Friday 31 March 2023

Water artwork not interactive, Utrecht council warns (13 times)

One warning sign has already been placed. Photo: Harke Pas

People who cannot tell their art from their elbow only have themselves to blame, artist Karin Daan has said, but Utrecht local council is putting up 13 warning signs around her deceptive water feature which keeps attracting pedestrians, the AD reported.

The artwork in question, called Het Verzonken Schip (the sunken ship), consists of a body of water, which is occasionally covered in a type of duckweed that turns orangy in winter and green in summer.

Last week, a man who mistook the plants for gravel and wanted to make a quick crossing to the other side of the road came a cropper and had to be rescued by office workers from a nearby firm. He was not the only casualty; earlier two more people had to be fished out of the icy cold water.

Artist Karin Daan is not sorry for the hapless victims. ‘They can use their eyes, can’t they?,’ she told the paper. She is less than pleased about the council’s intention to put up not one but 13 warning signs, more so because the work has been in place at Euclideslaan 1 since 1993 without any major mishaps.

‘I feel like a mother towards my works, I need to protect them, the 78-year-old said. ‘I thought I need to go there and see for myself. The fact that people think this is gravel, or grass, seems just ridiculous to me. It’s their own stupid fault if they think they can walk on it,’ she said.

Apart from warning signs, the council is contemplating fitting the work with fountains. The office worker rescuers said they think a fence would be a better idea. ‘I think it’s crazy,’ Daan said. ‘It reminds me of France: a drunk driver crashes into a tree and they remove the tree. Better get rid of the work altogether because this makes a mockery of it.’

The duckweed has since been hoovered out of the water but according to plant experts chances are that it will return in full force in summer.

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