Park in het Water
beton, aarde, lantaarnpalen, bomen
Johanna Westerdijkplein, Den Haag
52.068130564618, 4.3257965292526 View on map
Laakhaven new style: two rows of high-rise flats, the Haagse Hogeschool, a strip of cafés and restaurants and a city park. It is at the edge of that city park that it happens. A piece of land has been broken up here and floated away, complete with lampposts, trees and shells. Moreover, it is tilted, because where one end protrudes significantly above the quay, the other end just barely goes under. Semicircular recesses are visible on the boundary where the lampposts used to be. These serve as seats. The lampposts float lonely as islands between the two quays. This broken-up piece of land is a work of art by the internationally renowned American artist Vito Acconci.
On the occasion of his exhibition on his art in public space in The Hague in 1993, Acconci drew up a noncommittal mega-plan for the new area around the Laakhaven and Hollands Spoor. The original model shows a fragmented and unstable environment in which water and land are competing with each other. It is based on ideas about polders and the Laakhaven's connection with the sea. Hans van Beek, architect at Atelier Pro and involved with the Haagse Hogeschool area, was so enthusiastic about the plan that he invited Acconci to reduce it to feasible proportions.
Acconci created a furore at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s with performances in which he put his own body to the test. In the mid-1970s the emphasis gradually shifted from his own body to spatial installations and then to architecture and urban development. Since 1988 he has mainly operated in public space under the name Acconci & Studio.
Constant throughout Acconci's oeuvre is his own existence and the boundaries between the public and the private, between the personal and the collective. This theme can also be seen in his "Park in the Water.