diverse and
free work

Wild flowers are flowers that grow wherever they want and how they want. The environment in which they grow, distinguishes them from garden and cut flowers. This is also the case with the works of art with the title “Wild flowers’. They are characterized by appearing and blossoming unannounced in your surroundings. Often they stand more isolated both in time and in relation to other works.
They may form the starting point for a series of works that originate – more cultivated and with a more preconceived plan – from these meadow flowers.

 

Lost in Terminal

Lost in Terminal (16,17-10-2009 JFK New York) – part 1 / newspapers, magazines, books, metal / 35x31x12cm / 2009

On my return flight from Miami to Amsterdam I made a stopover at John F. Kennedy airport in New York. My connecting flight was supposed to leave from a gate in the same terminal. On arrival at the gate it turned out that this was only used as the bus stop to a terminal on the other side of the airport, but at that time of night, the bus didn’t run any more.

After asking, it turned out there was a local metro that left from outside the terminal and on the other side. This had, however, just left. Puffing and panting, at last I arrived at the departure desk for the Netherlands half an hour before scheduled takeoff. Here, I was told that I was too late, that my luggage would still be unloaded and that it was my fault if the plane was delayed. Well!.

I went to the nearest local desk, where I explained to a lady what had happened to me. ”Oh, this happens all the time,” she said and wrote on my ticket ’Lost in Terminal’. With a smile on her face she gave me a ticket for the following day.

Then something strange happened. It looked as if I had suddenly been given extra time. Where I had just been in rushing and racing mode, now I was in a sort of time capsule, a delayed, lengthy intermezzo during my move from A to B. As if the movement was temporarily frozen and I had all the time to look around and do something else. 

The books, magazines and newspapers I bought and read during this intermezzo, have been saved. My ‘meantime’ was filled with characters from novels, non-fiction, news and photos from:

  • The Miami Herald, 16-10-09
  • USA Today, 16-10-09
  • Financial Times, 16-10-09
  • The Wall Street Journal, 16-10-09
  • The New York Times, 17-10-09
  • Newsweek Special, The Last Brother, Edward M. Kennedy, 1932-2009, 17-10-09
  • The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown, 2009
  • Confessions of an Economic Hitman, by John Perkins, 2004

See also Over©time, where the deceleration and acceleration of time also play an important role.

 

Venetia Gold

Venetia Gold / shoes, textile, plastic / each 35x30x7cm / 2007

The Masai are extremely adept at standing on one leg for prolonged periods. This is how they rest their legs one at a time while herding their cattle.The Masai is the name of a nomadic people living on the border of Tanzania and Kenya. Traditionally, the Masai are livestock farmers. They mainly eat meat and drink milk from their cows, goats and sheep.
It would be easy if our legs had a couple of double or triple feet, the way many animals have splayed toes. That would make it much easier to remain stable standing on one leg. How would people with multiple feet walk and what would their shoes look like? Step-ins for a human form of T. Rex?

   

2nd Life of a Christmas tree


2nd life of a Christmas tree core / Christmas tree, metal160x25x12cm / 2016

2nd life of a Christmas tree cone / Christmas tree, wood, chair legs / 80x80x195cm / 2006

Christmas trees: felled en mass in the prime of their youth to become the highpoint of our end of year celebrations. In the Netherlands mostly Spruce and Pine are used as Christmas tree. After a couple of weeks they are all discarded again. Left abandoned on the side of the road they are proof of a celebration for which they were briefly the centre of attention. They were allowed to show off, with angel hair, candles and glitters and they were filled with shiny golden baubles. In the studio they rest up for a year, until they ‘know’ what they can still become.

  

Nails

no title (nails) / plastic nails, rubber / size / 2003

In the heat of passion she ran her hand with splayed fingers over my back. Aroused, she left a deep red track with her painted nails.

  

Over©time

Over©time / in collaboration with Erik Hehenkamp, published in magazine MillenniuM, number.12, winter 1997/98, Bezige Bij / size / 1997

Time tends to go its own way. Occasionally it goes so slowly that there seems to be no end, then again so fast that it slips through your fingers. There are times you would gladly give some time away, so everything would go faster, at other times it cannot go slowly enough and you’d really like to have more time.

With Erik Hehenkamp I developed a series of activities that make it possible to exchange time. This resulted in the following platforms: over©time™, no©time™ and time©share™. A first publication appears as an advertisement in ‘Millennium’, a magazine from De Bezige Bij. Its objective was to connect people with each other to exchange time.

  

This is my bread

This is my bread / homemade bread, steel / 80x90x15cm / 1992

“Take and eat, this is my body.” As a small altar boy I often heard the village priest utter these words during mass. They were the highpoint of the Catholic mass where we were called to unite through the bread and wine.
Many years later, for the presentation of the sculpture above, I had currant bread baked for my art school teachers. I offered it to them with the words “Take and eat, this is my bread.”Currant bread is a typical regional Twente delicacy, traditionally served as a birth cake during the ‘kroamschudden’ (visitors to see and hold the newborn baby). It contains a lot of currants and occasionally raisins and candied peel. Currant bread is not only known for its excellent taste, but also because of the unusually large size of the loaf.

This currant bread was baked in a homemade baking form, just like the long and wide loaves from this work.

Presentation of This is my bread by offering currant bread.

I used the concept of constriction in more works, like in no title (corset fence) and The Body, the Man, the City, and the Border at Mobile Garden.

This is our bread / plaited and baked baguettes / 50x75x10cm / 1995

My former French lover lived and worked in a small village in France. I often stayed with her for weeks at a time. Art and food frequently and effortlessly came together. At the local bakery where I got our French bread in the morning, I got into a discussion about this. Together, we came up with a new version of This is my bread in his bakery: plaited baguettes. A free French variation of the straight and tight Dutch bread in This is my bread.

   

See – the slides

Images for installation See / slide projectors, slides, reflective board, mechanical installation / 600x400cm / 1990 / photos MB

The installation See consisted of a reflective board of 80 x 120 centimetres that moved horizontally and vertically in an imaginary plane of about 6 x 4 metres. Within that plane a number of images were projected, where only the part that fell on the moving white board could be clearly seen. Steered by me, the movement of the board formed a ‘dance’ that brought the projections to life.

Images for installation See / slide projectors, slides, reflective board, mechanical installation / 600x400cm / 1990 / photos MB

The projections showed images of theatrical compositions with body painted people. My installation Seen was made in response to the book This way for the gas, ladies and gentlemen by the Polish writer Tadeusz Borowski.Tadeusz Borowski (Zjytomyr, 12 November 1922 – Warsaw, 3 July 1951) was a Polish writer, poet and Holocaust-survivor.

“I push  myself firmly away from the window, as though breaking a rope which has been holding me there, go up to my desk with a feeling that again I have managed to lose valuable time, pull my long-abandoned papers out of the drawer. And since today the world has not yet blown away. I take out fresh paper, arrange it neatly on the desk, and closing my eyes try to find within me a tender feeling for the workmen hammering the rails,  for the peasant women with their ersatz sour cream, the trains full of merchandise, the fading sky above the ruins, for the passers-by on the street below and the newly installed windows, and even for my wife who is washing dishes in the kitchen alcove; and with a tremendous intellectual effort I attempt to grasp the true significance of the events, things and people I have seen. For I intend to write a geat, immortal epic, worthy of this unchanging, difficult world chiselled out of stone."
Source: This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, Tadeusz Borowski, translated by Michael Kandel, Penguin Classics, 1967. Original title Wybor Opowiadan, 1959.
Read more about Tadeusz Borowski.

Borowski was born in 1922 into the Polish community in Zhytomyr, Ukrainian SSR (today Ukraine). His parents, whose bookstore had been nationalized by the communists, were in 1926 deported to Karelia and Siberia.. During this time Tadeusz lived with his aunt.

In 1940 Borowski finished his secondary schooling in a secret underground lyceum in Nazi-occupied Poland, and then began studies at the underground Warsaw University (Polish language and literature). It was during this period that he wrote most of his wartime poetry, and he clandestinely published his first collection, titled Gdziekolwiek Ziemia (Wherever the Earth).

While a member of the educational underground in Warsaw, Borowski was living with his fiancée Maria. After Maria did not return home one night in February 1943, Borowski began to suspect that she had been arrested. Rather than staying away from any of their usual meeting places, though, he walked straight into the trap that was set by the Gestapo agents in the apartment of his and Maria's close friend. In 1943 Borowski was arrested andplaced in the infamous Pawiak prison and was then transported to Auschwitz.

Forced into slave labor in extremely harsh conditions, Borowski later reflected on this experience in his writing. In particular, working on a railway ramp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, he witnessed Jews first being told to leave their personal property behind, and then being transferred directly from the trains to the gas chambers. While a prisoner at Auschwitz, Borowski caught pneumonia; afterwards, he was put to work in a Nazi medical experiment "hospital." He was able to maintain written and personal contact with his fiancée, who was also imprisoned in Auschwitz

Borowski turned to prose after the war, believing that what he had to say could no longer be expressed in verse. His series of short stories about life in Auschwitz was published as Po?egnanie z Mari? (Farewell to Maria, English title This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen). The main stories are written in the first person from the perspective of an Auschwitz inmate; they describe the morally numbing effect of everyday terror, with prisoners, trying to survive, often being indifferent or mean towards each other; the privileges of non-Jewish inmates like Borowski; and the absence of any heroism.

After the war Borowski worked as a journalist, joined the Communist-controlled Polish Workers' Party and wrote political tracts as well. At first he believed that Communism was the only political force truly capable of preventing any future Auschwitz from happening. In 1950 a close friend of his was imprisoned and tortured by the Communists. Borowski tried to intervene on his behalf and failed; he became completely disillusioned with the regime.
On July 1, 1951, at the age of 28, he committed suicide by breathing in gas from a gas stove.
Source: Wikipedia

Images for installation See / slide projectors, slides, reflective board, mechanical installation / 600x400cm / 1990 / photos MB

The installation See was exhibited in conjunction with the theatre piece Tadeusz, based on the same book. Without text or music, with only the squeaky sound of the ‘dancing’ board, See depicts the anguish of the writer and his subject.

Images for installation See / slide projectors, slides, reflective board, mechanical installation / 600x400cm / 1990 / photos MB 

    

Peep

Peep / scaffolding, grids, lenses, lamps, wood, glass, plexiglas, plastic, steel / 6x15m / 1988 / photo 1 GM

The installation Peep was part of the multi-installation ‘open house’, organized by Liesje Smolders. When, due to demolition and rebuild, she had to leave her home after 7 years, she decided to temporarily transform the said building and property next door (Kerkstraat 285-287 in Amsterdam) in a grandiose installation. To leave the history associated with the place behind her, she chose to scan the building from top to bottom and then break it open.

Peep / scaffolding, grids, lenses, lamps, wood, glass, plexiglas, plastic, steel / 6x15m / 1988

“Precisely by opening walls and floors, and also the gable, ‘the house’ gets an inviting character: there is no longer any privacy, now the connection of the one with the other, through the proximity of the outside world, is inevitable.
In order to emphasise this, by standard measures, ‘reverse’ situation, Johan Lammerink, decor designer, has made the gable accessible by means of a scaffolding and ladder construction. Where once one looked from the inside out, by walking along the gable, now the opposite effect has been achieved. As a result, the generally familiar, but often deplorable, tendency towards voyeurism is stimulated, thanks to the (peep) holes in the outside wall that give a distorted view of the interior.
It is therefore possible to see, from the outside, what is going on inside.”
Source: Ellen Jansen in the catalogue of ‘open house’.

Peep / scaffolding, grids, lenses, lamps, wood, glass, plexiglas, plastic, steel / 6x15m / 1988

At the very top of the scaffolding, you stood at the height of the attic and roof guttering. In the water in the guttering it is as if you were looking into the history of the building: old images of people on glass plates shone like ghosts.

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Catalogue and scaffolding concept for Peep / scaffolding, grids, lenses, lamps, wood, glass, plexiglas, plastic, steel / 6x15m / 1988

The vertical scaffolding poles followed the rhythm of the windows and the vertical stone pillars in between. The diagonals gave the rhythm of the steps and the upward movement.
Several horizontal scaffolding poles and diagonals across the ends were covered with red plastic. From a fictitious point on the other side of the street (at eye level) together they denoted the bottom of the windows. They emphasized, stimulated and directed the voyeuristic look inside.

Farewell concept for Peep / scaffolding, grids, lenses, lamps, wood, glass, plexiglas, plastic, steel / 6x15m / 1988

From a distance, the red scaffolding poles at the tip of the scaffold added another dimension to the scaffolding structure. They evoked the image of the battens of a junk departing at full-sail. This part of the concept, which was lighted by a red lantern in a vertical high ‘mast’ in the evenings, was an ode to the departing Liesje who had a special bond with Asia.

Looking inside by Peep / scaffolding, grids, lenses, lamps, wood, glass, plexiglas, plastic, steel / 6x15m / 1988

From the scaffolding, it was possible to look in at different places and in different ways: looking inside and peeking. Through the holes in the gable, often provided with mirrors and lenses, you looked back into the history of the houses or rather to an artist’s, distorted or otherwise, transformation of the spaces.

Looking inside by Peep / scaffolding, grids, lenses, lamps, wood, glass, plexiglas, plastic, steel / 6x15m / 1988

These 4 photos from a hole that was made between 2 windows give an example of peeping. Transparent foil was hung on the inside of the hole, on it a partial image of an originally domestic scene (Liesje and neighbour Alet at the table); it was previously photographed from exactly the same place. Looking from the outside in, you saw both the earlier domestic scene, as well as the reality at the moment of looking (in the photo: neighbour Alet standing and a wooden work of art).

Looking inside by Peep and fleeing furniture / scaffolding, grids, lenses, lamps, wood, glass, plexiglas, plastic, steel/ 6x15m / 1988

In a second example, shallow tubes were placed in front of two adjacent windows. This allowed you to look into the space behind. Under the title fleeing furniture I placed the silhouette of a wooden table there. Through one of the tubes, by means of a lens you could see a table that appeared straight, sharp and motionless. Through the other tube you looked at the same table as a moving, rearing animal.