News - September 25, 2014

Artistic riddles

Roelof Kleis

In the grass near the bike racks behind Radix stands an artwork. It is a relief sculpture of a squatting woman who appears to be harvesting. What it is called, who made it and when, is a riddle. A riddle city poet Laurens van der Zee hopes we can solve.

A relief sculpture of a squatting woman who appears to be harvesting, standing in the grass near the bike racks behind Radix.  (photo: Guy Ackermans)

And it is not the only riddle to be solved. Van der Zee has a list of nearly 30 Wageningen artworks with question marks above them. Art that has disappeared, of which we only have a photo. Or art which is still there but about which precious little is known. A lot of it is art that is linked with Wageningen UR. That is why the poet is calling on us for help. 

Van der Zee’s appeal is on behalf of the Wageningen public library, which wants to make a website documenting all the public art in Wageningen. This is not a new undertaking for the library, explains director Sjaak Driessen. ‘For about 10 years we have had files on art in public spaces. Publication of that kind of information is not new, but we want to make it more widely accessible.’

230 items 

It is no coincidence that the library has teamed up with the city poet. Van der Zee was also involved in the provincial website, which went online in 2011. The aim of this website was to draw attention to all the public art in the province. After a lot of detective work, Van der Zee tracked down 108 artworks which meet the province’s strict criteria. ‘The province is precise about it. Murals and wall decorations don’t count, for instance, nor do inscriptions on walls or conceptual art.’

The Wageningen library’s site does not have this restriction. Van der Zee: ‘The aim is to make a site that is as broad as possible, covering art and other meaningful objects in Wageningen.’ He has a total of about 230 objects in mind, almost double what the provincial site has to offer for Wageningen. For ninety percent of the art, the information has already been garnered. For the remaining 10 percent, Van der Zee is appealing to the ‘crowd’. 

Since last week, local media and the site have been showcasing an artistic riddle every week. The public can respond on the site Resource selected five riddles related to WUR art. If you have information, please get in touch with Resource editor: The library website (www.beeldeninwageningen) is expected to go online in December.