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Press Release April 27, 2012
Red sand - an art project on Maasvlakte 2 beach
On May 15, 2012 the British-German artistic duo HeHe realised a landscape intervention on the Maasvlakte 2 beach in Rotterdam. Titled RODUIN, this work involved spreading about 75 tons of red sand over the beach to create a large red stain that is gradually dispersed by natural forces such as wind, rain, and the sea. The lifetime of this work depends entirely on the unpredictable weather conditions.
Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen (HeHe) live in Paris and have realised artistic projects throughout Europe since they started working together in 1999. Their projects are usually poetic and accessible, yet slightly disturbing works that highlight generally accepted situations in unusual ways and invest them with new meanings.
HeHe: ‘We were amazed that Maasvlakte 2 looks like a natural environment despite being entirely constructed by humans - it’s like it has always been there. We wanted to emphasise this contrast and the collaboration between nature and culture, so we decided to spread a layer of red sand on the beach. It looks very unnatural. Some visitors will associate it with a Martian landscape, or see it as pollution or a threat, but at the same time it is very beautiful because of its colour. Beaches normally look like natural creations, and it is we, the visitors, who feel unnatural. Perhaps this work will turn these feelings on their heads’.
A work by the Rotterdam artist-architect Jan Konings will be unveiled almost at the same time as HeHe’s piece, namely the monumental stairs that people use to cross the dunes from the parking place to the beach.
Opening of the recreational beach
Fifty cubic metres of sand - about 75 tons - has been scattered on the beach just south of the southernmost access point to the new recreational beach on Maasvlakte 2. This beach will be open to the public from Saturday May 26, 2012. RODUIN will be visible and open to visitors from this date. It is located a few hundred metres south of the first beach access point, and visitors can walk to the work. It is also clearly visible from the Noordzeeboulevard (the Slufterdijk). People can and should walk across RODUIN; the artists believe that, like the wind and rain, humans are natural factors that also influence the way the work develops.
In time the elements will disperse the red sand. This piece has a very open character and can be interpreted in multiple ways. It raises all sorts of questions and underscores the unnatural state of what appears to be a normal beach. The gradual displacement and disappearance of the sand will be documented by regularly taking photographs from exactly the same spot. These images, which will be sequenced and animated, will be all that remains of this ephemeral piece.
RODUIN by HeHe is part of Portscapes 2, a series of artistic projects in the framework of the construction of Maasvlakte 2. The first edition of Portscapes was in 2009. For the projects, which were also exhibited in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, artists investigated the geology, cultural history and ecology of Maasvlakte 2. Four artists have been commissioned to create works for Portscapes 2.
Portscapes is an initiative of the Port of Rotterdam Authority (Project organisation Maasvlakte 2). SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain supported the project with a substantive and financial contribution.
More information about Portscapes 2