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16 April 2012

Sarkis in the Submarine Wharf

Summer is not too far away and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Port of Rotterdam Authority are making preparations for a new exhibition in the Submarine Wharf. This year, they have invited the Turkish-Armenian artist Sarkis to produce an installation in the Rotterdam Harbour, specially tailored for the Submarine Wharf.

Sarkis at the Submarine Wharf. Photo: Tot en met ontwerpen
Sarkis at the Submarine Wharf. Photo: Tot en met ontwerpen

Sarkis (1938) was born in Istanbul, the son of an Armenian family; he currently lives in Paris. He combines his background with the principles of Western minimal and conceptual art. Since the ‘seventies, he has made installations throughout the world. He transforms space using a wide range of materials, such as neon letters, video, light and music. His oeuvre includes many installations in which he integrates art works from the museum with his own work. He was a guest of the museum in 2008 and created an installation around the sculptures of Schoufour-Martin. In 2010 he was invited to stage a solo exhibition by the Centre Pompidou Each time he delves into the origins and soul of the work of other artists and the space in which these are presented: “What interests me is how I can initiate a conversation with surroundings that are steeped in history, and how our two histories - my own and that of the surroundings - will come together in one image.”
Inspired by the 17th century church interiors of the Dutch painter Pieter Saenredam, Sarkis transforms the Submarine Wharf - which offers nearly 5000 m2 of space - into a sacral place. The size of the wharf, the sounds of a bell and the colours of a sunrise reinforce the ambiance of devotion. The composition ‘Litany for the Whale’ by John Cage, which can be heard permanently in the exhibition, recalls the history and former use of the wharf, where submarines were once built. You can stroll through the two large halls in the wharf, or you can take a bike - decorated with white down feathers - and investigate the installation that way.
This exhibition, entitled ‘Ballads’, can be seen from 2 June to 30 September in the Submarine Wharf on the RDM grounds in Rotterdam.

Click here for more information about the exhibition and the activities that the museum is organising around ‘Ballads’.

View videos of previous exhibitions in the Submarine Wharf on Arttube:

Elmgreen & Dragset (2011)

Atelier van Lieshout (2010)