Nieuws - 10 maart 2011

Art Depot: sculpture in style in Wageningen

Joris Tielens

Imposing sculptures in a beautifully manicured front garden, an exquisitely restored building, a strikingly designed extension and a grand gravel drive... Your first impression is that no expense has been spared to make something beautiful of the former university forestry department on the Generaal Foulkesweg in Wageningen. And you cannot believe your luck when you then find out that everyone, even an unshaven journalist, is welcome at Het Depot Sculpture Gallery.

All you have to do is ring the doorbell. The door is opened by elegant ladies, or sometimes a young man, who give you a warm welcome. The hostesses, as they call themselves, give you a brief history of Het Depot. The university sold off the building and its gardens in 2000, and in 2002 it was bought by the Utopa foundation, which transformed it in two years into the gallery it is now. The ladies are less forthcoming about the patron of this miracle, Loek Dijkman, owner of packaging company Top Groep. But his patronage does not stop here, because Het Depot is extending on the other side of the Generaal Foulkeweg into the building popularly known as The Banana. And the foundation also supports sculptors with grants.

In the room where long ago I followed the module 'introduction to forestry' stand several massive and stately stone torsos in an otherwise empty space. Het Depot specializes in torsos and fragments of the human body. Some of the images here are figurative, others more abstract, such as the sculptures of Petra Boshart, whose solo exhibition has been open for a week now in the extension of Het Depot.

During a guided tour, Boshart explains that her self-expression in stone started with images of the human body. 'But gradually I began to reduce these human forms to a universal symbol.' In the well-lit space stand sculptures that could represent several different things. A tree root or a mons pubis; a caterpillar or a penis. And in the case of a piece called What a Piece of Work is Man, a walnut or a brain. The images of Boshart - smooth, minimalist, imposing - go well with the grandeur of Het Depot.