2011 an island

provence of North-Holland/kunstgebouw, Delft, the Netherlands

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How many kubic metres of soil can be displaced for € 100.000,-? Quite a lot, you can build an island of 30 x 90 metres, with an average hight of 5 metres, in a 100 x 100 metres lake. The budget is sufficient for a number of additions; a nice large tree, bushes and plants, a beach in a bay, a shipwreck, a pile of trees, driftwood, a rockslide, and a little bridge. All adding up to 'an Island'. A sculpture, totally assembled with sharp attention to formal sculpural qualities; composition, light/dark, colour, texture, reflection, rhytm. Shaped with firm sculptural gestures, with add-on elements originating from the aesthetics of destruction. 'An Island' is placed as an enlarged Bonsai landscape in its context, a smallish recreational area next to the A13 motorway in the Netherlands. 'An Island' is a public space mirage with the qualities of a filmset, but it is not a filmset. It is a place where many things are possible. You can swim there, go fishing, sunbathing, play or walk. But it is not a swimming pool, not a fishing pond, not a playground and not a public footpath. All these things are possible and allowed, but they are not programmed and there are no specific facilities there. It offers protection from the wind and the noise coming from the road. But it is not designed as a windscreen or sound barrier. Animals and plants are totally welcome, but this is not a nature area. It is a sculpture. 'It is generally understood that Dutch culture is firmly connected to the concept of 'landscape'. The genre, that in the course of the XVII century became a conventional cultural aesthetic to depict man’s control over nature, was not only generated in the Netherlands, but it did become one of this country’s most specific cultural identities. A relationship which evolved further through the development of the Netherlands into an important site for artists, cartographers, architects, and engineers. The work of Jeroen Doorenweerd fits perfectly in this particularly Dutch framework. Moreover, many of his projects remind me, as an Italian, of how, in France at beginning of the XIV Century, an attempt was being made to form a “new vision” of the world. The man doing so was Francesco Petrarca, and the aesthetic experience he was trying to achieve was the climbing of Mont Ventoux on the 26th of April, 1336. The date is important because this is the first time that someone attempts to climb a mountain, not for a practical or strategic reason, but for the mere experience of the unique view which the mountaintop has to offer. In doing so, Petrarca was “creating” a landscape that, until that moment, existed only within his aesthetic and metaphoric vision. The recreation of this aesthetic landscape is a recurring theme in Jeroen Doorenweerd’s oeuvre. In “An island”, a proposal from 2011, the production of the landscape is based on a one to one relationship with the subject. Doorenweerd reconstructed a landscape in the form of a massive sculpture on the surface of the water. Reminiscent of a proto-romantic painting by Salomon van Ruysdael, the ideal reproduction is proposed on a real scale – the pleasure of seeing a mountain and of seeing the landscape from the mountain itself – this double dimension of the landscape is the reference. The transformation into painting is reversed back into a landscape and the fictional image becomes a reality. Indeed, this is one of the most important inventions of the landscape in art: the possibility of allowing a place to relocate. A displacement that creates the basis for the culture of commercialism in a land such as the Netherlands, and one which preceded the era of mechanised transport at a time before the possibility of travelling with ease, enabled one to see the landscape.' (Lorenzo Benedetti, 'flow and drift and perform and sit' (random but in order), onomatopee 74)