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A Volo d’Uccello (A bird’s-eye view)

Marinus Boezem

Solo exhibition

17 September – 24 October 2010
Vleeshal (Map)

Curator: Lorenzo Benedetti

Marinus Boezem, 2010
Installation image
Leo van Kampen photography | A Volo d’Uccello (A bird’s-eye view) | Marinus Boezem

Nearly ten years since last working with Marinus Boezem, De Vleeshal now presents a new project by the same artist. Entitled A Volo d’Uccello (A bird’s-eye view), it is divided into three parts: an edition, an exhibition in Vleeshal Markt and a multimedia installation. The three sections of the work include typical themes of Boezem’s such as flight and cathedrals, and blend the poetry of St Francis of Assisi with contemporary art.

Boezem’s work often creates links between architecture and nature, history and geography, time and space: dichotomies whose solution is sought in synthesis between symbol and object. Recurring elements in his work are the ground plans of cathedrals as geometric designs in combination with natural elements. One well-known example is De groene kathedraal (‘The green cathedral’, 1987) in the Dutch city of Almere, showing the ground plan of the Notre Dame cathedral in Reims in the form of poplars (Populus nigra italica).

For A Volo d’Uccello (A bird’s-eye view) the artist has reproduced the ground plan of the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi in birdseed. In the space of a few weeks it will be eaten by birds, so that the architecture will, so to speak, be carried off towards the light. As in Almere, the work symbolises humanity’s search for spirituality. Just as the soaring trees are natural counterparts to the vertical dynamics of Gothic architecture, A Volo d’Uccello (A bird’s-eye view) is a reference to St Francis of Assisi’s ideas, with birds as a link between heaven and earth. The perfect Gothic geometry corresponds to the cycles of nature and the aerial dynamics of birds.

Boezem uses cathedrals as metaphors for the mathematical and engineering perfection of architecture, as well as the mysteriousness of the modus operandi applied in the design of such buildings. The dialogue with nature shows that perfection is an intrinsic part of the natural world. This combination of Gothic geometry with the more irregular flow of nature is the leitmotiv in many of the artist’s projects.

The three parts of the project represent three different ways of viewing it. The edition. The work in the public/private space is located on the roof of the artist’s studio and can best be appreciated by the public via a webcam that will broadcast the various stages of the process live. The third and final stage is an exhibition that again presents the work on the roof of Boezem’s studio, only this time in De Vleeshal. The exhibition will revolve around the creation of the shape of the basilica and its destruction by birds: a theme to which the artist has returned more than once over the past thirty years within this Gothic space.


17.09.2010, 3 p.m., Damplein, Middelburg
Ceremonial placement of a work of art by Francesco Arena (It) in the floor of the Podio del Mondo per l’Arte by Marinus Boezem. With a performance by the artist.


23.10.2010, 4 p.m., Burgerzaal (above De Vleeshal)
Marinus Boezem in conversation with Jan Hoet.