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Van Alles Is Weer Waardeloos (1997)

The neon sculpture Van Alles Is Weer Waardeloos is an anagram of the well-known Rotterdam lightsculpture Alles Van Waarde Is Weerloos. The original neon translates in English: Everything of value is defenseless. The translation of the new sentence: All sorts of things are worthless.

All sorts of things are worthless.

The original is a line, part of a poem by the poet and artist Lucebert. Since 1978 it can be seen as a neon text in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where it is one of the most prominent works of art in the city. The original has become a regular expression in the Dutch language.

Everything of value is defenseless

By mixing up the text, a commentary is made on the dogma of originality of Modern Art. By giving the text a different meaning whilst maintaning the letters (in a different sequence), a traditional theme of the arts is simulated: the sequence of styles, the parricide (the murder of the father) which is necessary to be able to produce new works of art yet maintaining the framework of tradition.
It is also a commentary on the change of character of what once was poetic line in a collection of poems into a public statement. The grand design of the original neon on a large scale (it is situated on top of an insurrance company) provoques by itself a response. What once originated in modesty has been turned into an emblem of grave, social importance. It is this transition that called out for an answer, which is the new neon.
In addition, the neon can also be seen as an expression of frustration about art in public spaces.
Finally it wants to provide a sanctuary of negativism as a counterpart of a forced positvistic attitude. The neon affirms that it is is okay to be down.

The neon sculpture is since 1997 located on a studio-complex for artists on the south-side of town which is poorer and socially more problematic. It thus forms a counter-image of uptown Rotterdam.

Financial support:
CBK, Rotterdam (Center Visual Arts, Rotterdam)


The desecration of an acknowledged, correct considered Brother of the Arts

‘Was he right?’…… ‘Hell no !!’
‘Was I?’……. ‘No !! Of course not !!’


Temporary installation Central Library Rotterdam, 2000