At first glance, a little forest seems to have wildly grown between two amateur football fields of the ASV Arsenal in the south of Amsterdam. Upon closer inspection, however, one notices that the trees are artificial, and situated in the middle of this stand of artificial trees is a concrete model (116 x 96 x 30 cm, 300 kg) of a football stadium.

Stadium/Stadion adds a superfluous16 m2 to one of the football fields of the ASV Arsenal. It’s off-kilter placement juts out at a strange angle into the adjoining sports area, so although it is surrounded by the same fence and covered in the same artificial turf, the new area is clearly out of place in the rigid spatial concept of the sports grounds. This odd integration continues further: within the “neatly-mowed” artificial turf it appears there is a small forest growing, hemmed in by fencing on three sides. It needs a second, closer look to realize that the trees are as artificial as the grass. Both the deformation of spatial alignment and the seemingly wild growing forest, confuse the conception of a modern sport field, which makes the final element of the installation even stranger: once close enough, inside the surrounds of the forest, the viewer sees a miniature football stadium, poured in concrete.

Evoking a memorial, the uncanny positioning of the forest to the stadium seems to reference a particular situation from another time or place. The viewer could just as easily speculate however, that perhaps instead, this is simply a maquette, a model representing the plans, dreams, and future vision of a local, amateur football-club. On a meta and psychological level, the works relationship to the amateur football player further hints at a subconscious aspirational narrative, of a wasted talent and the high-flying dreams of becoming a professional, international player. The surrealistic scene allows the viewer to speculate and wonder as to the installation’s intended meaning, as well as its origin. 

Stadium/Stadion is a permanent installation produced in 2011 for “Terreinwinst,” Amsterdam, in collaboration with SKOR (Foundation for Art in the Public Space) and the ASV Arsenal.


photography: Helmut Dick


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