For this commission, the city artists were selected by a jury consisting of the Rotterdam writer, art lover and collector Hugo Borst, the artist Hedy Tjin, Ove Lucas (CBK Rotterdam), Jantje Steenhuis and Wanda Waanders of the Rotterdam City Archives, and David Snels (Kunsthal curator). After the exhibition, the drawings will be included in the City Archives collection and become part of the Rotterdam Collection.
Kazuma Eekman (1989) has taken his personal search for a place to work as the point of departure for his work. In his detailed paintings in acrylics, he has captured the facades of artists’ studios. The artists who work there are on the verge of being thrown out of their studios, something Eekman has experienced himself. In a series of silk screen prints, he also documented the disappearing facades of prominent Rotterdam buildings. For these he used the colours of banknotes, referring to the idea that homes are simply commodities to trade in.
In her capacity as city artist, Maria Fraaije (1992) cycled to the former Tweebos neighbourhood in South Rotterdam. In this location, amidst the turmoil of piles and excavators, she met Mrs Pinas, who only just witnessed the demolition of her former home. During their conversation, Fraaije realized that gentrification is not about bricks, but about people. Using the conversations she had with neighbourhood residents as her point of departure, Fraaije created refined, colourful drawings. These show the memories of former residents of the Tweebos neighbourhood as well as the social consequences of gentrification.
‘Gentrification has a temper, a taste,’ says the city artist Marcel Herkelman (1988). His drawings mainly relate to the emotional consequences of this phenomenon and to memories of demolished areas. In his work, Herkelman criticizes the municipality’s role in all this. He believes that it is pursuing an ideal image that is completely out of sync with that of the city’s inhabitants. His drawings, that are accompanied by short texts, draw the spectator into his personal perception.
ROTTERDAMSE CITY ARTISTS
Even before the bombing of 14 May 1940, but especially during the post-war reconstruction period, artists captured the changes in the city. Until the late 1980s, the Rotterdam City Archives annually commissioned artists to make drawings of the city. Because the city was changing so rapidly, Rotterdam formed an ideal source of inspiration. In 2018 this old tradition was reinstated in collaboration with CBK Rotterdam and since then city artist are again adding to the collection of the Rotterdam City Archives.