Research

To have and to hold | Museum Van Bommel Van Dam

As a reaction to the Floriade, a festival in which exotic plants and gardens are shown, Museum Van Bommel Van Dam wanted to draw attention to the local landscape around Venlo. They invited Dutch and German artists to research this landscape and to create new work for the exhibition Mapping the Landscape.

During my stay in Venlo I discovered an abandoned greenhouse complex in which a new landscape had developped consisting of trees, plants and the steel grid of the greenhouse. As the greenhouse was covered with glass, there was a hot and light climate inside. The trees took up the shape of the roof. The local people living around the greenhouse complex, which was built in the centre of a small town, told me many stories about the site. The greenhouse complex was originally used for breeding flowers by a farmer. After the farmer left, a homeless man lived in it. And underneath the greenhouse complex, there are said to be the remains of a WWII air bomber.

I designed two public interventions: 1. letters fictitiously written by the farmer, the homeless man and the WWII-bomber pilot, sent to the people living around the site, and 2: an excursion in which the greenhouse was not entered, but instead observed by using spyglasses. A biologist and local historian provided educational information on what was seen inside. One day I entered the greenhouses and documented this indoor landscape on video.

Collection Museum Van Bommel van Dam. Exhibited in Mapping the Landscape, curated by Saskia van de Wiel, 2012.