Sculpture garden

A stroll through the 25-hectare large sculpture garden is a real discovery tour. A unique collection of sculptures by artists including Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Richard Serra and Jean Dubuffet can be found dotted around the garden, sometimes in unexpected places. Also adorning the garden are two pavilions by Aldo van Eyck and Gerrit Rietveld; architectural gems dating from the 1960s that were rebuilt and given a new home here. The sculpture garden is open all year round and exudes a different ambience with every season. 
Click here for a map of the sculpture garden

A selection of acquisitions, on view in the sculpture garden:

Sculpture garden

Replacement Piece by Ger van Elk

The museum acquired an early work by this artist, which has a permanent place in the concrete path in front of the museum. It concerns Replacement Piece, the idea and first version of which date from 1969. The work consists of the removal of one square metre of ground and its replacement with a photograph of the removed section. In 1969 Van Elk replaced a piece of asphalt from the road in front of the Kunsthalle in Bern with a photograph on a hard sheet. He did this as part of the legendary exhibition Live in your head: When Attitudes become Form, organized by Harold Szeemann. The first work was soon lost due to the effects of weather and traffic. This second durable version from 2011 consists of the removal of one square metre from the concrete entry path to the Kröller-Müller Museum and its replacement with a digital reproduction. The photograph is mounted on a stainless steel frame and provided with an anti-slip coating. Van Elk’s work is about image and imagination. With his artistic interventions he tries to stay as close as possible to reality, in order to make us aware of how we look at things. He calls his Replacement Piece a form of ‘super-realism’.
Replacement Piece by Ger van Elk

Melancholia by Armando

As a painter, draftsman, sculptor, poet and author, Armando (1929) is now one of the most prominent Dutch post-war artists. His entire body of work is permeated with a historical sense of guilt. This has produced a wealth of themes and methods of execution, which the artist continues to work on today, partly in Amstelveen and partly in Potsdam. His work is very well represented in the collection, thanks to gifts and loans from his ex-wife and the artist himself and through the museum’s own acquisitions.
In 2011, with the support of the BankGiro Lottery, the Kröller-Müller Museum has purchased a monumental bronze sculpture by Armando for its sculpture garden, namely Melancholia from 2006, which measures 207 x 155 x 70 cm. It is the second copy in an edition of three, and the second sculpture by Armando in the sculpture garden: the museum previously purchased Die schwarze Schale from 1989, which was given a permanent place in the Aldo van Eyck sculpture pavilion. As with Die schwarze Schale, Melancholia also stands on a tall pedestal in a neutral colour. Armando: ‘I don’t like short pedestals. I want a piece to stand as high as possible on its pedestal. People should look up to it.’

Photo: Marjon Gemmeke
Melancholia by Armando

The Hub by Rob Sweere

In 2008, the Kröller-Müller Museum commissioned Sweere (1963) to create this sculpture, which was specially designed for the sculpture garden. Measuring 320 x 170 x 220 cm, the artwork is made of aluminium and polyurethane, finished with polished and waxed DD varnish. A technical tree expert hung the work from six trees using steel cables.

The Hub’s conspicuous colour alone is enough to attract the visitor’s attention. Moreover, if you decide to enter the work and lie down on the grid you will find it offers a calming, meditation-inducing experience. While gently swaying to and fro, you can look at the sky that is framed by the treetops from which The Hub is suspended. At this moment inside The Hub you are at the centre of a temporary universe and with some degree of imagination you can fancy yourself drifting in the air or upon the ocean. Rob Sweere: “A ‘hub’ is the centre, the middle point of all sorts of movement. But the ‘hub’ itself does not in fact move, it is a place for silence and that which enters may be transformed and leave as another movement”.

The Hub fits within the museum’s policy to have nature, which is so abundantly and extravagantly present around the museum and a source of inspiration for the collection, penetrate into the perception of visitors from ever-changing angles. You may take in The Hub in many different ways, ranging from a purely aesthetic to a therapeutic experience.

Rob Sweere creates works and performances centred round the physical experience of the infinity of space and time. He is particularly well-known for his Silent Sky Project, which involves him taking pictures of people lying on their backs and looking at the sky for certain lengths of time. Since 2004, Sweere has made almost 40 projects under this title worldwide (see www.robsweere.nl). He creates situations where every individual is conscious of being a ‘hub’: a motionless and never-changing middle point.

Text: Evert J. van Straaten
Photo: Marjon Gemmeke

The Hub by Rob Sweere