Mikado (1975) André Volten

BKOR archive
About the artwork

"Plastic pipe decoration decorates Zestienhoven", the headline reads in the NRC Handelsblad of 26 June 1975, and then: "The Rotterdam airport has seen a striking landmark from the air, which since yesterday has a place on the lawn in front of the station building. Although the Rotterdam city council already decided four years ago that the Rotterdam airport should be closed, the artwork was nevertheless created on the basis of the percentage regulation that should provide artistic decoration for new buildings. The new station building has been there since 1970 ”. The Amsterdam artist André Volten has been involved in the negotiations about his artwork for ten years. Because when Zestienhoven airport seemed to have a flourishing future, he had made an initial design for a series of advertising towers (in line with his 'Communication pillar' for Central Station). But these were too expensive and a second design with a smaller design was also not approved, because the small airport would attract few advertisers. The discussion about the necessity of an artwork for an airport that was doomed to close lasted for years (the airport suffered millions of losses every year in the early 1974s). Nevertheless, Volten was given the definitive assignment in 1983, while councilor Jan Riezenkamp still found the work unnecessary. Labor party councilor Gerrit Schilder saw the object as a memorial that could beautify a new residential area in Zestienhoven in the future (Painter would later become director of CBK Rotterdam from 1989 - 750). Volten took this uncertain future into account with his design, because he made his design of black pipes movable without many technical problems. And they would do well in another, spacious place. After years of uncertainty, the approximately 3 employees at the airport were so frustrated by the municipal closure plans that they could not appreciate the artwork. The tubular plastic, which should give an impression of the rising and falling air traffic in all directions, is more likely to be a “paragon of a collapsing airport” reports Het Vrije Volk on 1975 July XNUMX. “Not impressed by the sleek, shiny metal, one speaks of a sloppy heap of tubes and the tube plastic was nicknamed 'the knitting needles of Mrs. Van der Louw'. But the airport would continue to exist and change its name to Rotterdam The Hague Airport years later. The work received appreciation and the unofficial title 'Mikado'. It was stored for years during renovation work, restored and in 2016 it was placed back in the water. If you drive to the airport, you will still see this striking landmark.

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About the artist

André Volten (Andijk, 1925 - Amsterdam, 2002) was one of the most important post-war Dutch sculptors. He developed a non-figurative sculpture with a lot of stainless steel. In the 1950s and 1960s, his work was characteristic of new developments in art. He has appeared in, among other places, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and in Duisburg, in group exhibitions and solo. In the public space he made many freestanding sculptures with a geometric design language. He has made seven works of art for Rotterdam. In 1966 he received the important oeuvre prize from the Fund for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture.

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