Artwork by Rob Voerman
This work came to exist in response to a question that artist Rob Voerman posed during informal conversations with Claudia Schouten regarding their work: ‘How he could let his work be more socially engaged without it becoming pamphlet-like’. Motel Spatie curated, financed and produced an investigation in the form of a work by Rob Voerman; an installation with a public programme, taking place in an out-of-use pit in the centre of the Presikhaaf shopping mall (1965) and open to the general public for the duration of two and a half months.
For Voerman the project meant a new audience range; something that Motel Spatie is experienced in. Our audience is not the regular ‘art audience’. Furthermore, the process of obtaining a permit for a public space that is not public but private was of great interest to Motel Spatie. A shopping mall is not a public but a privately owned space. To keep up the momentum of the project, Motel Spatie began building before all permits had been issued.
Motel Spatie also coordinated a broad public programme, with highlights including a sold-out concert by De Kift, taking place within the work after the mall’s closing hours, and a boxing clinic instructed by retired professional boxer Orhan Delibas, silver-medallist at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Delibas currently runs a boxing academy in Presikhaaf, the suburb where he in part grew up.
The audience reached in this period is estimated at 10,000 visitors. Many visitors asked questions about the work and many conversations about art took place within the work.
Into the grid was in this sense a prelude to the work that Voerman built the following year for Sonsbeek ’16: transACTION, also in Arnhem, utilising the same material choices and public programme, this time above the waterfall in Park Sonsbeek. The Presikhaaf audience is nevertheless a totally different audience than that of Sonsbeek, whose primary visitors were informed and had an existing interest in art. The desired connection with a wider audience that Sonsbeek had envisioned did not take shape as it did in Presikhaaf.