Droogleever Fortuynweg, Zuiderpark, Den Haag
52.053537, 4.2885243 View on map
Between the shiny stainless steel tubes on Emo Verkerk's pedestal, you only discover a black bird when you come closer. The work is reminiscent of the sculpture of a duck flying away ('Spring Duck', 1990), which the artist made shortly after his father died. The flying away of the duck is suggested by the undulating movement of the material. Verkerk does something similar in the pedestal sculpture. The tubes are reminiscent of a cage, but could also represent the flight of a sparrow hawk.
The pedestal sculpture is actually not easy to recognise as a 'Verkerk'. He is best known for his portraits, which are actually collages of painted pieces of canvas, wood or cardboard, with which he conquered the art world immediately after graduating from the Ateliers '63 in 1980. The reason for these portraits was an inspiring interview with the British painter Francis Bacon, which convinced him that a work of art should have its own power of expression. For Verkerk, this meant that as an artist you had to feel strongly connected to the subject. This is how he came to capture writers, musicians and visual artists he admires in images. To this end, he gives them attributes and surroundings that fit into his idea of them.
After all the media attention in the 1980s, Verkerk gradually began to produce two types of works: more traditionally painted portraits and landscapes on the one hand, and assembled objects, such as the birds, on the other. Unlike his portraits, he made these from memory, 'original and without reflection'. The birds are composed of pieces of leftover material, such as wood, a doorknob or a float, sometimes painted. The pedestal sculpture with the cap as beak is an assembly cast in stainless steel and bronze.