It’s 11 a.m. The artist and several other people are waiting patiently for the security guard outside a locked Erasmus Gallery. Inside, you can get glimpses of what seems to be an artist’s studio. Wooden tables, tubs of paint and lots of sketches lying around.
It’s Monday morning, the first day of a ten day initiative which sees students and staff getting their hands dirty painting ceramic tiles for a new decorative project. The work will be carried out in the Erasmus Gallery under the supervision of the artist himself until 17 February. The finished artwork, a mural measuring 3 by 15 metres, will be exhibited in the new library which is due to open at the end of May.
Huge wall piece by students
“As you can see, I work a lot with repetitions”, says Marijn van Kreij, the Amsterdam-based artist who won the competition to create the new library art project. Most of Marijn’s works are indeed huge murals that rely on the repetition of patterns and the mural destined to decorate the new library building is no different. “For this art project, I suggested that students and staff should contribute to the creation of the mural. It was a long-standing ambition of mine to work with people on art pieces, so now I finally have the chance”, Marijn continues.
As the first students start to enter the room, Marijn shows them the pattern they will have to recreate on the blank tiles. “What I love is that every tile will be different. Even if the design is the same, the brushstrokes will always differ”, the artist adds.
‘A sense of ownership’
Master student Neil Rens (22) was passing by when he saw what was going on inside the Gallery turned studio. “I was just walking along the corridor when the movement inside the Gallery caught my eye. I thought it was interesting”, says the American student. “I have a class later and this seems a great way to pass the time.” Neil loved the concept of collaborating on the library mural: “It’s an awesome concept. It gives students a sense of ownership of the building.”
‘It’s an honour’
Despite the very little traffic outside and inside the gallery, a few new students have stopped by to leave their mark. One of them is Health Economics student Luka de Zeeuw (21). For Luka, the idea of contributing to the artwork is a great honour. “When Marijn stopped us in the C hall to tell us about this initiative, I thought: why not? Contributing is such an honour.” Whilst putting the finishing touch to her tile, Luka says she would definitely bring her friends to try out this experience too.
The final mural piece will be composed of around 1000 hand-painted tiles. Students and staff will only be able to see their very own tiles at the end of May when the new library building is finally opened to the public. Would you like to contribute to the mural? The temporary studio in the Erasmus Gallery is open every day until 17 February.