Rembo, Bastienne Kramer, 2005
Rembo remains copperless
Bastienne Kramer’s Rembo looks tough like a doorman. That is no coincidence: the distric of Slotervaart/Overtoomse Veld, the commissioner, requested the artist to ‘take into account the extreme forms of vandalism in the Rembrandtpark area’. Whatever the sculpture was going to look like, it would have to be vandal-resistant.
When the work was realised in 2006, Kramer proved to have turned this limiting aspect into a quality. In case a vandal damaged the green ceramics, she would replace the broken parts with copper plates. Copper is a metal that turns green when it oxidises, so Rembo would still be the green-coloured colossus, even when all bandaged up.
It’s twelve years later, and the municipal concern has proven unfounded. Extreme forms of vandalism did not occur so far and Rembo remains copperless, standing proud in all his ceramic glory. In the meantime Rembrandpark was thoroughly revised and is starting to look more and more like Vondelpark: no vandalism, just fitness clubs and barbeque parties.
I imagine Rembo was originally thought of as a gatekeeper to the park. But where is its entrance anyway? I could show you the entrance to any other park in Amsterdam, but not this one. This park has only side entrances, no main gate. The lack of vandals makes Rembo a jobless doorman. Apart from couples out on a picnic he has nothing to guard. Can someone please strike the first blow?
Müller, Elke (2012) Interpassiviteit en creativiteit – Hoe interactieve metaalmoeheid tot (levens)kunst te verheffen, in: Krisis, 2012/2. Amsterdam.