In response to the De Pont Museum in Tilburg
The de Pont foundation was created from the estate of Jan de Pont (1915-1987). The museum is housed in a converted wool factory. Temporary exhibitions are Willie Doherty, Robert Zandvliet and Marenne Welten. For one year, the museum is also showing a series of paintings by Georg Baselitz, entitled Straße Bild.
The permanent collection consists of a number of works by established artists which you cannot ignore. For example, there are large chrome images by Thomas Schütte. He has also made a big iron maquette, consisting of three circular platforms with a gentle flight of stairs to a higher fourth plateau. In the middle circle stands a monument. And when you consider how great it would be in reality, you realise how great the honour is for those depicted in the statue.
Suddenly everything is upside down, I almost lose my balance and see something precious pass before my eyes. It reflects and seems to move. The successful Indian artist Anish Kapoor has created a mirror. You can see immediately that its scale and perfect execution is what makes the work so special. Kapoor has curved a stainless steel mirror. An extremely smooth polished rectangle, about five metres by two metres thirty, and about three centimetres thick. The attendant standing next to me is upside down in the mirror, as is the entire museum gallery. The hollow on the other side of Kapoor’s convex mirror reflects the de Pont.
Also by Anish Kapoor is a large coarse black rectangular limestone block of six tonnes, more than two meters high. This affords great tranquility. The inside is a deep hollow polished round. Stone appears darker with polishing. I immediately think of the black hole that I have just seen in one of the wool-storage rooms, ‘ Descent into Limbo’ . You see only the circular cutting edge at the top of the cavity. A black circle. Because the inner wall is covered with black pigment, the space is completely invisible.
At home, I started at once to make something with concrete, black concrete. I do not know what it should be, I just start. Black, a hole, a circle. But also a tribute to the platform by Thomas Schütte. A connection, a tribute to the petrified circle. An altar guarded by two phantom beasts. A monument whose symbolic significance can only be conjectured. The slightly concave and convex mirror must do the work.
Photo 2: Thomas Schütte, großer respekt 1994
Photo 3: Anish kapoor, No title.