Who wants to know more must eat words (2008) Toni Burgering

Max Dereta
About the artwork

On September 20, 2008, a light artwork was unveiled by Carlos Gonçalves, president of the former borough of Delfshaven. Since then, a line of poetry by Gerrit Kouwenaar has been executed in neon on the facade of the public library. The work fitted in with the 'Mathenesserkwartier' light plan, which the CBK Rotterdam had designed by artist Toni Burgering. The plan was to illuminate the entire neighborhood with artwork and neon stripes. The CBK performed this with a number of artists. In the past, artists and retailers had already designed light boxes for shops on the Grote Visserijstraat and Mathenesserweg was decorated with a neon light line, also based on an idea by Burgering. The line of poetry Who wants to know more must eat words comes from Kouwenaar's "A scent of burnt feathers" (1991). The entire poem is:
“Those who want to know more must eat words
After his word had unlocked the dream, he made the cupboard with the secret drawer
After the flesh weaned him, he confessed to the continuity of matter
After the page was written empty the lethe evaporated, whoever wants to know more should eat words ”
The Lethe from Greek mythology is a river in the underworld, from which the dead drink to forget their earthly life. During the unveiling, poetry waiters walked around reciting poems of their choice. The line of poetry was turned on shortly after sunset and Toni Burgering recited the entire poem by Gerrit Kouwenaar.

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About the artist

Toni Burgering (Barneveld, 1937 - Leiden, 2017) followed his education at the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam. For a long time he worked and lived in Rotterdam. Burgering worked with colored neon light. Among other things, he made the line of Lucebert 'Everything of value is defenseless'in 1978 on the roof of a former insurance building on the Blaak. Burgering fell under the spell of neon after a stay in the 1960s in America. He witnessed the launch of the Apollo 11 at Cape Kennedy.

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