Inner Compass – De Groene Amsterdammer

Diana Shearer, ‘Harvest Recasted’, 2022

Peter de Can

Three tall figures wearing long dresses appear in the middle of the Orangewood Forest. With their organic look in indeterminate colour, the shapes seem to have grown out of the earth at once, creations from nature, and are in part: artist Diana Scherer planted dresses from the delicate fabric of plant roots, one for every significant woman of Orangwood’s history. They stand in the forest under large glass domes and, unlike all the other branches in the forest, they are protected against the elements, trapped in their own time, their own universe. It’s a bit gothic and really pretty.

to Paradise, In open-air gallery such as Sonsbeek, Lustwarande and part of the Frisian cultural event Arcadia, curator Hans den Hartog Jager has brought together fifteen artists who have created new work for a centuries-old venue. Oranjewoud is a royal forest to the east of Heerenveen, a French-built pleasure center where Frisian Nassaus rested in their cottages with views of long roads, forests and water features. The area still has all the makings of heaven on earth, with squirrels walking ahead on woodland paths, as they have for centuries – but times have changed. Modern villas with motorized lawn mowers appeared in the front yard on the edge of the forest. The elegant meadows are the middle finger of the lush forest overlooking them, and the stark white facades contain nothing of the romance of lofty country houses. But how different are they really then and now? Does not the pretense we take for beauty in Auranggood stem from the same impulse to dominate nature, the same display of wealth? In addition to being a useful place to view art, Oranjewoud is also an illusion that requires piercing.

Fortunately, Eric van Lichot is there. The artist imagines a plan for Paradise To build a flower mosaic in the shape of a coat of arms, just as the nobles once did, but it was rejected by private and municipal landowners. In a delightful video, set in the barn of a private house (close the chicken gate), we see how he explores the area with a horse and cart and makes maps for nobles and workers. Domila Nieuwenhuis passes by the Minscape and the royal family has to believe that the floral mosaic will eventually come, but then on the roof of an underground parking garage, where you have to cycle five kilometers from the heart of the gallery.

I made a white space to hide in, like in an egg

Other artists have taken their own paradise to Orangod. You can easily overlook this 19th-century log cabin from Lithuania by Augustas Serapinas, as it blends in naturally with the landscape. Serapinas demolished the simple wooden hut in Lithuania and put it back together, with all the flaws of the time, in Orangod. You can rent the hut as a visitor and make tea from one of the laid Lithuanian herbs, with an old Lithuanian kettle on a homemade fire, but if this house attracts curious visitors, it is up to you to defend this paradise, or with to share it. Because heaven is never there. Just when you think you’ve found the final spot, the moment is over. Just give me the paradise of Issa Van Laer. Inspired by a Japanese zen garden concept, Overtuin’s natural barn white space is made with an oval entrance to enter without shoes, or rather to crawl into, as in an egg. Inside you sit among the colorful ceramic sculptures that come to life the longer you look. Take a quick look outside and you’ll see more colorful stones strewn across the landscape, which is a reassuring sight. Until the next visitor comes to disturb this picture again.

True heaven must be independent of time and place. at the invitation of Paradise Kasper Bosmans had to think about the migration of birds, animals that have, as it were, a built-in compass to their paradise, a warm place with plenty of food.

On the floor of the sixteenth-century Thomaskerk in Cateljk, in a beautiful setting on a hill, he made a sculpture on the church floor with marble slabs. The paintings depict the cycle that the birds follow, year after year, as a real path along which the visitor can also walk. The birds eat and lay their eggs, a cycle that passes directly through the marble that also changes in appearance, from smooth to speckled.

In the church, the seats have been pushed aside and the sign announcing the Bible verse before the service is empty. Here the birds fly their way to the inner paradise that ultimately leads us all. Whether it’s the warm south, a new villa or paradise.

Paradise, Part of Arcadia, until August 14th in Orangewood.

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