Guntersteinweg 62, Den Haag
52.045237218165, 4.2980077338379 View on map
For a moment, it seems as if deer have just jumped out of the forest behind the school. Two seconds later, it dawns on you that this is impossible, in the middle of the city. This pack of deer on the roof of the Guntersteinweg primary school gymnasium is a work of art. Jens Pfeifer is the maker.
Pfeifer trained as an artist at the Royal College of Arts in London (1988-1989) and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam (1989-1992). Since then he has been making sculptures, drawings and site-specific works of art. Because he grew up in the woods, trees and the animals that live in them form an important point of departure for his work. With figurative sculptures, he tells stories about the change from man to animal. Or the other way around. The creatures he presents us with are somewhere on the border between nature and culture. That has an alienating effect. Like in Pfeifers 'Killer Bunny' (2002): a giant rabbit with guns that he exhibited in galleries.
This alienation can also be seen in the 'Deer' that Pfeifer made in 2007, commissioned by Stroom Den Haag. Thanks to the percentage regulation for schools, money became available for art during the construction of the new gymnasium for primary school De Grote Beer. The deer do not only have branches as antlers, which is remarkable in itself, but their attitude and behaviour is also striking. Some deer are clearly curious and cheekily look over the edge of the roof at the children playing. Other deer are more shy and watch from a safe distance or are simply eating. Just like people, in other words. This work of art was given the special name 'Auntie Kees' because the artist asked the children at the school to think up names for the deer. From their list he selected his favourites: Auntie Kees, Ali, Moo, Valentino, Big Hed and Zoezoe.