1989 (1992) John Körmeling

Jannes Linders
About the artwork

1989 is the year of construction of the Hillekopflat designed by the architectural firm Mecanoo. Since 1991, four large green neon numbers mark the flat. The artwork 1989 is clearly made specifically for this building. The first proposal was to speak SOUTH to place it on the roof, but they thought it was a bit too stigmatizing. So there is more for the neutral 1989 chosen. The tiltable, steel neon sculpture by artist John Körmeling symbolizes the attention for Rotterdam South. Körmeling's work literally goes back to a tradition, in which the year of construction of a building is mentioned, a fact that was lost after the war. Körmeling is originally an architect and regularly works with neon on buildings and in public space, where it often responds to and sometimes provokes the immediate built-up environment. He uses a certain amount of humor and alienation in his work. Another permanent work by Körmeling - it Pioneer house (2000) commissioned by Atelier Rijksbouwmeester - stands on the roof of customs in the Rotterdam port area and is a response to the customs building, which was designed by Benthem & Crouwel. The house is completely inaccessible. Körmeling also has a fascination for the car. For example, he has personally made a car that runs on hydrogen. From 2011 to 2014, the work lay flat on the roof due to thorough restoration work. For more information: Sculpture International Rotterdam.

read more
About the artist

John Körmeling (Amsterdam, 1951) is a sculptor and architect. He designs many works of art for public space, in which a certain amount of humor and alienation play a role. He has a broad and unconventional view of architecture, because for him this not only involves architecture, but also urbanism, design and visual arts. Körmeling received various prizes for his work, including the David Roëll Prize for sculpture (2000), the Witteveen + Bos prize for Art + Technology (2006), the Wilhelmina ring (2009), a national oeuvre prize for sculptors, and The Golden Eye for the Dutch Happy Street pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai (2010). In 2010, Körmeling was appointed officer in the order of Oranje-Nassau.

read more