Ambassadors Rianne Makkink and Jurgen Bey

Rianne Makkink and Jurgen Bey. Photo: Sjoerd van Leeuwen

Architect Rianne Makkink and designer Jurgen Bey lead Studio Makkink & Bey in Rotterdam and the Noordoostpolder. As ambassadors, they underline the importance of more art in the polder.

RM: “Marinus Boezem was a teacher at the TU Delft in the eighties. He taught spatial design. Boezem was the first to teach me scale, who made me think big. This is also visible in De Groene Kathedraal. The Land Art works in Flevoland are no modest works; instead they have a large, beautiful size.”

JB: “Personally I consider De Groene Kathedraal to be the best Land Art work in Flevoland. Just because it is literally about that what a cathedral is: the beauty of constructing space. The work does not give this immediately away, but constructs a beautiful image. The joke is: I have never been there; but as goes for fairy tales: they do not need to happen to be lived. Same goes for this work. It strongly appeals to the imagination anyway.”

RM: “I’m also curious how many people have looked at the work digitally: how many visitors does the work have then? The focus is now often only on physical visitors. But you can also visit the De Groene Kathedraal in a book or on the Internet. In a similar way a maquette may give you a feeling of scale and it’s an experience at the same time. Boezem once taught me that horizontal scale is something different than vertical scale. The realisation that you can also experience something within a different reality is really fantastic. If you think about it, it’s weird that that so many things are perceived by us only within a physical reality.”

JB: “De Groene Kathedraal also shows that there was still room for a cultural perspective in the polder in the eighties. It shows this simply by taking up space. It would be a start to have more of such work in the Flevopolder. Whichever way you look at it, there is still a lot of space in the polder. Especially in winter the land is almost empty. I’m convinced that there are still many options here for Land Art. But sadly at the moment very little is possible, because this polder is strictly seen as economic land. That’s an inverse logic. First you make a promised land, one that you sketch and implement by a cultural and economic plan. Subsequently it becomes protected land, heavily ploughed in the name of economics without considering a cultural vision or long-term perspective. It should all be about the two-fold beauty of this area: the land itself and its cultivation.”

RM: “Sixty-five years after its reclamation, the Noordoostpolder really asks for a new vision. You cannot let everything merely be decided by economics. At the moment there is only a heritage report and wishes, but there are no guidelines: nobody is in charge. While this polder was born from rigid regulation. It was a true state polder, strictly managed until the nineties. Even the grey colour on the doors was dictated.”

JB: “The polder is par excellence a place for pioneering. It’s high time that we start to pioneer here culturally too. So that it may always be the land of innovation.”