Land art and site specific sculpture - land art uses the environment and its scale as its material. Concrete art is expressed in material itself with which the artist introduces her non-representational objective. Public art can be viewed and accessed by observers.
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Oranje Landschap - the workshop "The City of the Hidden Rivers" took place between the 29th September and 2nd October 1994.

 
from Oranje Landschap workshop
Aktuelle niederländische Landschaftsarchitektur

 

LUCIEN DEN AREND

At an early age, my drawing talents prompted much comment that I would become an artist. I soon realized that the life of an artist was always connected with financial difficulties. Therefore I thought it was best to become a teacher and started to study at the University of Long Beach - California. Two years later I obtained my degree. As I did not want to join the army in the USA, I went to Tilburg in Holland to carry on with my studies.  Later I studied at the "Academy for Arts in Rotterdam". That was the time when I obtained my first contract designing a courtyard, which prompted me to dedicate myself to art, instead of becoming a teacher. In the following years had a few commissions to make sculptures. In 1971 my hometown commissioned me to design a "functional and appropriate" space around the area of a high voltage electricity pylon. My design proposed a meandering dyke and a tarmac plateau surrounding this pylon. Since then I have been involved in landscape projects every few years.

FORMING CONTRASTS ON PURPOSE
INTERVIEW WITH LUCIEN DEN AREND (ARTIST)

PlanBox

Do you see any different approaches to the landscape between an artist and a landscape architect?

den Arend

Sometimes I cannot see any difference between the work of an artist and the work of a landscape architect. Unfortunately landscape architects tend only to be consulted when there is a functional demand for recreational areas and public gardens. In such a case the landscape architect has to fulfill so many requirements for the client, which makes the development of an overall conceptual idea impossible. I am convinced that natural materials used in a design blend into the environment. Only design can avoid this fusion. Believing in this has placed me on an opposite course of thought to the "Arnhem School" which aims to make art as invisible as possible. My intention is to set contrats...

PlanBox

...is that how you try to challenge the users?

den Arend

I think the task of an artist is to offer people thing which they don't expect. The principal difference between architects and artists is the way they work: the architect works with possibilities, the artist with ideas.

PlanBox

In your description of the Pieter-Janszoon-Saenredam-project you describe how you and the artist Saenredam have a similar working process, which you call "scientific approach to an idea". What do you mean by that?

den Arend

It was extraordinary for an artist of his time to use architectural sketches and surveys as a basis for paintings. Precisely, he constructed the desired perspective to then copy the construction onto linen.  It was discovered that the painted buildings could be reconstructed from his illustrations.

I consider this to be a scientific approach.

PlanBox

What is the reason for a sculptor to change from working with dead material like stone, to living material like willows?

den Arend

I appreciate objects that can be "entered", instead of only walking around them. The trees are not that important, as it would be possible to use other materials to gain the same effect.

PlanBox

what reaction do your projects receive from people?

den Arend

Normally a negative one, especially within the first planning stage. After a while the projects get accepted as part of their environment.

PlanBox

Why do you think that art in public spaces is more likely to be met with suspicion?

den Arend

For many people art is something strange and I'm sure they would prefer to see money invested in more "useful" things, as they don't believe in the value of art.

PlanBox

Do you consider that your projects are important for people?

den Arend

I am convinced that they are. As long as there is a lack of town planners architects or landscape architects designing perfect spaces, art will be needed to demonstrate new ideas. The proof that mankind needs art is the existence of art objects which have become part of the environment. Ossip Zadkine's "Man without Heart" was nearly demolished by the angry locals whilst being installed on an urban square in Rotterdam. Lately rows have arisen when the sculpture had to be removed, due to building works, as the locals felt it was part of the square.

PlanBox

Could town planners, architects or landscape architects replace art by doing very good work?

den Arend

Yes, if the if a project of an architect contains the necessary "label" to call it a piece of art. In reality artists are consulted to beautify an ugly space.

PlanBox

Back to the question of the "scientific approach" which the Saenredam-project illustrates. Whereas the Wall-Lelystad-project displays a pure emotional approach.

den Arend

In the case of the Wall-Lelystad, my commission was to work with an excavation from a building. In the Saenredam-project, there was more freedom to my work and choice of approach. Generally, I like projects that are implemented, where a scientific approach , using calculations and the necessary tools, is needed. Maybe that is a form of "constructivism". I can imagine that people who compare my sculpture with the Saenredam-project find few similarities.

PlanBox

The quality of your work lies within the methodology of approach and its reflection of a specific place...

den Arend

...right, my intention is to create a specific place by adding something special, alternative and identifyable.

the task of the workshop


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