The penguins (2002) Herman Lamers

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 geographical rings on the atlas and thus refers to the origin of the birds, namely the South Pole. The terrazzo is sandy in contrast to water or ice colors, which penguins are normally associated with. The serious look in the eyes of the two birds and their posture look human. These surreal and also human connotations create an intimate and playful atmosphere in the square. Penguins are popular as a species due to their cuddiness factor and the fact that their posture 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) reinforces their humanity. For example, some people think the images resemble Dutchmen, 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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