Artwork Data




Gijs Assmann






h. 410 m

Artwork Location


Capadosestraat, Den Haag

City district


GPS data

52.058244341671, 4.3182700927986 View on map

Artwork Description


New construction of the Johan de Wittcollege on the Capadosestraat in the Laak district prompted this art commission. The elongated building has its entrance at the back and a blind facade at the far end. This was the starting point for the commission that sculptor Gijs Assmann was to carry out. His work should give the building a face in the street and at the same time show the way to the entrance.

At the beginning of the process, Assmann first showed the committee with architect and representatives of the future users 25 sketches. From these they, together with him, chose a favorite. It is a design of a stack of everyday objects combined with parts of the human body: a pair of Uggs, a bunch of balloons taking off, a large garbage bag, but also a loose leg and some abnormally elongated arms. The imagery of these ties in directly with that of this artist's free work.

Assmann likes to quote freely from contemporary comics, pornography and medieval art - think gargoyles on cathedrals. What attracts him to them is human inadequacy and the more black sides of life. Ever since he gained national fame in the late 1980s, he has been depicting themes such as death, sex and religion in colorful ceramic sculptures and drawings in a cheerful and seductive manner. The undertone of this is less light-hearted, rather wry.

Although there was only room within the original budget to produce a man-sized sculpture, with an additional contribution from the national Mondriaan Fund it was possible to realize a sculpture over four meters high. Now Assmann's sculpture relates to both the student and the surrounding architecture.

Assmann's "Balloon Child" refers both to the schoolchildren's own living environment and to their desire to outgrow their own limitations, thus depicting the human capacity for transformation.