h. 300 cm
Bezuidenhoutseweg, Den Haag
52.083302029248, 4.3259067544395 View on map
The seed for his sculpture lies in the Negev desert. Auke de Vries started making metal constructions there. They were not intended as independent works of art. With the objects made of metal wire, he provided the missing contrast. In combination with the sand plain, a variety of motifs emerged to capture on paper.
Eventually, these constructions developed into autonomous sculptures: large and rich in form. When De Vries was asked to make a sculpture for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Bezuidenhoutseweg in 1983, his fame as a sculptor was established. De Vries designs an object that responds to the architecture, which is solid and, with its rhythmic division of planes and imposing stature, stands for certainty. The sculpture, on the other hand, is a seemingly incoherent composition of different volumes, planes and lines: 'pliable, curved, accidental, improbable', according to the artist. The rolled and welded steel sheets are folded and cut into curls, bands, strips and sheets. The forms tilt and dive. On the concrete platform, they find their own balance or seek support from each other.
In relation to the building, that platform has the function of a forum, a place where things happen,' De Vries explained in the Haagsche Courant of 28 November 1984. In earlier times, there was a forum in front of the theatres. Something was playing there that could be a reason for passers-by to go inside. The sculpture thus marks the main entrance to the building.
The image from 1984 underlines the fact that De Vries works in an abstract way. However, he derives his abstractions from reality. He photographs and sketches the natural and urban environment. A feather or a capricious branch can be the starting point of an idea. That is why we can sometimes recognise things in his images. Like on the platform: a bracelet, a ring and a leaf.
Since the summer of 2021, the Foreign Affairs building has been the temporary home of the Lower House.