Have you ever wanted art to be freely displayed in your everyday life? Or imagined your monotonous neighbourhood being transformed into an outdoor museum? ArtZuid, the international sculpture route, made such a desire reality in Amsterdam this week.
Sixty-six vibrant sculptures lined the Apollolaan, Minervalaan and Zuidas streets in Southern Amsterdam, with some sculptures creeping into the blooming Vondelpark. ArtZuid is embracing its third year of prosperity in the area, designed by architect H.P. Berlage in the early 20th century. The initiative was created by the United Art Consult, which aimed to motivate artistic ideas in society to enhance the social solidity of Amsterdam.
As you walk amongst the art-filled streets along the walking route, you can appreciate the flourishing, freshly greened trees and bright, blooming Dutch Tulips. Champagne was generously flowing around the information tent and the Hilton Hotel on the opening day of ArtZuid 2013.
The sculptures on display complemented and contrasted with each other. Differing materials, subject, size and colour created a sense of dynamism through pure divergence. Art works were widely international, with artists from countries such as Ethiopia, the UK, Germany, Italy, Ghana and China and the forms exhibited were from both the past and present.
Markus Lupertz’s ‘Paris Sans Bras’ dates back to 1941, an expressionist take on the choice of beauty in the Greek mythological tale ‘The Judgement of Paris’. In contrast, Tony Cragg’s ‘Mixed Feelings’ is contemporary to say the least: created last year, the vast golden sculpture spirals upwards representing the modern world and its unique dynamic.
The styles of the sculptures were incredibly diverse. Primitivism was presented in Leo de Vries’s ‘Beeld In Tien Delen’, representing the beginning of humanity and the primal instincts of Easter Island. Modernity was exposed in Tom Sachs’s ‘Miffy Fountain’, an ironic opinion on consumerism and modern human life.
A hint of the abstract was displayed in Joep Van Lieshout’s ‘Wellness Skull’, a vast white ‘wellness cabin’ complete with a sauna and bath inside the huge skull. Lieshout mocks the hedonistic health and beauty culture, expressed by the use of a skull, reflecting a certain sense of ‘memento mori’.
Artists such as Marina Abramovic and Laura Ford also had sculptures on display. Pablo Picasso’s ‘Figure Decoupee L’Oiseau’ was exhibited in a quaint corner of Vondelpark for the public to see, understand and enjoy.
ArtZuid means Amsterdam certainly holds something many other cities do not. The freedom to express and display art in everyday life is just a figment of many city dwellers imaginations, yet Amsterdam is a step ahead. Here, they understand and appreciate the importance of art to bring people and cultures together to create a well-formed society.
This year’s ArtZuid opened on the 22nd May and runs through to the 22nd September.
by Eliza Horton