BijlmAIR: Tomas Adolfs

Here, before and again

29 June - 28 July 2006

It was only 40 years ago that building work started on the Bijlmer as we now know it. With the exception of a few names of squares, parks and flats, there is almost nothing left that refers to the history of this place.

Tomas Adolfs wants to bring visitors and inhabitants of the Bijlmer in touch with that history. Amongst his finds in the city archives he discovered a 16th century coat of arms for the region, the ground plan of a fort that once stood on the edge of the Bijlmer and extensive photo-reportages of the farms and their inhabitants that surrounded the original Bijlmermeer polder.

In his scale model-like installations, posters, postcards and a painting in the Information Centre of Amsterdam South-East, Adolfs spreads history as a layer over the present Bijlmermeer. Using the characteristic colour and texture of feather-weight Styrofoam, his sculpture combines the view of a high-rise flat with the ground plan of the fort. In a model he shows the modern suburb rise once again but this time in an as yet un-reclaimed Bijlmermeer.

This work is not only a visionary plan for the Bijlmermeer as it could have been - with due recognition of its historical identity - but above all it makes its history visible. In the large painting the former regional coat of arms makes its re-entry, this time executed in the more contemporary manner of the graffiti artist. Historical identity and modernity are constantly interchanged in Adolfs’ work.

Tomas Adolfs (Enschede, 1977) studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and graduated in 2005. He was artist-in-residence at BijlmAIR in the spring of 2006.

BijlmAIR / Artist in Residence Bijlmer

BijlmAIR is a project of the Centre of Visual Art, Amsterdam South-East [Centrum Beeldende Kunst Zuidoost] and the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam. Twice a year young artists are invited to live and work in a studio in the South-East sector of the city. During their residence the artist makes work that reflects this multicultural part of town.

The candidates for BijlmAIR are selected in cooperation with the Rietveld Academy and the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, the Academy of Visual Art and Design Arnhem, the Visual Art and Design Academy Enschede, the Dutch Art Institute in Enschede and the Willem de Kooning Academy and the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam.