Read more

Paul de Kort, PIER+HORIZON (2016). Foto: Paul de Kort
Paul de Kort, PIER+HORIZON (2016). Foto: Paul de Kort

The Flevoland Land Art Collection is expanded with a seventh landscape artwork: Pier+Horizon by Paul de Kort. The artwork is situated in the Zwarte Meer, the lake that separates the Noordoostpolder from the land at Overijssel, a wide landscape with an always-present horizon.

Over a century before the Noordoostpolder was drained, a 6-km-long dam, the 'Zuiderkrib', connected the shore at Overijssel with a lighthouse keeper's house in the middle of the Zuiderzee. The former lighthouse keeper's house 'Oud Kraggenburg', now a national monument, is presently situated on a mound amidst the fields of the Noordoostpolder. A perfectly straight and almost one kilometer long concrete road connects the Zwartemeerweg with the Zwartemeerdijk and reminds us of the line of the former Zuiderkrib. The stone breakwater itself has largely disappeared under the waves of the Zwarte Meer, but in calm weather, we can see part of the Zuiderkrib surfacing in the Zwarte Meer a few hundred meters further down the concrete road.

For the construction of the foundations of the Zuiderkrib and the lighthouse keeper's house, which occurred in the middle of the 19th century, the use of traditional willow sinking mats was abandoned in favor of so-called kraggen. Kraggen are clusters of grown-together aquatic plants, especially reeds, that float like islands on the water. Kraggen are quite common in the peat bogs of north Overijssel. These kraggen were cut into long strips and dragged to the Zuiderzee to be weighted with rubble and sunk down.

With Pier+Horizon, Paul de Kort aims to bring the former Zuiderkrib to the surface again. He does this by placing a 135 meter-long decking jetty at the end of the concrete path in the Zwartemeer. In an area with a diameter of more than 250 meters around the extreme tip of the pier, 36 posts are placed in a strict pattern. 15 kraggen, each measuring 20 by 2 meters and planted with reeds, float on the water. Each krag is anchored on its short side to one of the posts and can, driven by wind and currents, freely rotate around the anchoring point.

During the walk over the straight concrete road from the Zwartemeerweg, the Zwartemeerdijk blocks the view of the Zwarte Meer until the very last moment, but once one arrives on top of the dike, the endless expanse of the Zwarte Meer fully reveals itself. At the foot of the dike, the straight line of the pier extends far into the Zwarte Meer. The field of poles and kraggen stretches as far as the eye can see. During a long walk on the Zwartemeerdijk from the Kadoelersluis, the artwork is already visible from afar and gradually reveals itself as the walk progresses. The remote location and effort required to reach the artwork add to the experience, which reaches its height when one is standing alone on the farthermost tip of the narrow, long pier, in the wide expanse of the Zwarte Meer, surrounded by a field of poles and kraggen.

Every morning, from the Zwartemeerdijk, a webcam takes a picture of the very moment the sun in the east lines up exactly with the pier and the camera. Over the year, this will create a picture sequence in which the seasons can be seen slowly gliding into each other. Meanwhile, the kraggen sway restlessly around their anchor points, driven by the ever-changing wind, the sunlight twinkles on the waves around the pier, the weather changes from overcast to sunny or hazy, a hard southwestern or chilly eastern wind force the kraggen into a strict line or a fierce rain thrashes the waters of the Zwarte Meer. The sun climbs in a straight line slowly to its highest point on June 21, then descends along that same line to disappear behind the horizon around the end of October; a year in a day.

See www.pierplushorizon.nl for the photo's

Text: Paul de Kort Translation: Michael Meert