All Posts in installation

July 3, 2011 - No Comments!

building blocks


As part of the exhibition: ‘Delay’ ‘Old and new Europe. investigating the transition zone’
text: Wilma Sutö – Rotterdam Netherlands 2004

Drent and van Voorst chiefly filmed in Transsylvania, where systematization was quitte far advanced. Still, the contrast is great between the flats and the immediately surrounding countryside. Strips of greenery serve as vegetable gardens, while geese rummage along the avenues between the puddles where the clouds are reflected. Here too, the inhabitants draw attention to the unfulfilled promise of a market complex and a motel in the foothills, neither of which were built.

Building Blocks portrays both the block housing and the residents, who add a quirky character to the uniform architecture. Wizened old people still remember how the land was taken away from the farmers; a desillusioned man tells that half the neighbourhood is empty because of unemployment following the closure of the mines. Others are more cheerful: the icon-maker, who strives after divinity in his mosaiques, earning enough to be branded a capitalist, and the rockers who practise Satanism because they consider it to be the ‘religion of the individual not of the masses’.

Building Blocks captures in painterly, atmospheric images the faded glory of an utopia. Drent and van Voorst refrain from comment. They do, however, subtly reveal the decay, in a scale-model reconstruction of the block housing which can be used as a toy and ties in with the documentary.
From the local umbrella and toy factory, which was in transition between state-owned company and privatized enterprise, they ordered eighty plastic flats: models, made up of many small panels, in that way resembling houses of cards.

They make good conjuring material, as the factory’s template-maker (also a resident of the neighbourhood) demonstrates. You hold your breath as he assembles it. Surely the big flats – in the Conducator’s day his toys – are not as a makeshift, as shaky as these small versions!
The sculptural installation that Drent and van Voorst have built with these little plastic flats, a small-scale town, sheds light on the legacy of a past era.

July 2, 2011 - No Comments!

toys of gloom


The scale model is a sequel to the installation Toys of Gloom, comprising small plastic steam trains, after a Romanian design.

The last Romanian steam train, filmed by Drent and van Voorst on its final journey in 1998 is now a museum piece. And the plastic artefacts and toys* which were characteristics of the Romanian market have gradually been ousted by Western or Asian products.

Toys of Gloom recalls a lost reality, whereas Building Blocks spotlights the continuation of the past in the present. The Urbanizaton of Romanian rural areas, the expression of a central ideology, once imposed and now curdled, is essentially different from urbanization in the West..

Project in collaboration with filmmaker Stella van Voorst van Beest.
FBKVB Foundation Amsterdam / CBK Foundation Rotterdam Netherlands