A big outdoor artwork has been added to the newly renovated campus Woudestein of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The festive unveiling of 'Der Stein des Weisen' by Kathrin Schlegel will take place on Monday 3 September, the day of the Opening Academic Year 2018-2019.
'Der Stein des Weisen' will be unveiled by the President of the EUR, Kristel Baele, in the presence of the artist. The artwork was commissioned by the Erasmus University Rotterdam and was made possible by the Mondriaan Fund. During the unveiling event a publication in which the process of realizing the work of art is being explored, also will be presented. In connection to the art work, the Erasmus Gallery shows an installation by artist Kathrin Schlegel. On 19 October 2018, TAAK and the Erasmus University will also organise a symposium about the inclusion of historical heritage in contemporary art.
Old and new
The contemporary artwork is situated in Park Noord on campus Woudestein. It consists of the historic pedestal that carried Hendrick de Keyser’s statue of Erasmus for centuries. The pedestal is accompanied by a monumental stainless-steel sculpture that resembles a thought or speech bubble. The highly polished surface of the bubble reflects the spectator and the surroundings. The ensemble invites the beholder to follow in Erasmus’ footsteps, contemplate the philosopher’s thoughts and re-examine his legacy.
Pedestal statue of Erasmus
The pedestal is one of the two oldest pedestals in the Netherlands and used to serve as base for the Erasmus statue from 1622. The statue and pedestal were separated after almost 300 years. The old pedestal stood for years on the schoolyard of Erasmus Gymnasium and almost seemed to be forgotten, but it is reactivated within this artwork.
‘Eggs of Petri’
The monumental sculpture that serves as a landmark for the pedestal, refers in its form to the environmental artwork of Hans Petri from 1969, called 'The Eggs of Petri' by the campus inhabitants. Petri created the round shapes at the time as a contrast and as silent protest against the rectilinear, angular geometry of the modern buildings. On the other hand, the monumental speech/thought cloud blends with the campus environment through the reflective material.
The title Der Stein des Weisen literally refers to ‘the stone of the wise scientist’, but also to the legendary
alchemical element that could transform base metals into precious metals, lapis philosophorum. The search for this impossible element traditionally symbolizes the human desire for material wealth, but also for knowledge and enlightenment.
Art Collection EUR
The new 'Der Stein des Weisen' is part of the art collection of Erasmus University, which includes a tile tableau by Karel Appel and a large collection of graphics. From the early developments of the University on Woudestein, the EUR aims to create a special environment. Since the beginning art plays an important role. That is visible in the level and the wide variety of works of art that can be seen in the buildings and the outdoor areas of the University. The university is celebrating its 105th anniversary this year, with the theme Science Meets City.