“The Rise and Fall of Nunhead Cemetery”

an installation, 2000



An installation that is based on the existence of an old Victorian cemetery in South-East London. The cemetery seems to be in a constant moment of decay. It is very rundown and overgrown by a lot of vegetation but is also being constantly restored to some acceptable level. At the same time it functions as a park in an urban surrounding.

The installation consists of two parts. The first thing people see is a video-projection. On the projection they see a lot of scaffolding and building materials. The colours are surrealistically intense and the whole projection reminds one of a strange sort of landscape painting. But at the same time there are moving clouds in the background and now and then an aeroplane passes over. One also hears the sound of singing birds that fills the space. The whole experience is of a tranquilizing but somehow strange nature.

The viewer only sees the second part much later; in another space is a ramshackle sort of a table. On the surface there are miniature constructions, a sort of a mini-building-site made of hobby-materials. Photographs of trees, scaffolding and building-materials are stuck on these scale-models. Behind the models is a TV showing a layer of clouds. It produces the sound of singing birds. The whole set-up is lit with some ordinary spots. A video camera and a microphone register all that happens on the table. Now the spectator realizes that he or she hasn’t been watching a painting, slide- or video-projection of a park but a “live transmission” of some cutout photographs and a noisy television. The soothing nature-experience was nothing else than an ordinary, manmade imitation, a set-up, fabricated of everyday materials.

van Abbe museum, Eindhoven