Public art in Brussels: the man from Atlantis

There’s something strange about public art. On the one hand, there are sculptures that you can’t ignore and that everybody has an opinion about. Like the red blocks from Arne Quinze at the belgian coast for example. You either love it or hate it. On the other hand, some artworks are just as remarkable, and yet people don’t pay attention to them. How come? Like this strange creature for example. Did you see him yet?


It took me 5 years to notice this sculpture for the first time 🙂 . It’s located in the Louisa area, at the roundabout of the Boulevard de Waterloo, close to Toison d’Or. It’s not a regular statue of a famous politician or war hero like you usually see on roundabouts. How come I didn’t see this before?

The sculpture is called The man from Atlantis, made by the belgian artist Luk Van Soom in 2003. I never heard about him before, but I have to say that I’m impressed with what I saw on his website (click on his name to see all his work). Before I tell you what The man from Atlantis is about, let me show you 2 other great pieces he made recently. 


Follow me, made in 2012.


You have been in me, made in 2013.

Luk Van Soom made several pubic artworks in Belgium & The Netherlands, but only one of them is to be found in Brussels.  A lot of his sculptures represent strange creatures who seem to come from a different planet. He uses wavy lines so it looks like the sculptures are moving or fleeting. It’s like they could disappear in the air. Van Soom plays with gravity and a lot of his statues are located near water. The man from Atlantis is also placed on a fountain, but when I took the picture it wasn’t working. 


The man from Atlantis is probably based on a story Plato once told about an island called Atlantis. This mythical island was some kind of paradise on earth, but was destroyed by the force of nature (like a tsunami our earthquake). The man in the sculpture seems to have been through a lot to make it into our world. It’s like he came through the fountain and rose up there overnight. The location is quite strange because the Louisa area is famous for shopping. The logic of economy and business is contradictory with the fantasy world he represents. 

I’m happy that I now know the story behind this statue, although I’m not saying that it’s the only possible interpretation. I’m only sharing with you what I read about it online. Don’t forget to check the artist’s website for more information (only in Dutch, but lots of pictures). 

More public art coming soon 😉 . 





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