Luc Deleu & T.O.P. Office

Desguinlei 25, Antwerpen B-2018
Mon–Fri 10 am–7 pm, Sat 4–7 pm

Commissioned by the VAi, curators Peter Swinnen & Anne Judong invited T.O.P. office to create a new work as the accumulation of half a century of practice. The steel stair sculpture titled "Bakboordstuurboord" resulted as the ultimate future plan.

Scale & Perspective
Beginning in 1980, Deleu conducts an investigation into the changing dimensions of objects, figures and buildings under the heading of Scale & Perspective. Deleu plays with the classical idea of the scale of everyday objects by emphasizing the experience of the difference between the horizontal and vertical planes.

In the work Bakboordstuurboord, the play of scale and perspective comes to a climax by tilting a stair sculpture. An identical horizontal and vertical plane of stairs are linked together and are visually distinguishable through the colors red and green. The treadable steel staircase is a reuse of a stair detail from Barcelona Towers 1989-92, a monumental proposal for an apartment complex in Barcelona in the form of two identical towers, one standing and one lying.

1:1 Installation
In 1991, T.O.P. office built a wooden 1:1 scale model of this staircase for the Kröller-Müller Museum. As an offshoot of the exhibition Future Plans, the installation is being reworked into an accessible stair sculpture. Bakboordstuurboord is a further elaboration of the tilted staircase in which there is a thorough attention to the perspective and sculptural qualities of the whole. A handrail and balustrade are added to the design giving the staircase the added value of an observation post or mirador over the Ring.

Mission and purpose
The installation was created as part of the Future Plans exhibition that was on view at De Singel in 2020-2021.

Bakboordstuurboord was acquired by the City of Antwerp for its Art in the City collection. The steel stair sculpture will be given a permanent location on the Scheldt quays off Nieuw Zuid in Antwerp from 2023. In the meantime, you can admire the work on the Stynen terrace on the De Singel campus.