Olivier Strebelle (b. Brussels, 1927) is a vanguard figure of modern and contemporary Belgian art. His monumental works have not only become cultural icons in Belgium (Flight in Mind at Zaventem Airport, for example, or Confluences at the European Parliament), but are also featured in well-known locations abroad.
Beijing will soon be hosting one of his productions. To mark the Olympic Games, Belgium is presenting China with a unique Strebelle installation. Athletes Alley is some 345 ft (105 m) long by 65 ft (20 m) tall, consisting of five modules formed from folded steel tubes presented in perspective. Together they impose themselves spatially in an organic and gracious ensemble. The work emerges from a frontal focal point, revealing five silhouettes each bearing an Olympic ring. Constructed in Beijing and officially inaugurated in late April in preparation for the 2008 Olympics, it is a remarkable triumph of technology and technique, made possible by the work of specialist engineers using ground-breaking software. A mere five years ago such a work of art would never have seen the light of day.