From Vlinderbuurt to Takkenwijk (2001) Rolf Engelen
Artist Rolf Engelen made with From Vlinderbuurt to Takkenwijk (2001) a particularly original sculpture in Kralingen. The Vlinderbuurt had just undergone major soil remediation after an old gas factory was demolished. The process led to intensive relocation movements and major changes in the population composition of the neighborhood. "Residents had to leave their homes for the duration of the renovation and could eventually move back or not," Gepke Bouma wrote in a report about the neighborhood. 'In the Vlinderbuurt, the new houses, mostly in the buying sector, attracted a new group of residents. As a result, the social structure was in a vacuum for quite some time, apart from the resentment, unrest and uncertainty among the residents about the changes imposed. Participating in an alliance with the borough, housing associations, the Urbanism and Housing Department (dS + V) and BKOR, Engelen was deemed to 'contribute to the formation of a new identity' for the Vlinderbuurt. He found one large object on the street inappropriate, but opted for a large number of small objects for individual residents throughout the neighborhood. He made bronze casts from twigs of one of the trees in the neighborhood that needed to be felled. He then distributed invitation cards for old and new residents, where he offered them to attach a bronze-cast twig to the facade of their home. In this way, he not only designed a series of facade ornaments, but also "an invitation to birds to land there." The twigs became the property of a resident or homeowner and could possibly move with them. The artist eventually placed nine hundred branches, "all personally confirmed in consultation with the residents." With his contribution to the neighborhood, the artist wanted to warn against the overestimation of the possibilities of art to solve neighborhood problems. Because residents usually don't have that much to choose from, Engelen chose to invest in them personally: every resident who wanted a sculpture had to first connect with him.
Rolf Engelen (Nijmegen, 1964) is educated at the Academy of Visual Arts and Design in Den Bosch. Engelen is a versatile visual artist who, besides exhibitions, also has many neighborhood projects in public spaces to his name. From 1995 to 2006, he was the director of the Odd Months of Museum Nagsael and in 1997 he founded the Tweedekansplant company that saves plants from the street. He lives and works in Rotterdam, where he is also a teacher at the Willem de Kooning Academy.