Untitled (1963) Charles Karsten

photo Otto Snoek
About the artwork

The first Waren Inspection Service was established in this building at Baan number 1893 in 74. After approximately 100 years, the Waren Inspection Service was transferred to the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority and the company was closed. The building was empty for some time, after which creative companies settled in the building. A work of art by architect and sculptor Charles Karsten has been placed next to the entrance of the building, at the top of the landing. It consists of 3 vertical chains between ceiling and floor, with 8 aluminum shapes per chain. The whole is attached to each other with rings. Karsten has made the work in the percentage scheme; this regulation meant that when government buildings were built, a percentage (1 to 1,5%) of the construction sum was spent on visual art. Karsten was commissioned by the Government Buildings Agency to construct the building.

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About the artist

Charles Jean François Karsten (Amsterdam, 1904 – there, 1979) was originally an architect. From 1922 to 1925 he attended the 'School for Architecture, Decorative Arts and Art Crafts' in Haarlem, where he met his later partner Ben Merkelbach. Karsten was a member of 'De 8 en Opbouw', the Ciam group and the 'Liga Nieuwe Beelden'. He was also an employee of the Stichting Goed Wonen. Later, in the 1950s, he became a sculptor. After working in Paris in 1950 with Ossip Zadkine, he made bronze, abstract sculptures. In addition to free sculptures in stone, bronze and chamotte, he also made bird drinking troughs and a sundial in limestone for the Van Nelle factory. Afterwards he developed further into an environmental artist pur sang. He was engaged in designing geometric spaces, making 'building plastics' with paving and walls. His visual-architectural work can be found in Amsterdam, Assen and Delft. They are percentage-control artworks that are meant to be lived in, rubbing shoulders with designs by architects Herman Hertzberger and Aldo van Eyck.  

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