Lettres d'Ixelles

Lettres d'Ixelles, Various Artists, nadine, Brussels, 2011. photo by Willy Depoortere.

Lettres d'Ixelles, Various Artists, nadine, Brussels, 2011. photo by Willy Depoortere.

Ixelles, 1922: an artist from East Flanders discovers the existence of an occult network.

Albert Saverys (Deinze, 12 May 1886 – Petegem-aan-de-Leie, 29 April 1964) was a Flemish artist and decorator. The follower of the Flemish expressionist art movement was counted among the third group of the Laethem-Saint-Martin School.

As a designer for the De Coene Brothers “Kunstwerkstede” (or “Art Workshops”) in Kortrijk, he often traveled to Brussels, where he stayed with a number of colleagues in the artistic neighbourhood (the current European district) in Ixelles. During this time, Victor Horta appeared to Saverys in a dream, drawing his attention to the existence of contact points with the underworld, in particular on the territory of Ixelles. Saverys did some research and uncovered a network of devil worshipers. For unknown reasons, Saverys returned to Flanders, never to discuss his discovery again.

Ixelles, 1989: an artist from West Flanders moves into premises in the Herdersstraat/rue du Berger, where he rediscovers Saverys’s map.

Trudo Engels (Roeselare, 9 February 1962 – Dubrovnik, 29 November 2009) was a Flemish sculptor and stage designer. In 1989 he founded Plateau in Ixelles with Ida Devos, a space for contemporary dance and performance. Following a dream in which Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles appeared to him, he decided to follow up on Meireles’ summons and to further explore the discovery made by Saverys so many years ago. During his stay above the antique shop on Place Fernand Cocqplein he found the small map drawn by Saverys which reveals a network of boîtes aux lettres or post-boxes that are connected to the underworld. This is where Engels started his own research, Lettres d’Ixelles.

All the elements of the research by Saverys and Engels have been integrated in a database. More than 200 contact points (the so-called boîtes aux lettres) that have been registered, and the data retrieved from the local area around them (neighbouring houses, wireless networks, etc) have been mapped and recorded in a database.
Lettres d’Ixelles is a reference work of a commune in an ongoing state of change. The different interpretations of data from the database contribute to the history of Ixelles. Fictive elements are here mixed in with real facts (which are still visible).


In 2011 Various Artists presented the first research results of Lettres d'Ixelles. A big installation, endless drawing, and various photographs (digital and pinhole camera) were exhibited at nadine (Plateau) after a two month residency during which Morice de Lisle only wore and ate animal products.