About Gerard Groenewoud and Tilly Buij
Tilly Buij and Gerard Groenewoud have been working together as an artistic duo since 1988. Their work ranges from temporary units to permanent sculptures for the public space. Most of these are decorative representations of people, animals and everyday household implements, which are often depicted in an alien and associative manner. Groenewoud & Buij use a wide range of materials and techniques, with a clear preference for waste materials. This means they’re able to transform ordinary everyday objects into something unique and delightful. For example, they created a horse out of old inner tubes salvaged from lorries. From a distance, the rusty old rubber seemed to have changed into bronze plates. All the work is done by the viewers’ imagination, as it were. In their most recent projects, the artists literally got visitors to join in and help construct the art project.
As a duo, Groenewoud & Buij have been creating a wide range of projects and autonomous art works in the Netherlands and abroad ever since 1988. Their work can be viewed in art collections at institutions such as Instituut Collectie Nederland, Fries Museum, Rabobank Nederland, Hannema de Stuers Fundatie, Collectie Kantelberg and Twynstra Gudde. Nominations: Wilhelmina Ring: oeuvre prize for sculpture (2001) and Vormgevingsprijs Friesland Prize in the Spatial Design category (2002).
About the art work
Church (graveyard), Schaapweg 2, Westernieland
There is a small oval pavilion standing next to the church in Westernieland, which is constructed out of glass pots filled with water. These pots of water are in various shades of bright green and brown. They have been placed on bookshelves and form the walls of the pavilion. Visitors can enter the pavilion and read about the origin of the water and other details on the labels affixed to each pot.
The pavilion was constructed by Tilly Buij and Gerard Groenewoud and is called “Stille Wetters”. The water in the pots comes from a number of ditches, canals, lakes, pools, rivers and ponds as well as the sea, and was collected locally.
The artists devised this long-term art project for Leeuwarden as European Capital of Culture for 2018. It was inspired by the new Wetsus institute for sustainable water technology, which is part of the Water Campus in Leeuwarden. Since the academic library traditionally constitutes the focal point of a university campus as a source of collective knowledge as well as a place for inspiration and concentration, the artists thought up the ‘aquatic library’ as its equivalent for the Wetsus institute. This travelling version of the aquatic library has meanwhile collected water from all over the world. The artists’ aim is to fill the aquatic library completely with one thousand labelled pots by 2018, when Leeuwarden will be European Capital of Culture. The entire structure gives visitors a stunning picture of different kinds of water.
Members of the public can hand in bottles of water at the collection point by the church during the Kerstvloed 1717 Art Route as well. The village residents take great care of the aquatic library, and they will transfer all water contributed by the public to the pots provided and affix labels to these pots. This means that the province of Groningen will have an impressive aquatic library at the end of the Kerstvloed 1717 Art Route.
About the location
Once upon a time, the church was in the centre of this small town, until the 1717 flood destroyed half the village and the water levels came up to two meters inside the church. The village was rebuilt more eastward after the storm, so the church is now on the west side.