Mon Plat Pays
Durbuy. Waar de Ourthe rustig stroomt en de natuur nog ongerept is. En waar er tegelijk enorm veel te beleven valt. In honderd jaar tijd ontpopt het kleinste stadje ter wereld zich tot een plek waar elk jaar tienduizenden toeristen op bezoek komen, gecharmeerd door het pittoreske karakter van de streek. Al in de prehistorie is er in Durbuy menselijke activiteit, maar het zal tot de zestiende eeuw duren voor de stad haar gouden eeuw beleeft, met dank aan de ijzerindustrie.
Anno 2018 is Durbuy een trekpleister van jewelste. Wie er op bezoek komt, doet dat om te kunnen kuieren in de smalle straatjes, om de prachtige natuur van het Domaine de Hottemme te bezoeken of om zich uit te leven in La Petite Merveille, het grandioze avonturenpark. Of om rustig te gaan kajakken op de Ourthe, uiteraard.
De investeringen die Marc Coucke in Durbuy doet, hebben het stadje veranderd en tegelijk is alles er hetzelfde gebleven. Zo worden de hotels Le Sanglier des Ardennes en Jean de Bohème samengevoegd tot een volledig gerenoveerd hotel waarbij nog een nieuwbouw gepland staat. Andere panden worden opgekocht om het authentieke karakter van de binnenstad te bewaren, met snoepwinkel Bonbon Chic op kop. Maar dé blikvangers blijven de beide restaurants. Binnen enkele jaren wil Le Sanglier des Ardennes, onder leiding van topchef Wout Bru, een eerste Michelinster binnenrijven. De Bru’sserie zorgt dan weer voor culinair hoogstaande gerechtjes waar food sharing voorop staat.
En Durbuy zou Durbuy niet zijn als er ook geen hoogstaande events werden aangeboden. De Soirée Ensor interpreteert het menu dat door James Ensor ontworpen werd voor het huwelijk van de zoon van een van zijn beste vrienden en is op korte tijd uitgegroeid tot een absoluut society event. Ook de oldtimer rally’s trekken elk jaar een pak kijklustigen naar de streek. En wie is er niet te vinden voor een haut de gamme picknick te midden van de natuurpracht?
Liefhebbers van een stukje glamour die tegelijk het buitengevoel willen ervaren, kunnen terecht op de glamping, waar luxueuze tenten een adembenemend uitzicht bieden op de vallei van Durbuy. En wie nadien een balletje wil slaan op een van de twee prachtige golf courts, kan dat in alle rust doen.
Ook kunstliefhebbers komen in Durbuy aan hun trekken. Over enkele jaren zal er een gloednieuw museum verrijzen opgebouwd rond de Marcel Duchamp-collectie van Marc Coucke. Maar intussen kan u in Le Sanglier des Ardennes al werk bewonderen van Koen Vanmechelen, Kamagurka en Henk van Cauwenbergh.
En last but not least, zal er binnen afzienbare tijd een modeweek plaatsvinden in Durbuy. Belgische topmerken zullen er events kunnen organiseren – bedoeling is om op vijf jaar tijd een vaste waarde te worden in het modecircuit.
Kortom, het stadje is springlevend en meer dan ooit klaar om zijn gasten te ontvangen. Durbuy, waar mensen gelukzalig tot rust komen.
Michaël De Moor
For me Paris is the personification of a beautiful and notoriously ineffaceable first love. In the late seventies, when I was still seeking my voice as a photographer, head in the clouds, I forced a vital meeting with Jeanloup Sieff at Café de Flore in Paris. It left a long-lasting impression. The cinematic way in which this iconic photographer managed to capture extraordinary.
life, his captivating perspectives and the colourful characters populating his scenes, fascinated me without end.
At the time I lived in the streets of Serge Gainsbourg and Aznavour. I walked the same paths as the legendary Cathérine Deneuve and Jeanne Moreau. Inspired by the microcosm that is Saint-Germain, the casual, somewhat careless attitude of the bartenders in Les Deus Magots and Café de Flore, the boisterous ambiance in Brasserie Lipp… the idea came to mind to make my own record of the inimitable nonchalance of Parisian cafés. To capture the unique way of life in the Parisian métropole tout court.
Paris is a woman, London is a man. Paris charms mercilessly, cunningly. She gets under your skin. London will let you return home with your luggage, while Paris will keep your clothes in her closet.
This book is my ode to that passionate woman. Through a well-thought-out sequence of seemingly casual images, I present you with my vision of this enchanting temptress. Taste and discover. Fall in love! But beware that once she has you in her spell, she will never let you go…
Henk van Cauwenbergh
Before you is a beautifully illustrated picture book Wonderful Antwerp which carries the aptly named subtitle: ‘A Story of fine Dining, Spirit and Style’. The photos that are equally styled and intriguing are made by Henk van Cauwenbergh’s lens. His love for Antwerp is obvious. His father, city guide and professional Antwerpian George, taught the man to look fondly at his city and to love her with all his heart.
With this book, Henk follows in the footsteps of his esteemed late father who left us suddenly ten years ago and joins the high and mighty, not all of whom are still with us today, unfortunately. There is Filip Tas († 1997), for example, or Gerald Dauphin († 2007) and Marc Langrange († 2015). There are Cor Hageman and Raoul Van Den Boom who have immortalized Antwerp’s theatre and jazz scene. Photographers who, like Henk van Cauwenbergh, have placed Antwerp as a kaleidoscopic mosaic on the map.
Anyone browsing through this book will want to take the day off and tramp around the city on spec. If you mention Antwerp, people immediately think of our port, which is performing better every year, or of the world’s capital city of diamonds. And especially of a bustling city where fashion, culture, shopping and all the pleasures of the good life come together and are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike every day.
Expats, job seekers, academics and creative dreamers and doers from all over the world know why they choose Antwerp for the short or long haul. Many fall in love with Antwerp and are reluctant to move. Antwerp is a fast link to Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin and London. Compared to these cities, living in Antwerp is inexpensive. And since Antwerp is a pocket-sized metropolis, there are courtyards and hidden architectural gems within easy walking or cycling distance, as you will find a few illustrated in this book.
This book will introduce you to a sample of places where life is lived to the full every day and every night. Where people enjoy simple, delicious or exquisite dining in pleasant company. In Antwerp, good dining comes in all shapes and sizes, ranging from star restaurants, right through to brasseries and taverns. Nouvelle cuisine, grandmother’s kitchen or a quick bite. In Antwerp, we eat Flemish food, but also French, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish. Once you have chosen Antwerp as your home, there is no need to go out for years. Fortunately, Antwerp still has more than a handful of brown pubs. Where dock workers, civil servants and lawyers come together to put the world to rights. Trendy coffee bars are popping up everywhere. And whoever thinks closing time is too early, there is always a stylish wine bar, an intimate nightclub or a stomping discotheque.
Antwerp gives you the glad eye, is on the prowl and will entice you. Always.
Bart De Wever
Amazing Flavours of Amsterdam
Lazily rousing from your slumber in a spacious hotel room, the bells of the Westertoren happily ringing in the background. Enjoying a restaurant dish clearly prepared with passion, while the canal lights shimmer all around you. Painting the town with your honey, exploring medieval streets and alleyways until dawn, and rediscovering both the city and each other. That’s what Amsterdam means to me – that and so much more. No other city around the world is filled with so much fun, freedom and good times.
And it isn’t just me who thinks Mokum (a term of endearment for Amsterdam, the old Yiddish word for ‘safe haven’) is one of a kind. There’s a reason why so many odes have been dedicated to this city; be it songs, paintings or pictures. Photographer Henk van Cauwenbergh recently made a new attempt and succeeded brilliantly, in my opinion. I recognize myself in his vision; the way he approaches the sensuality and mystery of it all and manages to capture it in images that reveal so much more than words can ever hope to.
Do allow yourself to be enticed by this glorious, comprehensive book and savour your long, romantic weekend in our gorgeous capital.
Exquisite Venues of London
Henk’s book is a kind of visual love letter to the city, his images depict the vibrant cafe society and the fast changing cityscape… The magic of London doesn’t strike at first, but the city is imbued with a secret charm, and one has to venture into a journey of discovery to see unfold its hidden treasures.
Like with a person, superficial beauty loses its attraction very soon, unless there is some soulfulness to discover beyond it. The observation of London’s geographic, and cultural environment, consciously organised or not, and of the city’s many boroughs has a specific effect on the emotions and behaviour of its habitants. The city is totally beguiling, but there is nothing complacent about it.
City life is a collage of moments, be it places, people or emotions, the book captures these observations with atmospheric black and white images to reveal its effervescent energy. It contains many street scenes from the city’s various boroughs, details of old and new buildings, parks, public art, and other various vignettes that epitomise the ironic undercurrent inherent practically everywhere in the city, if one cares to notice. This book translates in flowing rhythm Henk’s perception of London.
Exquisite Venues has no literary pretences, but reflects London as Henk sees it now; dynamic and visionary in its progress, yet retaining its nostalgic attraction. The book wants to honour the spirit of the city.
For the attentive viewer who witnesses, for example, an outstanding dance performance, the term ‘movement’ can take on a new meaning. The combinations of grace and power, of stamina and lucidity, of playfulness and control free the complex of senses, nerves and muscles from its everydayness and elevate movement to that level of virtuosity inherent to what we call art.
It is not always clear to that same viewer that such free control of movement is the result of a lengthy, highly demanding and sometimes even merciless training process. When I had the privilege of seeing the première of the photos in Rencontre, what immediately struck me were the focus and earnestness with which both athletes prepare themselves with an eye to their performance.
From sport we know that most athletes must complete at least 10,000 hours of training before they can take a stab at getting to the top.
Hours, days, weeks and years of continual engagement and training are required before an athlete can achieve such a level of control. Though there are examples illustrating that natural ability plays a very significant role, a well-conceived training process provides an opportunity for full development of this ability.
A wide range of physiological, biomechanical, psychological and neurological processes develop during this efficient preparation, which in turn result in the ultimate performance.
Much more than an homage to the body, this training period on the way to the top is a test that separates the wheat from the chaff.
I recently visited the sports surgery hospital of a friend and colleague in Cape Town, South Africa during the World Cup. At the entry to the exercise room where many an Olympic champion has been formed, three quotes were hanging which I found reflected in Rencontre as well.
Courage is the spirit that demands the impossible.
The courage to outdo yourself, as well as the sacrifices that you must make to do so, can be seen as a repetitive constant in the piercing gaze of both athletes. The phenomenal stretching of the hamstrings in the ballerina and the muscular mismatch between the anterior and posterior muscle groups around the toreador’s shoulders bear witness to this. Or the pronounced lumbal lordosis in her and the axial elasticity in him.
This clearly establishes how a body can ultimately be tuned to the needs of the effort which is required.
Risk is the foundation of ultimate reward.
It demands a high form of control to dance while leaping en pointe in front of a full ballet theatre, or to stand eye to eye with a snorting and unpredictable bull.
There is no success without hardship.
Behind the ballerina’s idyllic tutu and other accoutrements are a body and feet that tell a story of injury and strain, evidence of the most rigorous training.
The brazen costume of the toreador contains a body that displays the distinct traces of the intensity and specificity of his physical training.
It is just as coincidental for a top photographer to meet a sports surgeon as for a ballerina from Monaco to venture into a toreador’s sandy corrida. And yet I can see some clear parallels: the focus on preparation, the control during performance, the anticipation of the body tone and unrelenting drive it takes to aspire to a higher level until complexity ascends to simplicity.
In this way I also have become a great admirer of Henk van Cauwenbergh’s work. In addition to the quality of the photography, each picture has a story behind it, and behind each view there is a an extrapolation of Henk’s personality, which I hold in the highest esteem.
This series of photographs captures the dynamics between these two very different top athletes in such a beautiful way that you can almost taste in the grand and mysterious décor of the Camargue the salty scent of the water all around.
And it is for this very reason that Henk elevates this meeting to the level of art…