Dancing Square

1989. Arnhem, The Netherlands

Enraptured, I participated in my first competition in 1987 for a large sculpture at the Pley route in which also Klaas Gubbels and Auke de Vries participated as competitors.

I had made a model of my design of the Dancing Square, on a foundation similar to an apple pie. The offered small round pedestal for the sculpture I did not find fitting with a geometric sculpture and I decided to propose to the art committee an elongated base of 15 x 15 x 160 meters, which was needed for the structural balance of the sculpture. The foundations are underground and covered by planting arrangements with blue flowers (Vinca minor). I also got a wonderful (for that time very progressive) computer drawing from the engineer, in which I could draw my work of art. I soon realized that reversing the image (diametrically) would give a more dramatic effect (see schematic drawing). Just before Christmas, I had to communicate this to the clients. They were mad at me. This in connection with the foundations, for which the excavation work had just started. But I was adamant. Still today, I am happy with the way the sculpture was realized in the end.

‘The Dancing Square’, designed as a marker for a long bridge near the Pley route in Arnhem, is a robust sculpture with the power of an improbable balance, and the astonishment of a transformed square. The construction secret of this sculpture with its 25 meters of height is kept by a sturdy foundation underneath the 160 meters long bank. When driving along the Pley route, the viewer becomes visually disoriented; the statue changes from symmetric to asymmetric. Sometimes the statue itself seems to be turning. In order to secure the visibility of the sculpture against the colours of the sky and of the seasons, the Marijkeblue colour – often used in my monumental works – has been applied here, too. In 2006, the Dancing Square finished in the top five of the Best Dutch Works of Art of the past fifty years.

  • PICT0079
  • 4 dansend vierkant 2