Land Art workshop and lecture

LAND ART - public lecture at zlgevents courtyard - Kuala Lumpur

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LAND ART - public lecture at zlgevents courtyard - Kuala Lumpur sketches for DSW garden

In 1969 I received my first commission for an interior garden at a vocational rehabilitation and employment plant (DSW in Dordrecht, Holland) which enabled me to do more than place a sculpture on a given location.

During that period I was not in a situation where there was any original natural landscape in which I could have felt a need to recreate it. In the middle of the sixties I had moved back from California to Holland, which is a totally man-made environment - the last existent Dutch wilderness had been cultivated in the middle of the nineteenth century. So any present natural environment thanks its origin to the partnership between man and natural forces. It is either a joining of forces or an opposing of forces, as is the case in the battle against water.

In 1968 I had been commissioned to make a bronze sculpture for the interior of a public utility building. A year later I was asked to do the DSW garden. The Architect, Dirk Hol, had projected an ‘L’-shaped pond among other things. He suggested I make a sculpture in the corner of the ‘L’. I asked whether I would have influence on the other elements in the garden. He said that I could actually do the whole garden. This was the opening which gave me the possibility to do much more than only alter the direct surroundings of my sculpture to make it fit in better. Earlier, I had already dispensed with the idea of bases for my sculptures.

So this gave me an opportunity to make a complete environment, using more than only sculptural elements. During my meeting with Henry Moore in 1970 in Forte Dei Marmi, Italy I showed him pictures of the DSW environmental project and asked for his ideas on environmental sculpture as I was developing my first project. He very much appreciated the fact that the water columns were going to be made by me – he felt the need to always include sculptural elements which have been made, or designed, by the sculptor. He told me that he had some problems with some of the environmental projects by Isamu Noguchi. Though I maybe did not realize it at the time, I do believe it is possible to make environmental art using only elements and resources from our environment, be it natural or manmade - artifacts.

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