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Persijn Broersen and Margit Lukács, ‘The 7 gates’, 2018

Noorderpark | District

Various features of the Noord (North) district come together around Noorderpark Station: the workers’ districts that surround the station are representative of the garden villages a bit further away; the up-and-coming creative industry that characterizes the Noord district is within walking distance, and one of the many parks of the district is located on both sides of the station. Noorderpark Station is a gateway for festivals in the Noorderpark. Nevertheless, with around 20,000 passengers a day, the station is the least busy station on the North/South line.

Noord is a relatively young city district, in transition from an area where heavy industry once dominated to an area where creative industries play an increasingly important role. On the site of Noorderpark Station, the new connection that the North/South line provides between the city Centre and the North is tangible: immediately beyond the station, the metro passes underneath the IJ, which traditionally separated the Centre from the North. The artists were asked to do research about the district and to include ingredients such as connection versus separation, the workers and (new) industry and recreational green spaces. The undeveloped area at the end of the platform was designated as a site for art.


The artists take a look at their work shortly before it is completed | Photo: Jorrit ’t Hoen

From the Past to the Future

Artist duo Persijn Broersen (Delft, NL, 1974) and Margit Lukács (Amsterdam, NL, 1973) were chosen to carry out their design. Because the platform is wedged between the asphalt roads like a windswept island, for Broersen and Lukács, this site called out for a three-dimensional image, visible to cyclists, motorists, walkers and, of course, to the passengers on the platform and in the metro. The artists sought an image that is recognizable for the district and revives the tradition of the lofty but now forgotten romantic ideals of ‘beauty for the worker’.

The artwork that the duo designed consists of seven gates in different stages, arranged one behind the other along a timeline from the past to the future. The sequence emphasizes the eternal cycle of growth, development and decline. The gates form a border-crossing, a ‘portal’ to enter another world – from historic Amsterdam to the city of the future in the North.

Craft tradition

By constructing the gates in decorative brick masonry, the artists champion a new type of ornament. The gates themselves are inspired by the architecture of the Noord district, including the workers’ houses that were built by architects who worked in the tradition of the Amsterdam School. But the constructions in the online game MineCraft were also a source of inspiration for the artists.

The shape of the middle gate offers a visual link with the city gate of Cuypers’ Central Station, which provides entry to the city centre. In the gates, polygons are inserted into concrete as building blocks of the digital world. The artwork is surrounded by sedum, reminding us of the parks in the district. At night, the theatrically lit gates offer access to a new world.


Detail from Broersen & Lukács’ sketch

About the artists

Persijn Broersen (Delft, 1979) and Margit Lukács (Amsterdam, 1973) have worked together since 2002, after completing their studies at the Rietveld Academy and the Sandberg Institute. The duo produces films and installations in which ‘nature’ functions as a mirror for our media-dominated culture, in which fact and fiction are closely interwoven. They have exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Kröller Muller Museum, the Sydney Biennale (AUS), the Karachi Biennale (PK) and the Centre Pompidou Paris (FR). In the autumn of 2018 their work will be on view in a solo exhibition in FOAM, Amsterdam.

About the work

Title: ‘The 7 Gates’ | Opening: 28 June 2018. | Material: artisanal brick and cast concrete; sedum. | Measurement: diverse, the tallest gate measures six meters in height.


The gates by night | Photo: Jorrit ’t Hoen