The house and museum of painter Henk Helmantel are not the only artistic sides of Westeremden village in the Netherlands.
Aylsumaheerd farm is partly still a dairy and grain farm, but now partly an art gallery, called Op de Wind, as well.
At the moment, there is an exhibition there of work by Dutch sculptor Herbert Nouwens.
This is a 2008 Dutch video, about an exhibition by artists Herbert Nouwens and Lies van der Sluis.
Like well-known Dutch sculptor, painter and author Jan Wolkers, Herbert Nouwens was born in Oegstgeest. Jan Wolkers was asked to make a World War II resistance monument in the Bos van Wyckerslooth woodland in Oegstgeest. Jan Wolkers did not want his sculpture in that woodland. So, Herbert Nouwens made the monument.
Over 44 sculptures by Herbert Nouwens are on show in Westeremden. Titles vary from grrrr to Appingedam (a town in the northern Netherlands). Some of the sculptures beautifully lighted in a former farm building. The bigger ones outside on the farmyard. There is a big difference in sizes between various works by Nouwens. Nevertheless, they mostly look somewhat similar. They reminded me a bit of Shinkichi Tajiri, who also often made big metal sculptures; though Nouwens is often more abstract than Tajiri (Tajiri advised Nouwens sometimes early in his career). The work reminded me also a bit of André Volten; though Volten used to work in stainless steel, and Nouwens in rusty iron. Nouwens’ work has also less “cubist” rectangular forms than Volten’s.
Near the entrance of the farmyard is the big sculpture, in rust coloured iron like most of Nouwens’ work, called Water. The gallery lady tells us that blackbirds had a nest in that sculpture; the chicks have fledged by now. The sculptor does not mind the blackbirds nesting there.
In a big tree opposite the sculpture is a big buzzard nest, where the chick has also fledged by now. House martins nest on the farm building. A pied wagtail sits on the roof. Barn swallows sit on leafless tree branches.
As I later had the opportunity to ask Herbert Nouwens some questions, stay tuned for my next sculpture blog.
The gallery in Westeremden wrote on the exhibition (translation from their Dutch):
Rusty steel sculptures on farmland
Date: Friday, June 29, 2012 5:11:16 p.m. 0200
On the Groninger Hoogeland, right in the agricultural scenery, stand and lie small to huge sculptures by artist Herbert Nouwens (1954).
Their rusty appearance, because they are made of oxidized steel, stands out on the landscape of growing and thriving crops and grazing cows.
On the Aylsumaheerd, a dairy and grain farm in Westeremden, there is since April 2011, an art gallery for contemporary expressions of art called “Op de Wind”.
Well, it is not easy to bring into this windy environment mostly tons of steel, but how stunning these sculptures are in this scenery.
Their spatial effect is perfect.
In the gallery stand, lie and hang the smaller works in complete balance with the somewhat rough-looking gallery space.
What power and desire for harmony emanates from this work.
Herbert Nouwens has lived and worked for several years in the old dairy in Slochteren.
He has produced some monumental sculptures commissioned by the government architectural department and has exhibited throughout the Netherlands his ‘Preludes’ ‘Express’ and others.
Indeed, he sometimes compares himself with composers, with writers of classical music.
For four seasons, the landscape photographer Hans Sas has been inspired by the big sculpture ‘Air’ by Nouwens, by now for almost a year on consignment on the yard of the Aylsumaheerd farm.
Art Gallery ‘In the Wind’ presents in its second gallery space a particularly fine series of photo impressions of ‘Air’ entitled ‘Sculpture on the Land.’
From 14 July / August 19 is the sculptures of Herbert Nouwens exhibition are on display in the gallery itself, on the farm, the arable land and in the farm buildings.
From 14 July / August 19 the series ‘Sculpture on the Land’ by Hans Sas is on display in the gallery.