Bas Maters, The little boat (1994)
Where you find water and people, there are boats; boats as a means of transportation with which you can travel from A to B. In a pond in the Regenboogbuurt (Rainbow neighbourhood) of Almere Buiten, the Paarlemoervijver, this fact is given a completely different twist; literally and figuratively.
Artist Bas Maters placed a bright yellow boat in the water. He who wants to get into Het bootje (The little boat), however, will be disappointed. This little boat doesn’t float horizontally on the water, as is usually the case, but is positioned perpendicular to the water with its tip pointing into the air conceitedly.
Dissapear in a fantasy world
The boat, within the Western tradition a symbol for travel and change, takes an imaginary journey in the Paarlemoervijver. Is the little boat sailing from earth to heaven or is it diving into the water as a coot? What is beyond any doubt is that Bas Maters’ simple intervention has the passers-by momentarily drifting off into a fantasy world.
Since his studies at the Arnhem art academy, Bas Mater has focused on art for public spaces: Art that was sitting on the street unprotected; where everybody could see and touch it; Art in the space that is from all of us, on squares, in parks and along the highway.1 Since then, Maters remained attached to the department of Monumental design, which was a strong advocate of social engagement. Along with, amongst others, Wim Korvinus, Eugene Terwindt and Karin Daan, he belonged to what is sometimes referred to as the Arnhem School.2 These artists didn’t strive for bronze sculptures on plinths but for environmental art whereby the design was integrated into the public space.
Many Dutch municipalities possess an artwork by Bas Maters. An example is a sculpture in memory of the well-known Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens on the Ivensplein (Ivens square) in Nijmegen. Maters gained national recognition for his design for landscape park De Wetering (1986) at De Verbeelding art landscape nature in Zeewolde.3
1. In collaboration with Berend Hendriks and by commission of the Rijksdienst voor de IJsselmeerpolders (Government Service for the IJsselmeer polders), Wim Korvinus realised De kus (The Kiss), 1984, De Collectie Almere / Museum De Paviljoens.
2. Martin Pieterse, IN MEMORIAM BAS MATERS (1949 - 2006), arnhemaanzee.nl/Columns/060125m.html
25 January 2006.
3. see www.verbeelding.nl
Read the personal story of artambassador Esther Janssen about The Boat by Bas Maters.
Bas Maters 1949 - Arnhem † 2006
Het bootje (The little boat), 1994
various materials, 2.40 m x 1.50 m
commission 1994 Municipality of Almere
De Collectie Almere / Museum De Paviljoens
Location: Paarlemoervijver, Almere Buiten