Installation PUZZLED WINDOWS    

    Puzzled Windows

    In 1993 I get the opportunity to transform a neo-classical church in Hoorn, which also functioned for a while as a meat factory before Stichting de Achterstraat takes it over, into a house of memory by working out installation Puzzled Windows. Main goal of Stichting de Achterstraat is to provide sustenance for visual artists who want to produce a site-specific work of art. Site-specific in the sense, that the outcomes are directly related to the exhibition space. Thus, the problem or the question that underlies the work of art is raised in the interaction between space and artist.

Is it possible to visualize memory traces of the church in Hoorn in such a way that these tracks will trigger the memory traces of the visitors in a meaningful way?

Intensively opening up in order to capture the atmosphere and the various aspects of the space, this place of worship is at the same time object of investigation and my residence for the duration of the adventure: it is a dwelling where I live, eat, work and sleep. After having built a place to sleep at the choir, at first sight I cannot make anything else of this worn out church than a dilapidated house. The walls are covered with flaking paint and the nine church windows are all boarded up: no light is coming in, and there is no view on the world. Where is God? Proceeding from the idea that religion is a form of faith that acts as some sort of a spiritual or psychological defence mechanism, I decide to transform this house of God into a house of Memory. The notion of God is for me connected with transparency and immaterial whiteness. Applying lace curtains in front of each of the windows, I try to call
  forth some sort of stratification making this place at the same time more intimate and more open. As a consequence, the installation shows itself almost entirely composed of white shades. Moreover, I change the perspective in such a way that the round high arched windows are mirrored as cut-away in two large wooden tables thereby looking like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The two puzzle-pieces are lifted to shoulder height and carry small personal relics that complete the whole setting. For adults this expansion in scale can evoke a memorable experience of the frame of reference they had when they were about five years old. Everybody will undoubtedly be able to recall the attempts to grab something that is on the table and just beyond reach.

All edges of both tables are covered downward with transparent white net curtain. The curtain is hanging only óne millimetre above the floor and blue neon light is shining through. The whole installation gives one the illusion of floating puzzle-pieces every time a visitor moves the curtains merely by displacing the air when he passes by. In this way an intimate, dreamy atmosphere is created in the huge abandoned church. Because of the use of the large quantity of white curtain, the flaked paint manifests itself as organic wall painting, characterising time and circumstances. The whole scene adds new perspectives at different levels, provoking images that are old and at the same time new. From this, the visitor, who can be an anonymous spectator but also the artist, is encouraged to compose his own story based on a mixture of memories, dreams and his involvement in the installation.

  4.6 - 4.7 1993   Exhibition of installation Puzzled Windows, De Achterstraat, Hoorn (NL) (solo).
Dimensions 669.3 x 456.7 x 507.9in / 1700 x 1160 x 1290cm.

  1.5 - 4.6 1993   Stay and making of the installation.