Diverse woonhuizen verspreid over Ypenburg, Den Haag
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It is quite a comical sight, all those birds hanging over the eaves that Douwe Halbertsma has landed on various houses scattered over Ypenburg. In pairs they sit snugly together and look down curiously. They seem to be watching us closely. It was one of the most popular artworks of the Art at Home project. You can spot the Slack Swans on more than fifty rooftops.
Like other sculptures Halbertsma creates for exhibitions and public spaces, these birds are reminiscent of comics and caricatures in form and execution. Humor is nowhere far away. Yet the sculptures are more than a joke. As a true sculptor, Halbertsma is interested in space, form and mass. With him, this does not remain an abstract play on artistic concepts. He knows how to translate them into layers of meaning in the sculptures themselves. For example, he made his swans for Ypenburg out of cement. Leaning heavily forward over the eaves, the concrete beasts defy gravity. To give them strength and prevent them from falling off the roof, he gave his swans an internal skeleton. But you can't see that skeleton with the naked eye. What can be seen from the street are the plump bodies and slender necks. The good proportion means that you don't fear for a second that the birds will tumble down. The swans themselves are unaware of anything. They peer on imperturbably.