Kustpijn Paardenkracht / Coastpain Horsepower

2018 In this performance I pulled a 75 kg sculpture of a life-size draught horse out of the sea. I shifted roles by trying to take the horse on my back. An attempt to make the object or horse alive. But a humanbeing is not strong enough to carry a horse, so it became pulling a dead horse (or in correct English: flog a dead horse). A homage to the horse. A performance on the human vulnerability versus the horsepower and about the tradition and identity of the southern Dutch province Zeeland. Where they used the draught horses to work the land and to fish for shrimps at sea. My grandparents from mothers-side come from families in Zeeland who worked with such draught horses.

As you can see on the image of this work, I made five iron sculptures of horse heads which are attached on the wooden poles in the sea. These poles are the so called ‘pole head’ (paalhoofd) which is typical for the coast of Walcheren the biggest island of the province Zeeland. It protects the beach against the sea so that the sand does not wash away. I gave the ‘pole head’ the heads of horses for extra strength to protect the coast of Zeeland against the power of the sea.

I sculpted the life-size draught horse out of styrofoam, reinforced with wood and canvas and I made moving joints so it could move like a real horse. I made the knitted skin with the help of a group of elderly ladies in the North of Amsterdam. For the other life-size draught horse in the parallel exhibition of this project I made the knitted skin with a group of elderly ladies from Middelburg and we worked in the craftsmanship-workshop of het Zeeuws Museum. It was a social project in which I met with both groups once a week to knit and crochet, during the 5 months in advance of the show. I loved those meetings with this other generation, in which we exchanged stories, techniques, warmth and jokes.