Scheveninger en Scheveningse
Kapitein De Rijkstraat, Den Haag
52.097481001327, 4.2697577538346 View on map
That the work of art would tell something about fishing, inextricably linked to Scheveningen, was clear from the start. But before starting his commission, sculptor Rudi Rooijackers wanted to know more about the ins and outs of the Scheveningen fishery. From conversations with the local population, it appeared that there was a clear division of roles in Scheveningen at the time. The man caught the fish and the woman sold the catch. This is how the idea for his sculptures took shape. Rooijackers designed a Scheveningen woman praising the goods in her basket, and a Scheveningen man who has just hauled in his nets, heavy with fish.
The fishing couple were carved by Rooijackers from Norwegian granite, because it is one of the few stone types that can withstand the sea climate with its salty wind. This rock-hard natural stone is difficult to work with. But the fact that details are missing and the sculpture looks static is not entirely due to this. In Het Vaderland of 1954 it was said of Rooijackers that he loved 'mass, weight and solidity'. That observation corresponds to the sculpted couple from 1952 that stands at the entrance to the Second Harbour. The austere, sturdy, stylised language of form is characteristic of Rooijackers' figurative sculptures from the 1950s.
A decade later, his first abstract images were created. He did not renounce figuration. In 1967, for example, he made a monument to fallen journalists for Press Centre Nieuwspoort: a relief with a falling figure with a shield. He also regularly made portrait heads. Over the years, he also took abstraction to the extreme. In 1991, he exhibited in the Voorburg Museum Swaensteyn palisade-like constructions: frames in which a web of wires was stretched. Between these wire sculptures and the fishing couple lies Rooijacker's life as a sculptor: a life of diligent work and an open mind for the developments in sculpture.