The publication Undone presents three proposals by artist Hans van Houwelingen and, through their mediation, one of the most remarkable discourses on public art in the Netherlands. What's Done… Can Be Undone is the proposed exchange of place between the statues of Johan Rudolph Thorbecke and Baruch Spinoza, sitting in Amsterdam and The Hague, respectively. Correcting the historical inaccuracy in their placement could trigger a crucial reevaluation of the politician's and the philosopher's legacies, in relation to today's political and moral unrest. Sluipweg relocates over 300 disinterred tombstones as a footpath circling the ramparts of Fort Vijfhuizen, a defense construction rendered obsolete, the very moment it was completed, by advancements in military technology. The work collapses two forms of death and two ways in which death absents the categories we employ to make sense of it. Van Houwelingen's National Monument to the Guest-Workers proposes that the 'Bijenkorf Construction', Naum Gabo's sculpture in central Rotterdam, is officially attributed to the descendants of guest-workers, bound to carry out the restoration of the neglected, latent monument, but also to channel its politically agnostic metaphors into a collective statement, uttered at what might be the threshold to a post-multicultural era.
Each of the three projects is discussed by three authors. The imaginative or political traction of the proposals is investigated in relation to rapidly shifting notions of citizenship, views and uses of commemoration. The reader functions perhaps as an editorial scale model of the ampler engagement that Hans van Houwelingen's propositions require of us.
Publisher: Jap Sam Books
Graphic designer: Metahaven
Number of pages: 352
Book size: 20,5 x 12
Languages: English | Dutch
Edited by: Mihnea Mircan [editor-in-chief], Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei [managing editor]
With contributions by: Hans van Houwelingen, Mihnea Mircan (curator), Arno van Roosmalen (director Stroom Den Haag), John Heymans (philosopher, faculty member and lecturer in Theory at ArtEZ Fine Arts Master Degree Programme), Jonas Staal (artist), Mark Jarzombek (Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture and the Associate Dean of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning), David Riff (art critic and writer), Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield (reader in Theory and Philosophy of Art, University of Reading), Gerald Raunig (philosopher, art theoretician), Marina Vishmidt (writer), Julia Bryan-Wilson (associate professor of art history at UC Berkeley), Brian Dillon (UK editor of Cabinet magazine and tutor in Critical Writing at the Royal College of Art), and Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei (writer).
This publication has been made possible, in part, by the financial support of Stroom Den Haag, Extra City, Fonds BKVB and Stichting Stokroos.
The book can be ordered here.