Screwarch (1982) Claes Oldenburg

Korries Besems
About the artwork

In 1976, Claes Oldenburg lived temporarily in Deventer and was impressed by the many arch bridges in the Netherlands. He often came to Rotterdam for a possible assignment for an object on the Coolsingel, but his project proposal for a huge screw on the Churchillplein turned out not to be feasible. When Oldenburg heard in 1977 of a project for the construction of a new Willemsbrug, he became very driven to realize one of his fantasies in Rotterdam: a bridge in the shape of a bent screw. In 1978, Oldenburg, then living in New York, received a visit from director Wim Beeren of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Then the idea arose to set up a project around the screw bridge. It was agreed that Oldenburg would work for the museum on a project that would result in a model of the bridge, an etching and a sculpture. The design for a double helical bridge over the Maas was not feasible. Oldenburg completed the helix project in New York. In October 1982 a colossal screw arc, made in three separate parts, arrived in Rotterdam by ship, together with seventeen working drawings, a model, three etchings and various photos and documentation that were part of the project. The exhibition for the public took place in the summer of 1983. The Screwarch consists of a curved, aluminum screw. So not straight, as one would expect, but bent, as if the material is limp and hangs under its own weight. Yet the object remains recognizable. Screwarch was placed in the Museum Garden, because the presence of water does justice to the original idea of ​​the bridge. For more information: Sculpture International Rotterdam.

read more
About the artist

Claes Oldenburg (Stockholm, 1929) developed into one of the most important artists of Popart in the sixties. He grew up in the United States, where he studied art. Oldenburg makes collages and assemblies based on examples of utensils, which he finds on the street. In 1961 he opens The Store, a kind of exhibition in which he offers food and clothing made of painted plaster for sale. He also makes huge soft sculptures. From 1965 he makes magnifications of everyday objects, which he provides with a monumental quantity. In the course of the 1970s he started collaborating with art critic Coosje van Bruggen.

read more