Good-bye to statue Hans Petri
‘Petri’s Eggs’, as the environment art work by Hans Petri (1919-1996) is affectionately dubbed on Woudestein campus, is beyond rescue. Part of the new campus developments is a wider entrance road on Burgemeester Oudlaan. This means the statue cannot remain in its present location.
Having examined the technical construction of The Eggs, the department of Art Affairs has regretfully had to conclude that the art work would not survive being relocated. For the present, Hans Petri’s widow has granted her oral permission, as she is of the opinion that environment art was never intended to last forever.
The Eggs serve as a figurehead for Erasmus University Rotterdam. Ever since they were installed in 1969, they have contributed to the university’s image. As a visual icon, they have been used frequently by the press and in brochures. ‘The statue group is a bold work of art which adds poetry to its environment, without contrasting with it overly. Its art historical importance lies in the fact that it fits in with the tradition of environment design that arose in the Netherlands in the seventies’ (S. Smets, Kunst op campus Woudestein 2010-2013, MMK).
EUR and its alumni and staff are attached to the statue group. For this reason, serious thought was given to the idea of making a replica of the art work, as a much appreciated part of the new campus. Because of the specific composition of the art work in its present surroundings, the artist’s widow has understandably rejected this idea.
EUR shall preserve the work for future generations by means of an AutoCAD file and a commissioned photograph. In February, Petri's Eggs will disappear for good. That same month, an exhibition on Petri’s work will be on in the Erasmus Gallery. Erasmus Cultuur will organize a photography contest for students in January, the best pictures of which will be shown in the exhibition.