Riff, PD#18245 opened in stages

De inhuldiging: op 14 november werd Riff, PD#18245 van Bob Gramsma ingewijd als monument voor 100 jaar Zuiderzeewet, door minister Ingrid van Engelshoven. Foto: Julia Gunther
De inhuldiging: op 14 november werd Riff, PD#18245 van Bob Gramsma ingewijd als monument voor 100 jaar Zuiderzeewet, door minister Ingrid van Engelshoven. Foto: Julia Gunther

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Artist Bob Gramsma is currently in Dronten, working on the artwork Riff, PD#18245, the eighth landscape artwork in Flevoland. The artwork is built up in several stages, each of which is important to both the creation and the meaning of the artwork.

The composition and firmness of the soil on site affect the construction and appearance of the exterior. The excavation process leaves its mark. Wind, water, temperature and other weather conditions play a role as well. All these influences and processes will not come to a sudden standstill as soon as the concrete object has emerged.

In light of these conditions, Riff does not have a particular opening moment. In several different stages, visitors will be able to witness the building process of the complex construction consisting of rafters, ribs and braces such as those used in bridge and boat construction, before they are finally hidden from view once the artwork is finished.

In September, under great public interest, the first pile of the artwork was driven into the ground: the first stage. The static construction will be presented on 14 November, coinciding with a symposium on the centenary of the Zuiderzee Act. Depending on the onset of winter weather, later to be determined public moments will be held so that visitors can witness the digging of the large cavity, the placement of the concrete reinforcement and the spraying of the concrete. And finally, the uncovering of the created form will also be presented as a public event. This, then, will function as an open end, since subsequent stages will see the construction of the natural area that surrounds the artwork, the first vegetation in the form of mosses, and possibly the first inhabitants of Riff: a pair of breeding birds or solitary bats.

Bob Gramsma, Riff, PD#18245

Bouwtekening van Riff, PD#18245 van Bob Gramsma
Bouwtekening van Riff, PD#18245 van Bob Gramsma

Please note: the artwork Riff, PD#18245 by Bob Gramsma is still under construction and will be revealed in spring 2019 in Dronten.

On 14 June 1918, the Zuiderzee Act came into force and made possible the construction of the Flevopolder. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Zuiderzee Act, Bob Gramsma created the monument Riff, PD#18245.

On three pile foundations and a complex construction such as used in bridge and boat construction, Gramsma poured some 8000 cubic meters of agricultural and Zuiderzee soil. In this heap, he made a large opening, which was then covered with a layer of shotcrete. Gramsma then removed all the soil to ground level, leaving this concrete cast, mixed with remnants of the Zuiderzee sea floor.

Riff, PD#18245 is a cast of the mark made by Gramsma in the Flevo polder soil; as such, it reflects the reclamation and artificiality of the polder. Gramsma's newly formed landscape, which rests on piles like a building, provides shelter to animals and mosses. Visitors can use the stairs and let their gaze wander from above over the old country at Elburg and the new man-made landscape with its dikes, roads and ditches.

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Facts on the ground, OI#1724, Een kunstwerk van Bob Gramsma voor the Palestinian Museum of Birzeit Jerusalem lives, cur. Reem Fadda. Photo Bob Gramsma
Facts on the ground, OI#1724, Een kunstwerk van Bob Gramsma voor the Palestinian Museum of Birzeit Jerusalem lives, cur. Reem Fadda. Photo Bob Gramsma

On 14 June 1918, the Zuiderzee Act came into force so that the Flevopolder could be constructed. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Zuiderzee Act, Bob Gramsma created the monument Riff, PD#18245 in Dronten.

Gramsma poured a mass of 8000 cubic meters of agricultural and Zuiderzee soil onto three pile foundations and a complex construction of rafters, ribs and braces such as those used in bridge and boat construction. In this mound he made a large opening, whose walls were provided with a reinforcement mesh and covered with a layer of shotcrete. Gramsma then removed all the soil to ground level, leaving this monumental concrete cast with its skin of Zuiderzee sea floor residues.

The monumental landscape artwork is 37 meters long, 11 meters wide and 7 meters high. The upper deck of the work is 2 meters above the level of the surrounding dikes. The concrete body consists of three stalactite-like volumes, two of which rest on the partly excavated piles while the largest volume rests on the foundation at ground level. The shapes of the volumes recall the topographic forms that are characteristic of the polder such as dikes, ditches, gulleys and canals.

Resting on piles like a building, Gramsma's newly formed landscape has notches that, like a reef, provide shelter to fauna and flora. In addition, the word 'riff' in the title of the artwork refers to the basic pattern, the recognizable motif, in a piece of music. The riff of this artwork is formed by the Zuiderzee floor and the shape of the mold.

Riff, PD#18245 is a cast of the mark made by Gramsma in the Flevo polder soil; as such, it reflects the reclamation and artificiality of the polder. The work is reminiscent of other interventions in this specific landscape: water management, the measures taken against flooding, the traces of the transition from fishing to agriculture, the restoration of natural ecosystems. The work itself is also a trace of the manufacturing process, a visualization of an excavation that has already disappeared.

For Gramsma, the preparation process, the construction and the time after the unveiling when man, animal, wind and weather will invariably affect the work, form an integral part of the artwork. The work, in this way, is not completed at one specific time, but is rather completed in several stages.

Gramsma: "Through exposure to the elements, the missing mold and the past that surrounds the work in the form of the Zuiderzee floor remnants, this work reminds us that the earth and its history - as well as the cosmic forces or energies that form it - exceed human understanding. Yet we can try to appreciate the unfathomable presence of the earth in time when we look at this excavated remnant."

Visitors can use the poured staircase and let their gaze wander from the upper deck of the sculpture over the old country at Elburg and the new man-made landscape.

Bob Gramsma (NL/CH) lives and works in Zurich. Gramsma has realized extensive projects for, among others, Art Safiental, Switzerland (2018); Jerusalem Lives, The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit (2017); the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2016); Gasträume 2016, Art in public space Zurich and AM ORT, Art Public Chur, Switzerland (2016) and exhibitions in the Kunstmuseum Sankt Gallen; Kunsthaus Zurich; FRAC Burgundy; CAC Vilnius; MAC Lyon; Swiss Institute NY; Kunstmuseum Bern and MoMA/PS1 NY.

Riff, PD#18245 is located on a plot of land between the Spijkweg and the Bremerbergweg in the municipality of Dronten. Gramsma made this artwork in collaboration with TAAK on behalf of the province of Flevoland. Riff, PD#18245 is the eighth landscape artwork in Flevoland.