The penguins (2002) Herman Lamers

photo Jacques Kleisterlee
About the artwork

Bleiswijkplein has been redesigned in 2001. The former borough of Noord needed a work of art on the square with a reference to the diversity and origin of the users and residents. Herman Lamers made a compass rose like a sand-colored terrazzo floor with an inlaid mother-of-pearl line structure. The plateau of five by five meters, true The penguins is also designed as a tree grate, but looks like a stage and speaker corner. The tree grid has the pattern of geographic rings on the atlas and thus refers to the origin of the birds, namely the South Pole. The terrazzo is sandy in color as opposed to water or ice colors, which penguins are normally associated with. The serious look in the eyes of the two birds and their stature feel human. These surreal and also human connotations create an intimate and playful atmosphere on the square. Penguins are popular as an animal species thanks to their cuddly factor and the fact that their stature resembles that of humans. That is also one of the comparisons that Lamers draws with his images. The size ratio of a larger and a smaller one (male-female or parent-child) strengthens their humanity. For example, some find the images to resemble Dutch people, with beer belly and all.

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About the artist

Herman Cornelis Lamers (Bussum, 1954) is a Rotterdam sculptor, installation artist, photographer and draftsman. He studied from 1975 to 1980 at the Minerva Academy in Groningen. He always works in a spatial, sometimes abstract but more often in a figurative visual language, always dependent on and in relation to the environment. His work can be seen in galleries and exhibition spaces and he has various commissions in public space, including a number in Rotterdam.

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