For more than 25 years the artist duo Liet Heringa and Maarten van Kalsbeek have been known for their three-dimensional works of art. Nature and its typical aspects of growth and decline are an important point of departure. The couple shows that static, visual art can look like a living natural phenomenon. This week in MASTERS GALLERY.

Text: Larissa Schaule Jullens
Image: Tommy de Lange


Our images often look like exotic plants with exuberant flowers. But take one step forward and you find a skin that shines, ripples, bubbles and is anything but natural. The wild, sloshing colours are not even to be found in the heart of the Amazon. In our Amsterdam studio we go further than conventional sculpting. The sculptures are spatial paintings. The construction is shown in a transparent way: everything is open and bare in sight. What you see is what you get. But then again, not. Because the amount of baroque details and the accumulation of visual surprises do not allow for a complete unveiling of the mystery. And so you keep looking.


The experimental use of materials and the plasticity of our expressive sculptures were the reason for a commission from the TextielMuseum. One of the most common applications of textile is as clothing and body decoration. Fabric and figure belong together in a natural way. Textiles also play a central, symbolic role in rites of passage such as birth, marriage and death. We looked closely at the colourfully dressed actors of the Peking opera and costumes from India. Closer to home, we thought of the representation of fashion on the catwalk. What was striking was the frontal view of all these expressions. The dance costumes of the Peking opera are designed to show the front. An aspect reinforced by the sideways movement of the dancers. A similar phenomenon can be observed in the lure and courtship behaviour in nature. What appeals most to the imagination is the male peacock showing off his beautifully colored fan to impress the females and entice them into mating. Armor is an image, just like this peacock. Like an exotic flower and also the crown on the head of anyone who stands under it.

Future Past Glory

See yourself, the clouds and the trees fragmented and reflected in Future Past Glory. The sculpture is located in the Beatrixpark in Amsterdam and was commissioned by Stadsdeel Zuid. It is like a peacock, a dragon. You can stand under the sculpture and wear it like a crown. The side of the sculpture is actually very slender, at the front it creates a special kind of depth. It is also reminiscent of Amsterdam ornamental gables held up by braces. We show what it takes to make the front shine. You look as it were between and behind the scenes. The sculpture is an ode to urban planner Jakoba Mulder (1900-1988). We now live in a time when you can see traces of Jakoba Mulder in the city. Our sculpture is also meant to be this way, namely for the future. You can picnic or take wedding photos underneath it.

Take a look at the website of Heringa/Van Kalsbeek here.

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