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Artist in Residence 2007

Artist in Residence 2007

GRRRR in the Zuidas

Last year, during the first edition of Free Spaces Artists in Residence, Platform21 also invited an artist to live and work in the monastery next to Platform21 in order to reflect on the developments in the Zuidas.

Ingo Giezendanner, aka Grrrr, is a painter and installation artist. Dog poo, billboards and fences: on his website you can see the work he made during his stay. The text from the catalogue that was published for the exhibition, tells about his experience and reveals that he sometimes felt lost in between all office blocks.


Ingo Giezendanner
Draughtsman/ designer

The invitation by email to spend a few months in Amsterdam’s Zuidas came at just the right time, says Zurich artist Ingo Giezendanner in his studio strewn with drawings. He needed a workspace during this period. Besides, he likes the contemplation and enrichment of working in an unknown city.
But visitors who drop in unexpectedly in the former St. Nicolaas Cloister have a good chance of not catching him in. For Giezendanner is anything but an armchair artist. Just as the late 19th-century painters of The Hague School went out to work in the open air, Giezendanner goes out into the Zuidas. Once he finds his subject matter, he draws for hours on end. He soaks up real life on the spot: the smells and colours of a place, the spaciousness that a photograph cannot offer.
Before this, he made drawings of the cityscapes of Nairobi and New York. He is accustomed to finding his subjects on the street. Yet at first he felt lost in the Zuidas, and a number of small black-and-white drawings of office buildings in anonymous surroundings betray this. They exude craftsmanship and a fascinating eye for detail, but at the same time also are a bit sterile.
Giezendanner comes from the alternative scene in Switzerland. In the past he drew comic books under the pseudonym ‘Grrrr’. Together with squatters and other artists he occupied the building in which the surrealistic artists’ movement Dada was born and carried our Dadaesque activities there. To Giezendanner’s taste, the atmosphere in the Zuidas is too much that of ‘before life begins’. Whereas what he likes is true life, the traces of history and use, graffiti and tags. Not until some time had passed did he find the weird situations he was looking for.


Now he is making drawings of billboards, logos and fences, of signs bearing the strangest of regulations, of street appointments with a view of the traffic. He copies reality meticulously. “Reflections of a New Vision”, a billboard proclaims. In the foreground, as a retort to those grandiose visions, is a sign forbidding dog poop. “Waak voor auto inbraak! Beware for car break-in!” announces another sign. Giezendanner calls these situations he chances upon “the flowers of the Zuidas”.
Yet he also needs a studio, for his drawings are only one part of the sandwich of images in which he presents his work. Within the walls of his studio he is already working on that. Giezendanner tacks the drawings to the wall, trace them on sheets, places them on his website and makes them into fragile little animation films. In his films he lets thick raindrops fall upon the Zuidas (“in the beginning it rained quite a lot”), and parades a droll little car along the periphery of this bicycle heaven.
The work with which he concludes his stay in the Zuidas will consist of an accumulation of drawings and animation films, sketches and ideas, as light and experimental as his own impressions. He will entertain his public, offer them ideas and thoughts, and show that poetry can be found on the streets of the Zuidas too.

Text by Marina de Vries