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Inauguration of “Harry” by Xavier Mary & group exhibition


On 18th October 2019, the Musée en plein air du Sart Tilman will inaugurate a sculpture by the Liège-born artist Xavier Mary, which will be added to the permanent collection of the museum. The work entitled Harry will be placed outdoors on the Blanc Gravier site. With this acquisition, the Musée en plein air wished to highlight an emerging Belgian contemporary artist whose work, which has been developing for many years with strength and coherence, is recognised in Belgium and abroad.


Harry Ferguson (1864-1960) and Henry Ford (1863-1947) appeared as two heroic figures of the 20th century in which a series of triumphant industries shaped their times. In the shadow of their rivalry, a true contemporary fable has been written. They are two antithetical personalities of our modernity: Henri Ford / the entrepreneur versus Harry Ferguson / the inventor. Between these poles, the great technical and industrial revolutions are taking place… and then there are their failures, defeats and sometimes tragic outcomes. Between Ford’s empire and Ferguson’s perpetual inventiveness, between the American’s “handshake” and the presumed suicide of the Irishman lies a question that still haunts the face of our time: “How to live, dream and die in the (post-)industrial era? ».

On the basis of the insatiable rivalry between these two men and its historical significance, Xavier Mary developed Harry and Henry which he presented at the Neuer Aachener Kunstverein in Aachen in January/February 2018. Consisting of front end agricultural tractors, these parts are presented as monoliths of the “modern age”. The engines, the strongest parts of the machine, stand on four feet. Anchored to the ground and surrounded by their metal sheets, they “weigh” their inanity. The moving function of these “objects” contrasts with their sculptural status. Harry and Henry seem to have stopped or rather stopped out of time. The mirror-polished textures of one are confronted with the raw and “wild” aspect of the other. Henry‘s sophisticated appearance seems to be complemented by Harry‘s “do it yourself” look.

Harry, which will be permanently integrated to the Sart Tilman site (Blanc Gravier), consists of an off-road competition tractor – number 18 – reworked by the artist. He participated in the last clay court race, organised annually in Belgium by passionate farmers. With its four exhaust pipes attached to the cylinders of the engine and reinforced steel frame, the piece evokes Ferguson’s inventions. More broadly, its exuberant form seems to corroborate a dynamic of excess in all things.

Every year, on 8th November, the anniversary of Harry Ferguson’s death, Harry‘s engine could be reanimated. An opportunity for the Musée en plein air to organise an event matching the spirit of the artwork: live performances and DJ sets would mix with the sound of the engine.

Temporary exhibition by Aline Bouvy, Xavier Mary and Loup Sarion

The inauguration of this artwork will also be an opportunity for Xavier Mary to share an exhibition with two other artists with whom he has established artistic and friendly ties: Aline Bouvy (B) and Loup Sarion (F). The works of the three artists, sometimes monumental, will be on display in different spaces of the beautiful brutalist building (designed by the architect André Jacqmain) of the current Maison des étudiants du Sart Tilman (building B8). This exhibition will be held from 21st October to 30th November 2019 (for practical information see below).



Friday 18th October 2019

Inauguration of the sculpture Harry
on the parking lot of the Centres sportifs du Blanc Gravier
Address: allée des sports 2, 4000 Liège (Sart Tilman)

Opening of the exhibition of Aline Bouvy, Xavier Mary and Loup Sarion
at the Maison des étudiants (building B8)
Address: Agora 1, 4000 Liège (Sart Tilman)

Your visit

The sculpture Harry, is visible every day 24 hours a day.
on the lawn of the Centres sportifs du Blanc Gravier parking lot
Address: allée des sports 2, 4000 Liège (Sart Tilman)
Free parking
Bus line 48, “Education physique” stop

The exhibition of Aline Bouvy, Xavier Mary and Loup Sarion is on display from 21st October to 29th November 2019
open Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 17:30
at the Maison des étudiants (building B8)
Address: Agora 1, 4000 Liège (Sart Tilman)
Free parking
Bus line 48, “Amphithéâtres” stop


With support of: Province de Liège, Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles and Université de Liège