between tables and a shelter, 2015

permanent intervention on a terrace of a retirement home, RVT Floordam, Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
How can the perfectly reasonable request for more shade on the patio of an old people’s home be squared with the notion of an artwork? May an artwork be something useful? If an artwork becomes usable, does it not lose much of its essence?
Nevertheless it is useful to think about what a place needs, and then to take that need as a starting point. Especially if an artwork will be occupying a permanent place in the public space.

The work in front of the patio of the old people’s home, a sloping plane with various tables around it, meets this need. You can drink coffee at the tables and when the sun shines you can shelter beneath the sloping ‘roof’. And yet the piece as a whole also offers resistance. Two stacked tables do not have tops and a third is a little too high and is standing at an angle. Together with the light blue roof, they look more like a sculpture. Where does the patio begin and where does the artwork end? There is also doubt and vulnerability in the supporting structure for the roof. The structure appears to be tilting and needs the double table and the sloping table to stay upright.
The work has a reassuring side; we can use it, but because of its uncertain position it also holds up a mirror to our vulnerability.

scale model 1/10

first model 1/50 (the other tabels in different shades of blue are also part of the design)

3D model