A swan in the distance (2011) Klaas Gubbels

photo Otto Snoek
About the artwork

The image has been on Provenierssingel since April 2011 A swan in the distance. This work of art was created by visual artist Klaas Gubbels at the request of local residents and is part of it Single plan. The Municipality of Rotterdam has set aside a number of years to renovate Rotterdam's romantic canals and asked CBK Rotterdam for advice. BKOR developed the so-called Single plan, creating works of art that match the character of the various canals. One of those works is this artwork, A swan in the distance. The central motif in Klaas Gubbels' work is the coffee pot. With minimal interventions he always evokes a different image. He works with simple shapes in clean lines and striking colours. Some humor is no stranger to him: he christened three stacked bright orange coffee pots A swan in the distance. In Gubbels' eyes, the brightly colored image harmonizes perfectly with the dark of the water and the green of the trees. On completion he expressed his delight that a moorhen nested just behind the statue and that a branch of a weeping willow has flattered itself over the statue after a gust of wind. Ahmed Harika (then Art and Culture portfolio holder of the Noord district) unveiled the artwork. He proudly said that the sub-municipality is once again the richer of a high-quality work of art. Gubbels, who mainly paints and works in graphic techniques, has never before made an image for the public space of Rotterdam. At the unveiling on April 3, 2011, Gubbels also said that he was proud to be able to make a sculpture at this historical place for him. He grew up in this neighborhood in the time that Rotterdam was still under reconstruction. At the request of Gubbels, who now lives in Arnhem, Gerard Cox performed at the unveiling, because they played football together as a child. Cox sang a number of hits, such as 'Deep in my heart I can't be angry with you' by Japie Valkhoff. A swan in the distance is the first in a series of art projects intended for the Spoor- and Provenierssingel. The artworks In the city / The young man on the island from Henk Visch and Kryptonian Ice Lake van Onno Poiesz and Guido Marsille on the Spoorsingel are also part of it Single plan.
After more than a decade A swan in the distance be restored. At the request of the artist, the statue has even been given a new color so that it stands out better in its surroundings. Instead of bright orange, it is now bright yellow. At the end of 2022, the yellow artwork was placed back in the water.

read more
About the artist

Klaas Gubbels (Rotterdam, 1934) took various courses in the 50s, including the Technical School in Rotterdam and the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam and Arnhem. The artist is best known for his still lifes of tables, chairs and coffee pots, using clean lines and striking colors. In the 70s Gubbels was affiliated with the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, where he collaborated with other painters and graphic artists, such as Hannes Postma and the sculptor Kees Frans.

read more