Tom Claassen (1964)

The artist offered this work to the museum in 2000 because he thought it would fit into the woods beautifully, provided that there were no bushes. The eighteen wooden men appear to have been simply made from six straight pieces of poplar: one for the head and one for the chest and two each for the arms and legs. The sculptures are heavy and impressive (the largest is approx. 3 metres long), but their inflexibility seems to render them helpless. This will be reinforced as they slowly ‘return to nature’ from where they are standing: the timber is already peeling and rotting. Claassen himself calls this the ‘(im)perishability’ of the sculpture.

The wooden men lie among the leaves under the oak trees. There are indeed no bushes. In fact nothing at all grows under the trees. Mosses, moulds and toadstools will ensure that the men slowly rot away. It looks like a battlefield… A lane nearby (where John Rädecker’s “Antlers” is displayed) used to be part of the funeral route. The deceased from Deelen were brought along this lane to their final resting place in Otterlo. The decay process of the past years is already quite visible. In the autumn, stinkhorn fungi grow here.

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Tom Claassen (1964)