Dear people of Middelburg,
My name is Arvo Leo. I am an artist from Canada currently living in Amsterdam, working as an artist in residence at Artis Zoo for one year. I would like to invite you to participate in a new project called Skeleton of a Floating Frog, by allowing me to display an artwork in one of your windows for a few months.
I was recently invited by Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art to develop a project as part of their Rooms of Now program, for which they invite an artist to install their work in a home in Middleburg for three months. For my project I decided early on that I wanted to veer away from producing a single piece that existed inside one private home, and instead make a project that interconnects as many homes as possible.
My aim for Skeleton of a Floating Frog is to make a community of gestures that exist throughout the city of Middelburg, in windows, facing the outdoors. These works on paper will be an eclectic mix of sketches, doodles and painting experiments that will live inside these transparent zones, absorbing sunlight and quietly observing the changing of the seasons.
While it is obvious that we benefit from walls (for safety, warmth, privacy etc.) these walls also create borders and divisions – between humans, between humans and other beings, and between humans and other natural forces. I remember a quote from Angela Davis where she says, “walls turned sideways are bridges”. I also remember a famous scene in a Buster Keaton film, where the entire side of a building falls away from the structure, down onto a human standing below. Yet the human is not hurt because the part of the wall that lands on him is an empty window. I like the image of many facades around the city falling down, lowering, opening themselves up. I like the image of your facade falling down, the skeleton of your home dislocating in irregular movement.
And after your facade has fallen and is lying face down in the soil or the street, we can imagine that the weather turns bad and it begins to rain. The windows of this horizontal wall start to fill up with rainwater and create little square & rectangular ponds. It is at this moment that lily pads would be happy to grow on the surface of these window ponds, which would then invite the arrival of frogs. Once the lily pads and frogs have settled into this new window life, we can raise your facade back up and let it be a standing wall again. You will now be living with a vertical pond inside your home, where the bridge and the water will be entangled in some kind of window spooning.
I would like to invite you to be part of my project by allowing me to turn your window into a pond and allowing me to display a lily pad there for a few months, facing outwards so others can experience it.
If you would like to participate, you simply need to get in touch with Vleeshal via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0118-652200 and provide them with the inside dimensions of your windowpane (together with a photo of your window if possible). Once I know the dimensions of your window pond, I will make a work for it in my studio at the zoo, which will eventually be sent south and installed in your home professionally by a Vleeshal employee wearing a face mask.
I hope you will be interested to be part of Skeleton of a Floating Frog,
Rooms of Now is a project series in which an (inter)national artist is invited to create an artistic intervention in people's homes, in Middelburg. The title is borrowed from a photography project from the artist Maurice van Es, who realised the first edition of Rooms of Now. The series took place from 2019-2022.
Rooms of Now is the follow up of the public program So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood.
In 2015 Vleeshal kicked of its Nomadic Program, as an extension of its existing exhibition program in Middelburg. In its Nomadic Program Vleeshal goes on tour, organising exhibitions and other events in collaboration with venues in the Netherlands and abroad, such as Art Rotterdam, Amsterdam Art Weekend, the Spring Performance Festival, WIELS Art Book Fair, Brussels and Poppositions, Brussels.