Weteringkade, Den Haag
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What is a work of art doing in the middle of the busy Rijswijkseplein square, where various traffic signs are demanding attention? Sculptor David Vandekop also asked himself this question. He was of the opinion that 'just another sculpture' was superfluous. Hence this 'Obstacle': three metal rectangles that are kept in balance by the bars with which they are pierced. Ostensibly, they are the remains of a building activity. You can ignore them, but the strange positioning also makes them intriguing.
During his training at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Vandekop was encouraged to make sculptures by sculptor Carel Visser. In a former forge he made his first 'constructions' with parts of discarded agricultural tools. The starting point for his sculptures was emptiness. For instance, he exhibited metal doors in an empty museum room. Their position influenced the movements of the public through the space: he called them 'frame rules'. Obstacle' from 1980 is another exponent of this period.
In his later work, Vandekop took a different path. He fell under the spell of nature, especially the Zeeland landscape, where he walked for hours and recorded his experiences in watercolours. He also travelled extensively, especially to India, where he was captivated by the simplicity of centuries-old sculptural principles.
Nature and the awareness of tradition made him reject the conceptual approach as too 'clinical'. He experimented with more natural - and traditionally used - materials such as wood and (Zeeland) clay, which moreover lend themselves better to colour applications.
In the 1980s, he went public with colourful ceramic constructions made of large slabs of clay, which became brittle when drying, such as on Utrecht's Smakkelaarsveld near the Central Station. The sculptures function as landmarks and offer shelter to passers-by. They are no longer an obstacle, but part of the landscape.