2014 Aidsmonument Amsterdam

Stichting Namenproject, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Pictures of the AIDS virus made with an electronic microscope show a strange ball-like shape descending on the surface of a cell, melting with it, changing the DNA structure inside. Then new balls form, surface from the cell in search of other cells. These are strange compelling images. What you see is nature itself at work: so it goes. Apart from our human experience. Questions like 'why is this happening to me', and 'what is the meaning of this' are irrelevant at this level. There is no enemy, no perpetrator, no guild. In this I found a clean start for a sculpture, these pure lifeforms, doing what they do, independent of the 'human condition'. It is a natural process, it is part of life that these things occur. Being aware of this is very comforting. The pictures from the aids virus reminded me of the ancient tradition of erecting stones as monuments. This summer I visited Carnac in Bretany in France. Miles of huge erected rocks are lined up there. The scolars are still trying to figure out why. In Myanmar a giant balancing rock is kept in place by a hair of the Buddha, according to the legend. The rock is covered in gold leaf and a pilgrimage site. My design is part of this tradition. The monumental rock in AIDS red is perfectly in place on this spot on the waterfront of Amsterdam. A giant red balancing boulder, a vulnerable equilibrium, yet robust and confidently upright. It is a confrontation with something bigger than yourself, a force of nature. Its charisma of power and balance is something you can relate to physically and mentally. It is inevitably there and in that sense also an emblem of self-confidence, of standing your ground. Even though the hectic surroundings of the waterfront and skyline of Amsterdam are hard to deal with, this rock stands there gloriously and shameless between station and muziekgebouw, effortlessly mastering all visual noise. I am here, in full daylight, participating in life. That is the message to the world.