An Outdoor Library in Ghent – Belgium

In Ghent, Belgium, St. Peter’s Abbey Vineyard has been a part of the town landscape since the Middle Ages. Now this historic vineyard has gotten a beautiful new addition, dubbed Bookyard, which was recently installed by the Italian artist Massimo Bartolini. Designed as part of the art festival Track: A Contemporary City Conversation, 12 sweeping bookcases align with the Abbey’s grapevines and harken back to an old world Europe that was once filled with bounded print, and free from digital forms.
Massimo Bartolini
turns the idea of the library on its head with his outdoor installation. Rather than public libraries scrambling for ways to bring in patrons, Bookyard steps out of a library’s comfort zone and creates a venue where a bookworm can find his or favorite book and then read it in a beautiful setting.
Up until the exhibit’s conclusion on September 16, readers can peruse the bookshelves, select that favorite book, and then leave a donation in the amount of their choosing in a discrete box. Libraries in Ghent and Antwerp donated the books for Bartolini’s Bookyard.

Bartolini, from Cecina, Italy, has long used various forms of mixed media, including sculpture and photography, and this outdoor library in the shadow of Ghent’s Book Tower is one of his finest works. The layered bookshelves mimic the vineyard’s rolling hills, the towers of books appear to grow out from the grass, and the surrounding trees and the setting inspire us to shut off out tablets and cell phones and sit down and read a classic. One question has puzzled many visitors, however; what happens when it rains?

St Peter’s Abbey vineyard, Sint-Pietersplein 14
Every year the 11.11.11. ngo organises a sale of books that the public library has cleared from its stocks. For Massimo Bartolini’s artistic project, TRACK is also able to make use of the book reserves of the public libraries of Ghent and Antwerp. To give additional support to the 11.11.11. sale, TRACK will be installing a special collection box in the abbey vineyard. Anyone who wishes to buy a book can put a payment of their choice in the box.