Waterwork VI, Resonance, no. 319, 2011. Reinforced concrete, 800 cm. high.

Ruud Kuijer: Collage and Casting

At first sight, Ruud Kuijer’s “Waterworks,” seven monumental cast concrete constructions installed along the Amsterdam-Rhine canal, are a surprise. The enormous, pale “towers” seem unlikely in this nondescript, industrial area near the entrance to Utrecht harbor. The structures measure out the space between an arched railroad bridge and a cluster of utilitarian buildings near the multicolored stacks of a container port. A row of trees, on the opposite side of the canal, restates the sculptures’ tall, linear presence in the language of a 17th-century Dutch landscape. Barges loaded with freight and containers pass regularly, along with sleek luxury cruise barges, in a constantly changing panorama. The light-responsive, refined surfaces of the “Waterworks” change according to the angle from which they are seen. Sunshine reveals nuances of texture and “drawing,” enhancing the sculptures’ complexity and contradictory delicacy. Contre-jour, they become bold silhouettes, dramatic against their workaday background. For all the unexpectedness of the “Waterworks,” what is most striking is the seamless relationship of the ensemble to its harsh, open setting. Kuijer speaks the language of the structures already present in this industrial zone. …see the entire article in the print version of December’s Sculpture magazine.