Patronage Fryslan
Patronage Fryslan
Patronage Fryslan
Provincial House

Patronage Fryslan 2012

Patronage Provinsje Fryslãn
In the name of Thorbecke, the dogma of principled separation between art and politics was long held. Politics and art were long thought to be in a status quo of mutual respect, a contract of civilization. In recent years, the distance between the parties has become radicalized and each other's usefulness is contested in a rhetoric of contempt and cynicism. Between those who prescribe society and those who imagine it, however, there is a true bond. Parliamentary politics cannot exist without an extra-parliamentary counterpart. Where political space is bound, artists create all the space it needs. The government challenges the arts to develop new business models and revive old forms of patronage. They demand private parties to be challenged to invest in art. In this political context we are forced to rediscover forgotten relationships and developing new ones. How can politics and art reinforce each other? This design is a visual, but above all, a conceptual art application in the new provincial government building in Leeuwarden. It emphasizes the relation between art and politics, attempts to revitalize tradition and create future fruitful collaborations. The design is a triptych, titled Mecenaat Provinsje Fryslãn, intended in the most literal sense: the promotion and support of art and culture for reasons other than economic ones. Between them, the components of this triptych play on tradition and future, preservation and renewal. It reflects on the historic and the new building, from the perspective of patronage.
Patronage Provinsje Fryslãn is the central component of this artwork, which focuses on merit in the relationship between politics and art. The artwork will shape the meaning of political and private merit in the cultural field. A new regular agenda item is added to the provincial council meeting, in which periodically - for example, at the last council meeting of the year – an overview is given of initiatives and investments in culture and art. Important cultural investments - from governments, private parties or collaborations - are discussed and archived in a leaning large oak cabinet with an ivory image of the leaning Oldenhove in the center. The cabinet is skewed, straightening the Oldehove - the icon of Frisian patronage in the 16th century. Seen from the Oldehove, the world is askew. My intention is to use the character, courage, determination, stubbornness and beauty of Frisian culture, which also produced the Oldehove, to continue to set the world straight. In the old provincial house, this tradition is already underway: " Verritus and Malorix at Rome, Anno LIX. No mortal surpasses the Frisians in bravery and fidelity; Bishop Bonifacius preaches Christianity to the Frisians, Anno DCCXXXV; Eelko Liauckama and Feiko Botna beaten as knights after the conquest of Jerusalem, Anno MIC; Gemme of Burmania before Philip II, XXV October MDLV. We Frisians kneel only before God." The new County Hall will become infused with new history over time. In here a modern archive, recording the patronage of Frisian culture, will grow into a new historical tradition.
Âlvestêden is the second part of the triptych. In the marriage of the two buildings, the old and new County Hall, Frisian patronage is expressed. The new building embraces tradition and the old building shows generosity to the future. During the state meetings, I was struck by the sincere "gestalt" of Frisian tradition, which never seemed to have disappeared. Therefore, in the central space of the new Provincial House, there are eleven white porcelain armors, with closed visor, each with the emblem of one of the Frisian eleven cities on the cuirass. The strength of Frisian tradition is expressed in the armor, protecting it while showing its porcelain vulnerability. Porcelain lasts for centuries, but when it falls, it is broken.
Vista Fryslãn is the third part of the triptych Patronage Provinsje Fryslãn. Whereas the new building with porcelain armor embraces historical tradition, the historic States Room, on the contrary, shows an open visor to the future. Six large drawings by Chinese artist Mu Xue have been placed in the 18th century wall frames of this historic hall. As "history pieces" looking toward the future, these drawings reinvigorate the history of this hall. Xue's drawings are mysteriously floating and have a velvety depth. At the same time, they appeal to the Frisian tradition of having a view of a future beyond its own Frisian borders.