Outside of the main entrance of Klooster Bredelar is an iron sculpture entitled 'Water'. It is part of the series Quartetto, a quartet of sculptures of 'the four elements': Air, Earth, Fire, Water. Four sculptures of exactly the four most important elements needed to make Iron. The image itself consists of four standing elements, and is thus an independent quartet within Quartetto. We placed this sculpture in 2017, to announce that the new exhibition in 2018 would be the main theme "Iron". Iron belongs to Sauerland, such as the ore in the mines, the forest by the fire, the oxygen in the air and the water by extinguishing.

Vooraanzicht Van Links Van rechts Achteraanzicht
Front view From the left From the right Back view


The sculpture consists of four standing columns that are reminiscent of the flow of water, actually falling from water, because they are narrow and steep from above and widen to the bottom and hurt forward. Nevertheless, they remain within the square base plate, which forms, as it were, a basin in which the water jets are collected.

When we walk around the image, it is noticeable that nothing has been hammered, shaped or forged in this iron, the material seems to be spread out like paste, while it nevertheless remains upright. The material is non-ferrous iron, but as slabs wet clay folded and rolled before they hardened. In reality, things went differently: large pieces of iron were deformed by various causes, waltzes, collisions of ships, demolishing and looking at existing parts before they were put together as a composition by Herbert Nouwens.

When we put the sculpture in front of the main entrance of the monastery, the artist suddenly thought of four nuns, here in this front yard, and that makes the sculpture even more appropriate for this place. It shows the openness of the sculptor for multiple possible interpretations: a sculpture always takes a part of its meaning from the location where it is placed.

A quadrangle with four equal angles and four equal sides, such as the base of this work, is called a square. When you develop it upwards, a beam is created, also called a vertical bar or less used: a pillar, pile or column, which then always has to be described whether the circumference is round or square. At Herbert Nouwens we will encounter this contradiction more often: that of an organically-oriented plastic, which, despite its plastic qualities, is limited by a strict geometric boundary. Like four waterfalls within a square basin, or four nuns within a cell. Usually the walls of the basin or the cell do not really exist, but we still observe them, because the sculpture clearly keeps to agreements of which we recognize the virtual boundaries.

At the same time, that always remains an interpretation. In the sculpture 'Water' the curved plate at the top left, seen from the front, is clearly outside the bar circumference. This protrusion in space is hardly present anymore in the view from the left. He hardly plays a role in the rear view. Something must, however, have kept the sculptor from sawing him away. That seems to be the decision of a moment. A moment when the artist did not want to surrender to the compulsion of the circumference, but decided that every composition endures a counterpoint.


Blok02A Block

Imagine: a horizontal, rectangular block. The long sides are parallel to each other and also the short sides are parallel to each other. You can think of eight cubes, in two rows of four. They are so close together that you can not see a seam anymore. Only a rectangular base, a rectangular top surface and four rectangular sides. It is a form, however simple, that is hardly described in language. Think of a drawer, or a block of soap, a beam or a worn-out sleeper, a box or a brick. But then of iron. The block looks like this: the most important part of this sculpture.

QuHN350Quartetto 4 (Water) 2008
Herbert Nouwens
Pressed ship steel 100 x 150 x 420 cm

Outside of the main entrance of Klooster Bredelar is an iron sculpture.

It is a work by Herbert Nouwens.

The sculpture is number 4 from the series of the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water.

It consists of four stacks of compressed ship's steel.

Arian de Vette

Arian contunued his studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, with a focus on ceramics in his final exam exhibition. His work was seen there by Anne Wenzel, who invited him to study further at IKKG, the Institute of Ceramic and Glass Arts in Hohr-Grenzhausen (Germany). He completed this study in two years with the SUBSTANCE exhibition at the Ludwig Museum & Mittelrhein Museum, Koblenz, in 2017.

Tim Breukers


Tim Breukers  (Tilburg, 1985) comes from an artistic family: his mother is a painter, his father a musician, and his sister is studying at the Academy. After his schooling in Tilburg and the Academy in The Hague, he followed further training at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. And now, in the Natura 2017 exhibition in Bredelar Abbey, he is focusing on the work of sculptor Sjoerd Buisman.

Sjoerd Buisman


Sjoerd Buisman (1948, Gorinchem) is a Dutch sculptor, who makes sculptures of plants and trees. The plants and trees are the raw material with which he works. Sjoerd does not like imitation. Copying what already exists he finds unnecessary. Rather, he is concerned with understanding what already exists, to become inspired. So for example he let hang upside down Sanseveria , to find out how the plant itself would react.
On the picture on the right is the result.

(Sansevieria (Sansevieria  trifasciata) 1976-1977  (na 1 jaar op zijn kop))

Christina von Bitter creates paper sculptures. For the Auftakt Exhibition, she has proposed an artwork that, according to her, looks like the one on page 145 of her oeuvre catalogue, with the title Cherubim. She also suggests making it a little smaller, and has included a photograph of another work, which she believes would also be quite suitable. (No title yet, here: proposal).

Katrien wrote the following text to me about the sculpture Im Werden, which is her contribution to the Prelude Exhibition in Bredelar.

A colourful coat on a hanger on the wall. Next to it, a walking stick made of turned wood. On the floor, there are two shoes with horns on the toes, halfway up on on the caps. 'Rhinoceros shoes' is what Lie called them, although with their modified laces and broadly cut mouth, they reminded me just as much of catfish, the prehistoric fish that can be found all over Europe.

Corrie herself writes:

'Whisper catchers: little drilling entities that stick to the wall in various places or have even dug themselves in a bit, trying to pick up hidden sounds. Cilia, antennae and feelers catch vibrations and send them to a central filter, where the sounds are separated. It is possible that we will only hear the sounds from the first period of the monastery's existence, while the rest ends up in a soundproof bag.

After Elisabet and I had selected 'Painted Figure' from among her works, she sent me the following email:

Title: Eva Mutter / the suppressed female human soul (2013)
Material: wood, audio and light installation.

A delicious nude. Certainly. Slightly confrontational, too, since she is very nude indeed. What is it doing here in this cloister? The word cloister comes from the Latin 'claustrum': 'enclosed space'. If women were seen there at all they were also closed off from the outside world, dressed in a habit from head to toe, their head covered with a hood. Nudity was never something that was valued here.

Curator Jeroen Damen met the German sculptress Petra Morenzi in her studio and talked to her about identity, memory and remembrance.

Sculptuur als bevestiging7

Of course a sculpture is not a just a 'thing' in the everyday sense. It's not a train, a painting or a photograph. It's not an object designed to be used. You can't travel around in it, or use it to squeeze an orange. In fact you can't use it for anything. Often a sculpture has a special purpose.

It's a charming design, this dress, hung from wires. You can see how the shape follows the contours of the body. Something strange is going on here, though: there is no slip, which means we can look right through it.

Perhaps he, or she, looks a bit like a shrimp. Although the head, if that's indeed what it is, seems to have more in common with a giraffe, or a horse. Perhaps the effect is also due to those two rather touching front legs, if that's what they are, because giraffes also happen to have shorter front legs than hind legs. In any case they stand at a more slanted angle than horses and this one is even reclining comfortably in his/her chair.

Robin Kolleman's sculptures turn our insides out. What we feel in our inner depths is mercilessly exposed to the outside world. Curator Jeroen Damen met up with her in her studio in Rotterdam.

"Oh sure, it's about landing, but it's also about flying, taking off, about desires and dreams, about Icarus and impossibilities, about what you feel deep down inside and where your body limits you. Sometimes hopelessness has the upper hand, sometimes the longing to escape."

This is going to be a surprise. I wander with Merel through the spaces around her studio, caves full of iron, machine parts, household effects, tools and other paraphernalia that is no longer recognisable. They are her treasure troves. Eventually, as she knows and constantly demonstrates, this material will be used to create a new sculpture, preferably one that moves. She shows me the sculptures that are coming to Bredelar, each of them in a dismantled (and sometimes hopelessly deplorable) state, and cheerfully remarks: 'at least you've seen the material'.

'Bride' is the term for a woman on her wedding day. It is usually customary for the bride to wear a special wedding dress on her wedding day. This clearly served as a source of inspiration for the artist. We can see a white sculpture made of poplar wood that strongly resembles a human being, but simultaneously differs so greatly from a human that it looks more like a building.

You take in the image that you see before you in an instant: a father carrying his daughter on his shoulders. A simple sculpture with contemporary, smooth forms. There's not that much to think about, really. But what is it about this image then that lingers, that stays in your head?

Sometimes a work of art can have an unsettling effect. It evokes an emotion in you even before you've even finished looking at it properly. Scientists differentiate between emotion and feeling: emotion is a physical response – your heart beats faster, you blush, get excited. Feeling comes later, when you become aware of your emotion and you recognise that you are excited, puzzled or embarrassed.

One of the few non-figurative sculptures in our exhibition. Dr Arie Hartog wrote the following about it: "The basis for the large sculpture Land is the undulating skyline of a mountain, which is transformed into curved steel. Such a form, originally found in nature, results in a clear, transparent structure that encloses space inside it. " A brief summary of what can be seen and a very important comment: this non-figurative sculpture is indeed based on a 'figurative' experience.

Dan Walwin’s video works describe ghostly and yet  also often deliberately designed landscapes with  subjective forms that evoke human presence by the very absence of people, diffused by the distinct  technologies employed in recording them. Cess, jel ever terrass? is a permutation of mutual dependency between objects and video, a proxy version of  a space that is distanced and deferred.

Five flags, moving in the wind in front of the former monastery, show abstract color patterns, that  are neither related to a certain group nor territory, but instead, they represent brush strokes: a hybrid  of painting on canvas or a sculpture, similar  to the fluttering clothes on a line that Man Ray called Sculpture mouvante in the 1920s? Exposed  to the elements, the surface changes thoughout  the exhibition.

Sculptural Movement: Chapter I & II (2016) explores  the relation between film and sculpture. While  Chapter I shows the distorted motion when a moving image is captured in single frames, Chapter II animates the static aspect of sculpture displayed in books  within a moving image. The common denominator is an aspect of time solidified in a single frame, and the transition from static to moving image and vice versa.

The short, The Ghost & The Host was filmed on  location in the garden of the Villa Romana in Florence. The fictive story unfolds in the traces of this historic garden’s past, its sculptural decor and its inconspicuous inhabitants (insects, fish, and cats) which awaken to life in the mysterious moonlight. Even the statues move ghost-like through the plumes of fog and explore the place. Is it an animistic dream, or a reference  to post-humanism, or a glimpse into a surrealist  fantasy world?

Terrazzo, Jura limestone, artificial stone, exposed aggregate concrete, travertine, marble, asphalt and steel are some of the materials which Mirko Tschauner twists, tilts, folds, layers, and lays against one another in strictly geometric and tectonic formations which contradicts their statuesque forms and physical mass. Both of his monumental sculptures are reminiscent of fallen stars imprisoned in a steel frame – a symbol of a shattered hope and an allegory for our prevailing apocalyptic mood in these times of post-humanism, acceleration and total control of each and every life?

Created in the International Year of Soils these poured moulds of earth, mounted in a steel grid. Their  physical forms are reminiscent of topographical maps. The shapes are taken from the pixel structure of  satellite images frequently used to create seamless pictures of the Earth‘s surface. Yet, considering  our constantly shifting world, this is just one more doomed attempt to pin things down and instead should be viewed as a record of a fleeting moment.

Visually referencing deep-sea data infrastructures,  Ludological is a device in which algorithms compete with each other. Hyper-optimization and advanced  efficiency protocols in industry 4.0 have led to  a detachment of ecology and its actors. Ludological subjects a tree trunk to the outcomes of a game  between two scripts. The tree is distorted with each gain or loss of its host, ultimately and inevitably  leading to its destruction.

As a tribute to the wealth of natural patterns  and systems, Memory consists of twelve glass-topped cabinets, each containing segmented discs of trees taken from all over the world. These specimens were artificially exposed to the growth of fungi for a certain period of time, before the discs were fossilised in  their containers. Resulting in a fossil mosaic, Memory is an archived global forest for generations to come.

Incorporating a combination of natural and industrial materials, and found often scavenged objects,  the work Frieze Masters, Sluggish growth, Sales on  home soil, Equities drift lower (2016) evokes a post-technological world in which the boundaries  between previously separate things become porous. Exploring materiality and abstraction, Hendriks’  interest in the correlation between nature and finance becomes apparent; for instance in the numerous  references to nature using the vocabulary of economics (sluggish growth, home soil etc.).

A pendulum on a canopy bed is in random motion  and transfers this movement to a conical flask  containing bioluminescent bacteria suspended in  seawater, which react by glowing. In the wild, these bacteria live symbiotically within the organs on the  underbellies of night-hunting squid which use this  disguise to convince their prey that they are a part  of the night sky glimmering above them.

The works of Rachel de Joode find themselves in  the grey zone between sculpture and photography. With their hues of salmon and pink, the sculptural blobjects possess their own logic of seductive,  yet detached ‚human’ surfaces, whose materiality and agency interacts with its surroundings. Sculpted Human Skin In Rock I & II are large two-dimensional shapes covered in ‚sculpted’ photographs of skin  and stand in solid marble.

Future Fossil Spaces (2016) is a space-consuming sculpture made from blocks of salt, complementary plaster elements and enamelled basins filled with  a lithium-rich saline solution, the materials reference where they are from, the South American lithium  triangle (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile). The one hundred million year-old salt is mined there in order to process it for producing lithium salt solutions used in the  rechargeable batteries of our digitised world. Past and present collide in the geological time required to make the salt and its modern use.

The Mesh – strange strangers between life and non-life (2015) consists of a series of sculptures that contain mycelium, from which an alien and artificial landscape of various mushroom species grow, evolve and  decay over the course of the exhibition. The Mesh  and its system of steel containers, plastics, and a  humidifier, brings to mind issues of human impact on the ecosystem, and the lasting effects of industrial production on nature.

With an approach similar to that of an archeologist, Lara Almarcegui works with buildings, cities and sites that are going through a process of transformation. For instance, her project Mineral Rights addresses the corporatization and commodification of what is below the earth’s surface - the rights to extract minerals  and capitalise the sublayers of our planet.The drawings shown here depict the current levels of mineral  resources in the surroundings of Bredelar.

Wi-Fi routers and pillars made from luminescent fibre optic cables form the outer contours of the delicate, architecturally rectangular shape of Network/ed Pillars which outlines the floor plan of a Greek temple.  The cables flash depending on the frequency of the data traffic in the surrounding network. A photograph of an ancient ornamental building element (Archive of the German Archaeological Institute, Athens, 1928) serves as the model for a sculpture Anthemion  produced using a 3D printer. The formal features  of the photographic negative are reflected in the  double-sided nature of the piece (positive/negative).

Antje Otto            

      geb.23.01.1941  in Kiel

     1965-1972   Abendkurse bei Kieler Künstlern, Modelieren in Ton,

                            Aquarellmalerei, Ölmalereien