The German artist Günther Förg has worked in a broad range of media, including abstract paintings, photographs, sculptures, prints and interiors: he designed the neon relief that decorates the ceiling of the café in the Kunsthal (Museumpark/Westzeedijk).
With his work Tor und Stele (Gateway and Stela) Förg has made a grandiose gesture in rough bronze and glistening polished black marble in the narrow street between the Police Headquarters and the adjacent tall buildings. The Tor (gateway), which recalls the Arc de Triomphe or the Brandenburger Tor, and the stela (originally a Greek burial pillar) are traditional features of grand metropolitan squares.The old-fashioned looking streetlamps in the Doelstraat reinforce this sense of an expansive civic space, despite the limited room. The work’s third element is the yellow-brown tiles in the ground, along which the lampposts are placed.
The narrow space available forces the gateway skywards; it is certainly not wide enough to admit a triumphant army. The message is clear: those times are behind us. The fact that the gateway stands adjacent to the Police Headquarters suggests another ironic interpretation: the role of state power has changed dramatically since the age of squares with triumphant arches. (DvT)