Lady Solid, Caro Bensca, 1997
This ‘peeing woman’ caused a lot of commotion amongst the residents in her original location at Krugerplein, Amsterdam-Oost. These days she can be seen along Amstelveenseweg, dripping happily and undisturbed.
Driving your car on the Amstelveenseweg you will probably only notice her fleetingly. Was that someone waving at you? Riding your bicycle you will already see more of her. People call her ‘peeing woman,’ but her real name is Lady Solid.
This fountain in the yard of the water pumping station has caused commotion from the onset. It was designed for Krugerplein in Amsterdam-Oost. In 1994 the District of Oost commissioned Caro Bensca and Peer Veneman to each design a fountain for the square. Residents had a say in the decision between the two designs. According to Bensca, Lady Solid represents the circle of life: a ‘radiant woman spreading her arms out to receive the gift of life”, returning that gift to the earth in the shape of water dripping down her legs. Blending physical features from different cultures, the artist aimed to serve the multicultural community around Krugerplein. To no avail: the fountain struck the residents as indecent, as to them it looked like the woman figure was peeing, and Veneman’s fountain now adorns the square.
After all, in 1997, Lady Solid found her place elsewhere in Amsterdam. The water pumping station in Amsterdam-Zuid thought the sculpture matched their organisation perfectly and they gave it its current place in their yard. It is a peculiar location: the yard is private property, but through the transparent fence the sculpture is clearly visible from the street, for the outsiders who find themselves in public space. The fact that it was installed facing the street suggests that this is precisely what was intended.
The controversy over Lady Solid shows us how an artwork in public space can bear various meanings, depending on each public. A work barely evokes the same reaction in everybody. Shaped by different experiences each person has a unique viewpoint. What is thought of as beautiful by one person can be controversial to another. Thus many artworks in the public domain have led to heated discussion. A peeing woman can logically be experienced as inappropriate, while in the context of a company promoting the importance of well-functioning ‘waterways’, the acquisition of Lady Solid seems entirely appropriate indeed.
Officiële website Caro Bensca: https://www.carobensca.com/