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Posts Tagged ‘whimsy’

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Photo: Ian Langsdon/EPA
René Magritte’s 1929 painting
La Trahison des Images, ceci n’est pas une pipe inspired a funny street name in Belgium. Given the opportunity to name streets, Belgians revealed themselves to be worthy of wearing the mantle of their imaginative compatriot.

I’ve always loved both the whimsy and depth of Belgian surrealist René Magritte, the artist with the green apples and bowler hats floating in clouds. Now a street-naming effort has revealed that the people of Belgium are worthy of wearing their compatriot’s august mantle.

Jennifer Rankin writes at the Guardian, “In Brussels, the home of surrealism, city officials have given their blessing to rename a street in homage to one of René Magritte’s best-known paintings. Ceci n’est pas une rue (This is not a street) is inspired by The Treachery of Images, painted in 1929 by the Belgian artist, who lived in Brussels for decades.

“It was one of nearly 1,400 suggestions made by the public in response to an initiative to generate interest in a regeneration project in a former industrial district in the north of the city. …

“Many of the winning names are whimsical or poetic, or evoke the quirkiness of the Belgian capital. In a rejuvenated park, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to follow Better World Path, or Happiness Way. Visitors may end up on Place des choukes — chouke, ‘little cabbage,’ translates as a warmer version of ‘darling.’ A final stop might be Dreams Drive, euphonious Drèves des rêves or Dromendreef. … All treet names are in French and [Flemish]. …

“The final names were chosen by a jury comprising city officials, local heritage experts and property developer Extensa, which bought the vast derelict site from the Brussels capital region in 1999. …

“Kris Verhellen, chief executive of Extensa, said the company would never have dared to make some of the suggestions. …

I thought it was very moving because we are so used to being so negative about this city.’

“While most of the streets will be private, the larger ones leading to the site will be public. But tourists looking for a selfie will have to wait a few years, as most will not be redeveloped until 2020.

“Not every suggestion made the cut. The jury rejected Rue du gentrification — an implicit criticism that the development company rebuffed, saying that up to 25% of the newly-built apartments was social housing.”

More at the Guardian, here.

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