Untitled (graphic wall) (1966) Bouke Ylstra

BKOR archive
About the artwork

Stadhuis metro station has access on both sides of the Coolsingel. On the side of Stadhuisplein, a 'graphic wall' has been placed between the staircase parties, designed by artist Bouke Ylstra. Works that Ylstra made for a built environment followed as much from his free work as from the situation in construction. For example, this wall has much of the spontaneous nervous 'writing' that characterizes his etchings from that period. In concrete panels polished by the artist with his own hand, mirrored lines are engraved that are filled with a deep black paint based on a two-component adhesive. They form two configurations that resemble shapes. The line script has playfully taken on forms that cannot be named exactly, but that are evocative. With their subtle power and their detailing, they remind one of human and robot figures as well as schematic plans and lifting cranes, energy and circuits. The main shapes of the shapes placed on the left and right sides are determined by thick lines, which are filled in and supplemented with thinner lines and a few black areas. From each configuration to the other, something like a peaked arm goes out. The tips almost touch each other in the middle panel. The wall receives diffused light from fluorescent tubes and light tiles in the ceiling and daylight through the stairs. Unfortunately, there are always unknown people who give in to the tendency to add something to the performance.
In April 1964, the artist was first asked about the assignment. It was decided in January 1965 that no art would be applied to this station first. The contract followed in December of that year.

read more
About the artist

Bouke Ylstra (The Hague, 1933 - Dordrecht, 2009) grew up in Rotterdam. From 1950 to 1954 he attended the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam, where he later started teaching himself. He worked as a graphic artist, draftsman and painter, commissioned for buildings and for the built environment. A constant in his work was the portrayal of a somewhat vulnerable yet cheerful person, who stands firm in a world of geometry and that often does great, but still exudes clumsiness. The line dominates in his drawings.

read more