The temporary artwork Connector is part of the Community Art Project Reijmerstok and the result of 6 brainstorming and design sessions and 2 weeks of daily making sessions such as building, lugging, sawing, screwing and painting. The artwork is an ode to the volunteers, the true connectors.
Community art project
With a special and innovative art project, in the form of an active and creative cultural participation (community arts), residents and volunteers of Reijmerstok, under the guidance of artist Jonathan Wanders, are intensively involved in the creative process of developing, designing and manufacturing a temporary and permanent artwork in public space. A high-quality, recurring art biennial project as a visible, tangible and lasting social connection.
Together, the challenges in the social and community domain of the village of Reijmerstok and the event De Poorten van Reijmerstok are tackled by connecting through participation, hence the initiative of the art project with the main theme CONNECTING. We work together on something special and lasting for the community and region. In this way, a positive contribution is made to the mutual involvement of residents, as well as to the quality of life of the public space and Reijmerstok itself.
The main theme CONNECTING is represented by the Connector in several ways:
- Connecting people to the landscape: a cross-border physical and visual connection. The Connector enters into a dialogue with the environment, bridging the 'soft' boundary of the hedge with respect. The Connector indicates the importance and beauty of the landscape by literally framing it. Just as a church focuses on the sky, the artwork focuses on the landscape of Reijmerstok: a window on the world.
- Connecting with others: the Connector as a meeting place offers space for social interaction and is a first acquaintance with Reijmerstok for passers-by and visitors.
- Connecting with yourself: inside the Connector offers space for rest, contemplation and introspection, as a kind of sacred space. With a calm earth color matching the landscape.
- Connecting to and from Reijmerstok: the skin of the Connector communicates Reijmerstok's identity through various symbols. A universal, timeless visual language that everyone can understand.
- Connecting with the environment: the striking colorful monolotic and elemental shape serves as a landmark and point of recognition.
- Connecting during the development, design and creation process: community art.
The Connector's ambivalent character is also interesting: on the outside it is extroverted (screaming) and on the inside it is introverted (introspection). It's about seeing and being seen. This is perhaps symbolic of Reijmerstok's identity. During the event De Poorten van Reijmerstok there are more than 5000 visitors and many side activities. Before and after the event, the village with 600 inhabitants is a modest place without real landmarks and it mainly serves as a 'gateway' for surrounding larger centers such as Gulpen. As participant Joep put it: 'Reijmerstok: Great in modesty.'
The skin of the Connector communicates Reijmerstok's identity through various symbols. The symbols and their references are successively:
- Cow spots: the original farming life.
- Cheese: Huijnen Zuivelboerderij Mergelland, where various farmer's dairy products come from, such as farmer's cheese, traditional ice cream, yogurt, custard, buttermilk, rice pudding, etc.
- Pie: in the past almost all farms had their own bakery, 'het bakkes', where bread and pie was baked.
- Egg: Chicken farm Vrij & Blij on Reijmerstokkerdorpsstraat.
- Milk bus: the milk factory (1915-1971) along the Provincial road where Frans Lacroix Mechanisatie is now located.
- Apple and pear: Fruit company Wouters who also supplied the auction boxes for the Connector.
- Reijmerstok coat of arms: a stylized version of the coat of arms of the Van Reymerstock family, residents and owners of the Puthof. Various variants of this weapon can be seen in the logo of the Puthof and the Jonkheid Reijmerstok.
- Hammer and anvil: the forge that used to be present in every village. This is also the case in Reijmerstok and for many it is best known for its Disco-Dancing De Smid: for many years the leading concept when it comes to the nightlife of the (South) Limburg youth.
- Hop cone: the hop that grows in Reijmerstok thanks to hop grower Roger Wouters and is used to Brew Gulpener beer. The Gulpener Hop harvests are well known.
- Chestnut leaf: the beautiful, iconic chestnut tree in the Haagstraat.
- 2 stars: Hans van Wolde's new restaurant (March 2020) that holds no fewer than two Michelin stars.
- Pipe: sexton Lambert Sluijsmans was a striking resident who always told special stories in the village pub. However, he did not talk very clearly, so everyone was always bent over him intently.
- Winding road with gates: the typical long, winding Reijmerstokkerdorpsstraat through the village where the many gates are located, many of which can be visited during the event De Poorten van Reijmerstok.
- Francis Cross: In other words, the Tau cross (T-shape) is a 'recognition cross' for all who feel connected to Francis of Assisi. Francis used the Tau very often: on the wall in the house, on his letters, and as a blessing. A reference to the old and new Franciscus van Assisikerk, Fanfare St. Franciscus and the Franciscusgroep Cluster Terlinden.
Location: Public car park along Provincial road N598 and opposite eatery A Gen Ing. Address: Provincialeweg 1, Reijmerstok (NL). The artwork is publicly accessible.
Process: February to May 2022.
To be experienced temporarily: May 16 to June 6, 2022.
Material: 83 large auction boxes of 105x120x77 cm, wood (OSB plates, pallets, beams, planks, slats etc), metal connectors, paint (biobased acrylic latex) colours: fuchsia, real stone and jet black.
Dimensions: Width 5.3 m, length 7.3 m and height 4.2 m (parking) - 4.5 m (corn field).
Client: Organization De Poorten van Reijmerstok.
Financing: Bechtold Houtconstructiebouw, Jonathan Wanders, VSB fund, Prince Bernard Cultuurfonds, Municipality of Gulpen-Wittem, Province of Limburg, Stichting Kernoverleg Reijmerstok, Stichting Kanunnik Salden/Nieuwenhof, Kern met Pit.
Many thanks to all participants who attended the meetings and helped during the brainstorming, designing, drawing, painting, building and lugging: Carlo Ackermans, Jan Bechtold, Marco Boekensteijn, Renate Boekensteijn, Fon Broers, Jef Broers, Paul Broers, Guido Eijgelshoven, Rina Engelen, Guido Frijns, Jacqueline Gerrekens, Jean Gerrekens, Joep Hallegraeff, Robert Heusschen, John Houbiers, Lea Hutschemakers-Mingels, Hans Jacobs, Dominique de Jel, Suzanna Jeukens, Rob Jeukens, Felix Lacroix, Harrie Lacroix, Nicole Lacroix, Pierre Lacroix, Wiel Lacroix, Yolanda Pricken, John Roex, Berdie van Thillo, Coby Vis, Dirk Vis, Tim Vis, Hanny Wanders-Faarts, Frans Wouters en Roger Wouters.
Many thanks to the Huijnen family and Huijnen Zuivelboerderij Mergelland for making part of the maize field available, the Wouters family and Fruitbedrijf Wouters for making the auction boxes available, Gemeenschapshuis A Gen Ing for the use of the facilities, Bechtold Houtconstructiebouw for the use of materials and tools , Fanfare St. Franciscus for the use of material, B&B In de zevende Hemel and cafeteria A Gen Ing for the hospitality and the Municipality of Gulpen-Wittem for all cooperation.
Photos: Ralph Sluysmans.
© Jonathan Wanders