A Matter of Time. Thom Puckey and the Thorbecke monument

Special about Thom Puckey en het Thorbecke monument (in English with Dutch subtitles on Diplomat TV

10 June - 27 August 2017
Opening: Saturday 10 June at 17:00 hrs
by Jozias van Aartsen, former mayor of The Hague
Location: Stroom Den Haag, Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
Open: Wednesday - Sunday, 12- 17 hrs

Admission: free
>> Download exhibition guide (pdf)

Each age, each generation is filled with its own ideal, but it remains to be seen to which extent this ideal is recognised and realised..
- Johan Rudolph Thorbecke (1798-1872)

Earlier this year, the new monument for J.R. Thorbecke at The Hague's Lange Voorhout was by Mayor Van Aartsen. J.R. Thorbecke, one of the foremost architects of our parliamentary democracy, is shown seated in his 19th-century study, looking out into the 21st century. A second scene depicts a contemporary, informal team meeting. This intriguing work of art was made by Thom Puckey. It is not so much a classical statue as an image that invites further interpretation and evokes new questions. Or, to put it in Thorbecke's words, the statue encourages the viewer to ‘engage his or her powers of perception and intellectual capacities'.

The exhibition A Matter of Time. Thom Puckey and the Thorbecke monument presents a selection of works from Thom Puckey's oeuvre. It is intended to shed light on the imagery used in this striking new memorial and the connections between the Thorbecke monument and Puckey's other work.

A monument often says less about its subject than about the times in which it was made. J.R. Thorbecke is already honoured by two older statues: one in Amsterdam (1976), showing him as his role of statesman; and one in his home town of Zwolle (1992), which portrays him as a passionate parliamentarian.

In 2017, the City of The Hague wanted to present Thorbecke as architect of his times - someone who reads the different threads that run through our history and uses these insights to develop a perspective on political structures. A viewpoint that is based on knowledge and science rather than the issues of the day. In Thom Puckey's design, a 19th-century ideal and iconography are brought in contact with the 21st century - like a journey through time.

About the Thorbecke monument (2017)
The unveiling was the outcome of a 2008 draft initiative by The Hague's Municipal Executive, to add a worthy monument for Thorbecke to similar monuments already found in the city for Johan de Witt, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt and Willem Drees. The statesman lived in The Hague from 1849 until his death in 1872. Thanks to this proposal, the city can finally officially commemorate the politician who saw the structuring of the state as a work of art: "In the political arena, reformers can be compared to those who are explorers or inventors in the arts, science or industry." How do we actually shape this democratic heritage in our own times?
>> read more about the Thorbecke monument

About Thom Puckey (1948)
The Monument for J.R. Thorbecke contains various features that refer to early and more recent works by Thom Puckey. Transparency and optical elements can already be found in the artist's installations and sculpture from the 1980s, and in his black-and-white analogue photography and figurative work of recent years. Puckey's material of choice in his later sculpture is usually white marble. His fragmented, cinematic scenes centre on the process of viewing. The artist details his sculpture with such precision that its scientific, sensual or violent character is able to take viewers out of their comfort zone.
www.thompuckey.com

Eline Vere
Incidentally, one can find another Puckey statue in The Hague: an exalted image of the fictional character Eline Vere (2012), as part of the The Sculpture Gallery in the city centre.

Stroom Den Haag bears responsibility for art-related policy in The Hague's public space. We advised and supported the selection committee during the realisation of the Thorbecke monument..

The exhibition A Matter of Time. Thom Puckey and the Thorbecke monument is possible thanks to the support of  Gallery Annie Gentils, Museum Arnhem, Narcisse Tordoir, Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands), Mondriaan Fund and the City of The Hague.

      10 Jun '17 - 27 Aug '17
      Stroom Den Haag, Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
      Entrance: free
Thom Puckey, 'Treachery', 2013 (detail)
photo: © Thom Puckey
photo: design: Karen Polder
Thom Puckey, 'Treachery', 2013
photo: Gerrit Schreurs, courtesy Stroom Den Haag
Thom Puckey, 'True Light', 1987-88
photo: Victor Nieuwenhuis and Thom Puckey. Courtesy Gallery Annie Gentils, Antwerp
Thom Puckey, 'True Light', 1987-88 (detail)
photo: © Thom Puckey
Exhibition survey at Stroom, 2017
photo: © Thom Puckey
Thom Puckey, 'Pride is Pride, Doubt is the Fall', 1985 (collection Rijksdienst voor Cultureel erfgoed Nederland)
photo: Gerrit Schreurs, courtesy Stroom Den Haag
Thom Puckey, 'Thorbecke monument', 2017
photo: Sander Foederer, courtesy Stroom Den Haag
Thom Puckey, 'Thorbecke monument', 2017 (detail)
photo: Sander Foederer, courtesy Stroom Den Haag
Thom Puckey, 'Thorbecke monument', 2017
photo: Sander Foederer, courtesy Stroom Den Haag
Thom Puckey, 'Eline Vere', 2012
photo: Sander Foederer, courtesy Stroom Den Haag
A Matter of Time. Thom Puckey and the Thorbecke monument
photo: design: Karen Polder