Hans van Houwelingen: Secret Path

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For the work Secret Path Along Which Death Escaped Hans Van Houwelingen asked people to donate their old tombstones. Of the more than two hundred recycled tombstones he received, he made a winding path of about 250 meters long around the Fort Vijfhuizen.

On the occasion of the work Hans van Houwelingen wrote the following in the publication 'Undone" (expected late October 2011):

"Death, that profound mystery and inexhaustible source of inspiration for life and for art, has become a commodity in a ruthless market economy. Being dead is expensive. So death usually does not last long. ‘Rest In Peace' is not to be taken too literally. Death is no longer one of life's certainties. What will it be like when death ceases to exist altogether? No death is certain.

What meaning is held in the moment death ceases to exist? It is in the light of thoughts such as these that I embarked on the laying of a secret secret path along which death escaped.

The ramparts that form the external defense of the nineteenth century Art Fort at Vijfhuizen now contains a path made up of hundred and tombstones from exhumed graves - tombstones have a longer life than death. Surviving relatives made the gravestones available for this purpose over the past two years. Each of them had given up their claim to a personal monument so that the stones could be recycled to create a single, large work of art - a work that calls attention not only to death but also to its absence. Countless individual life stories have been fused into the secret path as a way of giving death a tangible identity. The cemetery is equipped for processing private grief, but my intention was to create some room for death himself."