During the exhibition BigArt 2018, I presented the installation 'Befriend your escape'.
The exhibition took place in the former Bijlmer Bajes (a prison in Amsterdam which is demolished to be replaced by housing in 2020). From 10 to 14 October, just before the building was due to be demolished.
A last 'event' in a building with a charged history. The double aspect of a public event in a building designed for isolation is what I decided to conceive as an installation.
I made four different spaces in which exactly the same sculpture creates a completely different space each time.
When approaching the installation, a deep shiny dark blue version stands on a silver circle. This display is inescapably direct. Your gaze almost bounces off the sculpture.
Next to it is a sandy-yellow version on a white plinth that is illuminated from within. It is as if the sculpture floats. The sculpture is at eye level; you can see it clearly.
Further on, a photo of a Japanese bathhouse was taken through a fogged-up window and printed life-size. The fogged-up windows exude the warmth and obscure the image.
Next to you is a fellow visitor of BigArt. It is the porcelain sculpture again. Friendly, glossily glazed - perfect, in fact - but the sculpture is unable to speak to you.
In another section, you see a replica of a section of the Bijlmerbajes corridor. Through the real windows, the outside world can be seen. In this room, the inner world is drawn behind the windows; the drawing you see through the window changes slowly. Drops of water glide down the drawing. Tears? Sweat? Condensation? The oppressive feeling of having no control passes by. How is the ticking of time experienced without freedom?
On each day of the exhibition, I made a drawing. It was done on instinct, depending on how that morning struck me.
I wanted to make a last personal document with the history of the building in mind prior to the demolition; freedom can be taken away, but the feeling will always be there.