Massive steel sculpture takes pride of place on Belgian highway

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Massive steel sculpture takes pride of place on Belgian highway

A crane is used to put the last piece of the Arc Majeur, a 60-meter arch designed by French artist Bernar Venet and installed on the E411 highway in Lavaux-Sainte-Anne, Belgium, August 13, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

LAVAUX-SAINTE-ANNE, BELGIUM (Reuters) – A 60-metre tall semi-circle of steel cast to look from a distance like a towering but incomplete ring, is set to surprise drivers taking a scenic tour in the south of Belgium to France or Luxembourg.

Designed by French conceptual artist Bernar Venet and called L’Arc Majeur, the huge sculpture was installed on Tuesday at Lavaux-Sainte-Anne, a small town along the busy 411 highway.

“Today we are installing, what everybody agrees to say, the biggest sculpture in the world,” said Venet. “But I hope the artistic meaning of this arch will be more important than its size.”

“The perception for the drivers is the most important. Because of the natural steel color after oxidation, it looks especially spectacular during sunset,” he said, calling the project the realization of a 35-year dream.

Venet had initially wanted to install the sculpture, made from 200 tonnes of steel and set in 2,800 tonnes of concrete, in France but ran into various obstacles and eventually found a home for it in Belgium.

“Two hundred meetings with French, and it didn’t work for so many years. One week of talks in Belgium, and it’s done,” said Venet, who was awarded the International Sculpture Center’s Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award in 2016.

Reporting by Alexandra Regida; Editing by Foo Yun Chee