Out of Focus
No longer exists
Sometimes a work of art has what you might call material failure. That happened to sculptor Anno Dijkstra with his contribution to The Sculpture Gallery. In 2011, he cast his sculpture A Last Farewell in a new kind of plastic. One that was less environmentally damaging. That was a nice goal and at the same time this material gave him the possibility to work the sculpture with a chisel after casting for a more direct effect.
Contrary to expectations, the material turned out to suffer more from weather and wind after all. Regular high-pressure spraying - a common way to clean (ordinary) objects in public spaces - did not have a positive effect either. Over time, more and more cracks appeared. Because they proved unrepairable, Dijkstra poured a second one. In that, too, cracks appeared. When the sculpture also began to tilt dangerously, it was finally decided by mutual agreement to remove it from The Sculpture Gallery. In June 2023 it was retrieved from the Open Depot in the Zuiderpark, where it had previously been moved from the center.
Open Opslag Beeldengalerij Zuiderpark, Den Haag
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A holiday snapshot. That is what Anno Dijkstra's pedestal sculpture looks like. An Amazonian Indian in full regalia embraces a random western tourist for the photo. It turns out to be a snapshot with a sharp edge. Why doesn't the Indian have a right arm? And why is it that the white image seems to have been repaired here and there in a different color? The practical answer is that the arm did not fit within the rigid dimensions that apply to every pedestal sculpture. More important, however, are other associations created by the amputation. Together with the repairs, it immediately evokes memories of statues from the ancient Greeks and Romans. At the same time, it refers to the fact that the original Amazon culture is now largely dependent on tourism for its survival. Conversely, Western tourists need to consume authentic cultures. Certainly in the busy shopping streets where the pedestal statue stands, this raises the question: who is actually dependent on whom?
Much of van Dijkstra's work is about images that newspapers and television pour out on us on a daily basis. Think of the napalm girl from Vietnam, the mushroom cloud from the atomic bomb or the murdered Theo van Gogh. These often shocking images are engraved in our collective memory. By turning such iconic images into hyper-realistic sculptures and presenting them in a special way, Dijkstra makes you think about what these images actually show and especially how. In this way the artist confronts the viewer not only with his own reaction, but also with questions about the use of images in the media. In 2008, for example, during the exhibition 'Madrid Abierto' Dijkstra placed a sculpture of a malnourished child on a boulevard in the Spanish capital. Passers-by knocked over a piece of fabric, stroked it or took a picture with it. These divergent reactions have been recorded in a publication.
Currently, this sculpture from the sculpture gallery is stationed in the Zuiderpark.