Rosa Sijben

Zuidas, city of Amsterdam, Zuidasdok and Zuidplus

At one of the as yet ragged edges of Zuidas, near a construction site, sits a group of monochrome signs of various sizes, which will change color at regular intervals. Demo is not all that different from protest signs, outdoor advertising and temporary construction signs announcing new architecture. The unspoiled blank spaces offer a silent protest, the opportunity to test the waters of public space or the chance to project ideas on them. The signs stand out because they show nothing but a color. Sijben groups them together, thus creating a huge surface. During the summer the colors will change now and then, as a quest for possible symbolism, depending on context, timing and nuance. The question is whether everybody thinks pink is a ‘girly’ color, or why black usually is seen as having a depressing quality. On Valentine’s day red unmistakably represents love, but during election time it belongs to the socialists. The interpretation will differ from person to person, but systems can assign meaning collectively as well. And does it matter who slaps on the paint? It might be possible that not putting explicit announcements on the signs will develop into an artwork that challenges very specific collective associations.

Rosa Sijben proves herself a master at creating an oasis within the goal-oriented daily practice, a starting point for something new. The objects she makes are often an integral part of the project as a whole. For example, she once handed out small sculptures to the residents of an apartment building and had the public ring their doorbells in order to share their experiences with these objects. She travelled several times with a massive sculpture in the shape of – but weighing about the same as - hand luggage. In a so-called situational choreography in Berlin’s urban environment she used existing insignificant architectural elements in public space as sculptural sports equipment. In 2014 she created ‘Baustelle,’ an installation in which she grouped objects on a construction site without them having a direct practical use. At the same time she copied this installation in the art space of Kunstverein Düsseldorf. When the objects got in the way, the construction workers would move them, and their new arrangement was recreated in the exhibition space every week.


Beethovenstraat/corner Spoorslag, Amsterdam

Rosa Sijben (1988) studied fine arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. In her practice she uses sculptures, installations and performances. She makes you reconsider the nature of objects and actions’ social and aesthetic aspects. Her ‘situational choreographies’ explore the overlap between art and life, areas that make the subjectivity of actions visible. Her work has been shown at KW Berlin, Kunstverein Düsseldorf, SALT Istanbul, Showroom Mama Rotterdam, De Appel, Corridor, W139 and Museum Van Loon in Amsterdam, among others.

Zuidas, city of Amsterdam, Zuidasdok and Zuidplus

In the next few years thousands of homes and offices will be built in Zuidas. Furthermore, the large infrastructural project Zuidasdok will kick off next year: the widening and partial tunneling of highway A10 Zuid and the expansion of railway station Amsterdam Zuid. Zuidasdok is necessary in order to guarantee the area’s accessibility as it is increasingly getting more crowded. Between all the building activities Zuidas remains a place where people live, work and relax. We, department Zuidas of the City of Amsterdam, project organization Zuidasdok and construction consortium ZuidPlus feel it is important this should be hampered as little as possible. We also realize, however, that construction inevitably causes inconvenience. In order to keep Zuidas livable and attractive we have taken a number of measures. Participating in GET LOST – art route is one of these. The presence of art in public space boosts dynamics, and since the art work is open to everyone, we contribute to strengthening the connection between Zuidas residents, employees and visitors.