Sculpture Park: New part of Art Rotterdam emphasizes ties with the city

“A comparable presentation did not exist anywhere before.”

Art Rotterdam adds a unique element to its programming: Sculpture Park, a presentation of large-scale works of art that enter into a relationship with nature or the urban environment. Part of the space is also reserved for artists from Rotterdam or artists trained in Rotterdam. Sculpture Park revolves around its connection with the city of Rotterdam. Sculpture Park is made possible in part by Droom en Daad Foundation.


Connection with the city of Rotterdam
Every edition of Art Rotterdam features outdoor works on the grounds of the Van Nelle Factory, but never before has a section in the Van Nelle Factory been devoted to larger sculptures. During Art Rotterdam, 12 large sculptures by artists represented by participating galleries can be seen in the Tabaksfabriek, a monumental hall in the Van Nelle Factory. Part of the Tabaksfabriek is also reserved for Rotterdam artists or artists trained in Rotterdam.

The idea for Sculpture Park came about during a brainstorming session with Wim Pijbes, director of Stichting Droom en Daad, and designer Tom Postma, says Art Rotterdam director Fons Hof. “The question was how we could create a valuable addition to Art Rotterdam. With Sculpture Park we have an internationally distinctive section with high-quality sculptures, which also connects to the rich Rotterdam tradition of art in public space.”

For the Droom en Daad Foundation the unique character of the presentation in combination with the well-attended fair are the reason to make a financial contribution to Sculpture Park. Wim Pijbes: “Art Rotterdam is an important moment in both the national and Rotterdam art calendar, and the fair also plays its part internationally. Art fairs are excellent places to discover new artists and new developments. In short, 'new' is important for an art  fair and that is why we support Sculpture Park. A new part, for images, both inside and outside. A comparable presentation did not exist anywhere before.”

Leendert van Accoleyen, Voor dragend en niet dragend metselwerk, 2022, Pizza Gallery


A world-class collection
“Since the pandemic, the appreciation for an attractive public space has only increased,” says Pijbes, who calls the Rotterdam sculpture collection world class. This collection of approximately 50 sculptures, all of which are located in important places in the city, is managed by Sculpture International Rotterdam (SIR). The sculptures of Zadkine, Picasso, Moore, Calder and contemporary artists such as Paul McCarthy and Gavin Turk, among others, are therefore included in the public program of the Rotterdam Art Week.

Ove Lucas, director of SIR and CBK Rotterdam, was immediately enthusiastic when he was approached for this collaboration with Art Rotterdam: “It is a good opportunity for SIR to emphasize the quality of its collection. Rotterdam has acquired a great collection of international culture through SIR”. He is also pleased with the space reserved for Rotterdam artists or artists who have been trained in Rotterdam.

Lara Almarcegui, Zand in Nederland, 2021, Ellen de Bruijne Projects, foto Harry Cock

The first edition
As director of SIR, Lucas, who together with Saskia van Kampen (curator at Boijmans Van Beuningen) and Tom Postma (creative director Tom Postma Design) makes up the selection committee of Sculpture Park, is used to placing sculptures in public space for a period between 10 and 50 years; an essential difference with the temporary indoor presentation. “The committee believes it is important that the proposed sculptures have an inherent quality but also work in relation to the other sculptures on the display. Of course, we are also looking for sculptures that stand out, sculptures which break with conventions,” Lucas explains the selection policy.

During the first edition of Sculpture Park, work by: Atelier van Lieshout (Ron Mandos), Caroline Coolen (NL=US), Delphine Courtillot (Dudokdegroot) Niels van Bunningen (Singular-Art), Leendert van Accoleyen (Pizza Gallery), Esther Kokmeijer (Gallery Vriend van Bavink), Norman Dilworth (Bacqueville), Krijn-de-Koning (Slewe), Hadrien Gerenton (m.simons), Indrikis Gelzis (Tatjana Pieters), Lara Almarcegui (Ellen de Bruijne) and Jan Eric Visser (Bradwolff&Partners).

For more information, see: Sculpture Park Art Rotterdam 2023

Sculpture Park can be seen during Art Rotterdam (9 to 12 February 2023) in the Tabaksfabriek of the Van Nelle Factory.

By Wouter van den Eijkel