came. The well-balanced wheelbarrows do exactly what they were made for: to be filled and emptied. The scaffolding also does what it was built for: to support a load high up. The tilting-barrows installation is a fountain, an ornamental folly embellishing the neighbourhood, bringing a fresh new dynamism with its sheer movement. Brilliant in utter futility, as any fountain. The unrelenting, unpredictable tilting of the barrows is ruthless yet poetic. The title of the installation is a play on words. Deer Fountain can be interpreted as ‘dear fountain’, but at the same time refers to the small Japanese bamboo fountains adorning many a garden. Their original use was to repel deer so they wouldn’t eat the garden vegetation: hence ‘deer’ fountain. It is a double meaning that fills the wheelbarrows with more substance than the mere water they carry. 


GPS coordinates artwork: 50°53'09.1"N 3°14'49.6"E

Former carpet giant Nelca is woven into the heart and history of Lendelede. Since it went out of business in 2007, however, the grounds remained deserted and neglected, turning the once so proud Nelca into a local eyesore. That’s why in 2011, regional developer Leiedal stepped up to the plate and bought the terrain for radical redevelopment purposes. A bold move, faced with problems of contaminated soil, asbestos, terrain relief, drainage and water buffering. The 25-acre plot near the town centre will be repurposed for mixed use with space for small and medium-sized enterprises, a new connecting road, biking and hiking paths, a multifunctional square, reservoirs and around 40 new streetside dwellings. Being of great strategic importance, Nelca breathes history and yet again offers oxygen for work, life and leisure. 


Willem Boel is a Belgian artist born in 1983 and working and living in Ghent. A master of Visual Arts, he taps into various media with his multidisciplinary body of work: video, in-situ installations, performance and two-dimensional work. His focus meanwhile lies on three-dimensional, pre-eminently monumental installations, more often than not based on a steel or iron skeleton. They are open structures, harking back to an industrial era. They carry the traces of hard labour and repetitive movement. Boel often delivers series of works, such as Sancho Don’t Care. He regularly exhibits at home and abroad and was awarded, a.o., first prize at the prestigious Salon de Montrouge in 2015.