The Blue Route
27 September 2013 – 09 February 2014

This exhibition follows the footsteps of the Silk Road through the colour blue, for centuries inspiring artists, craftsmen and poets, both in the East and West alike.

From the Mediterranean to China, this imaginary journey evokes the indigo of textiles, the blue ceramics of the Ottoman Empire and Central Asia, turquoise and lapis-lazuli jewels, culminating with the famous China blue.
The exhibition invites visitors on a journey through space and time, through cultures and art described in its diverse forms of expression. More than forty modern and contemporary artists have been invited for this exhibition, which will subsequently be shown to the public in the Museum of Limoges.

While blue was regarded as a barbaric colour in Greek and Roman Antiquity, the East already used it in art as well as in everyday life, be it for religious rituals, dyeing textiles, decorating ceramics and glass, or the ornamentation of precious jewellery.

Known as anil, indigo gave its name to the Nile, the blue river of Egypt, where the colour was thought to bring good fortune in the afterlife. Turquoise was dedicated to Hathor, goddess of motherhood, and the god Horus pectoral is of a deep blue, symbolizing the healing eye as well as the sun.

In Persia, it was thought that the world rested on a sapphire giving the sky its radiance, while in ancient China blue was attributed the medicinal properties of the indigo plant and was used in the manufacture of paper, clothes and porcelain. The Tibetans, for their part, treasured turquoises as a charm protecting water and springs.

If the East has long regarded blue as endowed with certain virtues, curiously it was not until the 12th century that Europe gradually appreciated the colour, which hitherto had only been described in a poor language.

But since more modern times, Blue has found its rightful place in the West, to the point of becoming, ahead of red and green the world’s favourite colour, symbolizing dreams, wisdom and serenity. Henceforth, blue is ubiquitous: associated with the purity of water, the infinity of the heavens and seas, divine and royal right, work clothes and jeans of all generations, the works of Impressionist and Fauve artists to those of Matisse and Yves Klein. Blue is colour adorned with many attributes and there are countless expressions that give meaning to its thousands of shades.

Alongside works by major artists such as

Pierre Alechinsky, Yves Klein and Joan Miró


The exhibition is open every day except Monday, from 10 am to 6.30 pm.

Guided tours available in english, french and dutch for groups of maximum 15 people.
Booking by email : or

Diane Hennebert
In Charge of the Direction of the Foundation

Christophe Dosogne
Art Advisor of the Foundation

Centre for art and dialogue between the cultures of East and West
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67
1050 Brussels

Phone: +32 (0)2 627 52 30

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Contemporary artists shortlisted are

Maliheh Afnan (Lebanon and England), Tarek Al-Ghoussein (Kuwait), Fayçal Baghriche (Algeria and France), Alighiero Boetti (Italy), Isabelle de Borchgrave (Belgium), Jonathan Bréchignac (France), Fabrizio Corneli (Italy), Russell Crotty (USA), Martine Damas (France), Anne De Bodt (Belgium), Philippe Decelle (Belgium), Betty de Paris (France), Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye (Turkey), mounir fatmi (Morocco), Monique Frydman (France), Babak Golkar (Iran), Platon Alexis Hadjimichalis (Greece), Bang Hai Ja (South Korea), Sahand Hesamiyan (Iran), Mahmoud Hojeij (Lebanon), Anish Kapoor (India and United-Kingdom), Abdulrahman Katanani (Lebanon), Mohammed Kazem (Dubai), Mehdi-Georges Lahlou (France and Morocco), Nicola L. (France and USA), Desmond Lazaro (India), Yamamoto Masao (Japan), Rui Moreira (Portugal), Nabil Nahas (Lebanon), Driss Ouadahi (Algeria), Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (Iran), Yee Sookyung (South Korea), Chantal Talbot (Belgium), Hale Tenger (Turkey), Arlette Vermeiren (Belgium), Paul Wallach (France and USA), Cui Xiuwen (China), Raed Yassin (Lebanon), Kimura Yoshiro (Japan), Sandra Zeenni (France and Lebanon), Andrey Zouari (France)

In collaboration with

The Cité de la Céramique, Sèvres and Limoges, the Musée national des Arts asiatiques Guimet (Paris), the Museum of Ixelles (Brussels) and the Grand Curtius Museum (Liège).

Private collections

Boghossian Collection (Brussels and Geneva), Stéphane Cauchies Collection (Brussels), Mimi Dusselier Collection (Kortrijk), Colette Ghysels Collection (Couture-Saint-Germain), Frédéric de Goldschmidt Collection (Brussels), Marcel & Zaira Mis Collection (Brussels), Collection Nadour (Germany).


Agial Art Gallery (Beirut), Galerie Beck & Eggeling (Düsseldorf), Broadway 1602 Gallery (New York), Ben Brown Fine Arts (London), Galerie DIX9 Hélène Lacharmoise (Paris), Galerie Duchange & Riché (Brussels), Galerie Faider (Brussels), Fifty One Fine Art Photography (Antwerp), Galerie Pierre-Marie Giraud (Brussels), Green Art Gallery (Dubai), Rose Issa Projects (London), Galerie Jaeger Bucher (Paris), Keitelman Gallery (Brussels), Galerie Kevorkian (Paris), MAD Agency (Asnières-sur-Seine/Paris), Guy Pieters Gallery (Knokke-Heist), Almine Rech Gallery (Brussels and Paris), Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve (Paris), The Third Line (Dubai), Galerie Transit (Malines), Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde (Dubai).

Some contributors have asked to remain anonymous.

A catalogue richly illustrated is being published for the exhibition.

International meetings will be organised at the Villa Empain on the 3rd, 4th and 5th December 2013 that will give an in-depth insight in the exhibition, entitled Périples de la Route bleue.