Measuring 182 metres in length the Maas Sculpture is an immense art work, but viewed against the vast scale of the Willemsbrug it appears to be a modest and playful arabesque. It is autonomous yet tailored to its site, like Auke de Vries’ other sculpture in the city at the Netherlands Architecture Institute.
The history of the Maas Sculpture began when De Vries was asked for his advice about placing an art work alongside the Willemsbrug. There followed a long discussion about the embankments, water, space and urban quality. De Vries did not initially participate in the open competition to design a work of art for the bridge. But when he was invited to submit a proposal and was allowed a year to conceive his plan, he agreed.
The forces of nature do their work: the ‘washing line’, as the sculpture quickly became known in Rotterdam, sags, the transverse beams and rods pull it sideways, the steel balls dangle from the strong steel cable. The sculpture links the Willemsbrug with a leftover pier from the now dismantled railway bridge. The sculpture draws its power from the interplay between the river, the bridge and the embankment. (DvT)