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Colours that almost clash

5 August 2006 – Baukje Spaltro paints Amsterdam’s construction sites in bright colours, to capture the changing city. Since last Wednesday, a reproduction of one of her paintings is on display at the Waterlooplein Metro Station.

Spaltro gets her inspiration when she is cycling through the city. Yesterday, she cycled past the construction sites of the North/South Metro Line at the Vijzelgracht, where the contrast between the large machines and the old little houses caught her eye. “There is something surreal about those construction sites; their forms are very bizarre”.

She will probably return soon to the Vijzelgracht, to make slides. She uses slides as a basis for her paintings, but she does not just copy reality: “I start to play with it”.

She manipulates the perspective by projecting the slides at an angle and she makes parts of the paintings on the basis of sketches. Further, the colours are far from realistic. “I find colour very important. I try to create a tension by using colours that almost clash, colours that bite each other”.

The paintings are part of a series called ‘Breitner – Amsterdam under Construction’ (BAUC). The name refers to George Hendrik Breitner, known among other things for the views of the city he made at the beginning of the twentieth century.

“I had been working on the series for two years, when I discovered Breitner”, Spaltro says. “About one hundred years ago, he captured industrialisation. He did so in an innovative way, not just painting, but also making photos on glass sheets”.

“I too am fascinated by the changes that the city is undergoing. I try to slow down these changes, by capturing them in oil paint”.

Spaltro was approached by the North/South Metro Line Project Office to make something for the Waterlooplein Metro Station. One of her paintings was digitally processed, blown up, partly inverted and printed on adhesive film, which was put up behind a glass wall.

If you leave the station at the Stopera side, you will find youself facing the painting at the top of the stairs. It’s being a work of art is not emphasized; in passing one might mistake it for an advertising sign.

“Indeed, that is a choice you make when you do something in a public space; either you integrate the work of art in its environment or you make it stand out”. At the opening as well, a connection was made with the environment; the catering was provided by tokos at the metro station.

Half the paintings in the BAUC series have been sold already, but new ones are being added. For example, Spaltro is thinking of painting the Vijzelgracht and the TPG building near Central Station. “There are still plenty construction sites in the city. As long as I have inspiration, I will continue”.



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