1995 Swimming Pool

Dutch Building Agency, Nieuw Vosseveld Penitentiairy, Vught, the Netherlands

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“The surface of the water reflects the clouds and the barbed wire on top of the wall. Karin Daan, adviser to the government architect, calls it “ real Dutch art, in the tradition of Mondriaan.” And yet, there is no doubt about it, the blue tiled basin with its little metal ladder is a swimming pool at the foot of a prison wall. A swimming pool designed by an artist and paid for by a government grant to art. “A Dutch Statue of Liberty”is what Jeroen Doorenweerd calls his swimming pool. “All the rest of my work has the same ambiguity that forces the viewer to intensify his perception”. In the museum world presenting an everyday object as art is nothing new. In 1913 Marcel Duchamp created a furore by exhibiting a porcelain urinal. “Ceci n ‘est pas une pipe’ (this is not a pipe) wrote the surrealist Margritte in the nineteen thirties in green oil paint next to a painted pipe. “Ceci est une piscine”laughs Doorenweerd. This is a swimming pool. “I have always experienced prison life as very strict. It was not my intention to publicise the swimming pool, but it was leaked to the press” says the director. “In line with the strict policy I feel bound to say that it should not be used to swim in, but I assure you that if anyone should just happen to fall in, I will not prohibit it.”” (Ineke Jungschleger, reporting in De Volkskrant)