Sometimes a special message pops up in your inbox. Such as the e-mail we got from the Southern Italian Maria Chiara Miccoli, a master student in Contemporary Art History at VU University in Amsterdam. Because the traditional educational trip abroad couldn’t be made due to Covid-travel restrictions, the students were given an alternative assignment: making a paper and a podcast about an artwork in public space in the Netherlands. Maria Chiara was assigned Gerald van der Kaap’s work at Europaplein Station in the North/South metro line: I Want A Permanent Wave (2018).
‘I didn’t know the work yet, simply because the station wasn’t on my journey, but I felt an immediate connection to it’, Maria Chiara explained. ‘I have a thing for stations and travel. To me, stations are places where one can meet or say goodbye. They’re a kind of in between space, where some things end and new things begin, where new dreams arise. They make me feel very melancholic. Gerald van der Kaap’s work, which is also about an encounter, gives me the same feeling.’
When Gerald van der Kaap (Enschede, NL, 1959) works as a vj, he mixes a multitude of images together. Here he uses the same method, but the images are solidified, as it were. The rhythm of the design is dictated by the sentence ‘I want a permanent wave’ and a cinematic scenario. On the wall of the North-bound platform a man appears, and on the wall of the South-bound platform, a woman. For a moment they are connected to each other in a Brief Encounter.
‘When I first saw it, I was amazed at the size of the work, says Chiara. ‘I took a picture from the balcony above the railway. From there you can see the rails, the platforms and the walls with the artwork. You can feel the interaction between the movement of the train and the work. That’s why I decided to construct my podcast as a journey, gradually bringing you closer to the work, until you’re right on top of it and can see the many layers the panels are made of, just like the work itself is layered, which you only discover once you dive into it.’
Van der Kaap carried out the work by putting the image in the different layers of the hardened glass and alternating blank parts with coated ones. The back of the panels consists of a reflective coating. By applying these materials, depth and movement are created. In combination with the monumentality and the highly narrative character of the artwork, as a traveller you will become part of the story: you literally enter it.
Maria Chiara’s podcast was chosen as one of the best three of her class. She has now taken a liking to the medium and hopes to make a whole series of podcasts about art in the city.
Image newspage: Maria Chiara Miccoli.
Podcast on work Europaplein Station