The ELEMENTs in the garden of the Old City Hall in Aalsmeer

The Old City Hall has a beautiful garden. The garden formed one of the locations of Art Project The Elements in summer 2021. 

I was invited to create a new art installation every month, connecting art to nature, respresenting all four elements . There was a variety of activities to combine with a visit to the garden, like the exhibition FUTURE inside the Old City Hall as well as other locations of ‘The Elements’. 

First element “AIR” from the 18th of  June

Air is the universe; space. Also air is our breath. The element can be both soft and friendly, like a soft breeze but it can be rough too, like a  storm. In our language there are plenty of examples indicating what this element means to us. We experience air and wind mostly as movement, space and clearing. To me freedom is connected to the element and birds symbolize this freedom. 

To ‘catch’ AIR I have been looking at their different qualities and integrated them in my work. I used materials with the energy of air like branches I found after a  winterstorm and feathers crossing my path with a soft breeze. My growing series of ‘Bird totems’ is part of the installation ‘AIR’ and inspired by archetypical birds, and their qualities we can learn from.  

Second element FIRE

15th of July FIRE was added to AIR

Fire warms, enlightens and destroys. Fire transforms, making place for something new. 

The installation FIRE was inspired by the fertility of the element. I painted with fire on wood, partly transformed it even into charcoal. From the ashes new growth could be detected, as a reference to historical Aalsmeer, a place of tree-, plant-, and fruit cultivation.

During the ceremony visitors could transform anything they didn’t need any longer into something fertile.

Third element WATER

On Sunday the 15th of August Water was added.

You can look at WATER as the very beginning of life. 

Water can contain information. It has memory. We are made of water for the biggest part, as is Mother Earth, carrying our memories with us, stored in our cells.

Driftwood from the North sea was used to build an installation carrying memories and stories  from faraway places, bringing us energy from the seas.

During a small ritual visitors were invited to share their memories and the meaning of water in their lifes. Marcel Harting completed the ceremony with a special water poem.

Fourth element EARTH

During Artroute Aalsmeer the last element was added. 

Growing roots at a steady ground where everything beneath the surface is connected by tree roots and mycelium. Stepping into a new cycle we need to be well grounded and nourished.

During the last ceremony I shut the cycle of 2021 by sharing new seeds for a new year. Marcel Harting presented his poem ‘Ter Aarde’ in the garden.

Photos by @cobofoto