Restoration of ‘the Gabo’ to be completed March 2018
On the 21st of July (2017), the city council of Rotterdam granted an official permission to IEF Capital, for the restoration and renovation of the sculpture by Naum Gabo at the Coolsingel. IEF Capital, the owner of this artwork, immediately commenced with the restoration proceedings, which are expected to be concluded in February or March 2018. MeestersIn and Smederij Van der Vegt are responsible for the restoration work, which they started in August 2017.
Both the city council and IEF Capital aim to preserve as much of the original aesthetic of the sculpture, and have decided to renovate the sculpture (steel and bronze) as well as its pedestal (concrete in black marble), and to reinstall lighting fixtures.
Naum Gabo’s untitled work can be dated back to a period in which he designed free, organically formed sculptures, following a phase of strict, geometric, and abstract constructions. Commenting on his design for Rotterdam’s Coolsingel, Gabo once told art historian Herbert Read that it was indeed the organic structures of plants that inspired its structure. The gradual curve that was applied to the separate elements of the structure suggest movement. Gabo viewed the foundation of the sculpture as its roots, firmly anchoring the parts above ground. The two concrete blocks, dressed in black marble can be seen as the equivalent of a tree trunk, spouting 8 metal branches touching right at the very top, with the dark, meshed center as foliage. Following the grounding principles of constructivism, the sculpture claims a maximum of space while using a minimum of mass.
Sculpture International Rotterdam has asked artist and film maker Mels van Zutphen to document the restoration which is taking place behind a boarded enclosure of construction signs. In 2017, Witte de With Center of Contemporary Art and SIR presented a documentation within Witte de With’s Rotterdam Cultural Histories series. ‘The Gabo’ will be highlighted in an exhibition at Museum Rotterdam about the Coolsingel until the 8th of April 2018.
When the restoration is concluded, SIR and De Bijenkorf will be hosting a night of informative lectures on the sculpture and the artist Naum Gabo. For more information on the sculpture, please go here.