Becoming one (starting from 36 and going through 525) is a long-term project that started as a letter to Halbe Zijlstra, the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science, on the 14th of January 2011. The letter offered, “to tackle the subject of a sculpture which acts as an image symbolizing a country in both a foreigner’s and in a local’s mind.” Questioning the relevance of monumental public sculpture for a community and its social use value in the current Dutch context where national identity is constantly being addressed, Becoming one (starting from 36 and going through 525) proposes a universal national monument. With the use of a computer programme, Anouchka carefully calculated a quintessential shape, deriving from all the symbolic monuments existing in the entire world down to a funny looking blob.
Even after having sent them a nicely decorated miniature of the national monument as a Christmas present, Halbe Zijlstra and the Queen of the Netherlands responded that they would not be able to help Anouchka realize the monument in the village of Putten, the exact centre of the Netherlands. The monument has now lost its purpose and has been looking for a home ever since. This year, the Dutch national holiday Queen’s Day will be celebrated by its presence, handed out as souvenirs to unsuspecting flea market costumers.
Images: Anouchka Oler, Becoming one, 2012
In her practice, Anouchka Oler is interested in “how we establish personal relationships with the objects we live amongst and how this might influence our relationship with sculptures. My practice brings together videos, performances, installations and texts even though the core of my work depends on the sculptures I produce for it. These sculptures are conceived as a team, a family that can play several roles within diverse works. I maintain these characters by taking care of them, enacting the role of a mother who’s responsible for their presence and so in charge of their development.”
Anouchka Oler (France, 1988) lives and works in Rotterdam. She is currently a student at MFA Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. She holds a BA in Fine Arts from ESBAMA, Montpellier, France. Recent exhibitions include Edmund’s Bedroom, 44A Beukelsdijk, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2011); Two things in a bar, BAR, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2011); The life of an artist, LIVEINYOURHEAD, Geneva, Switzerland (2011); Since each of us was many people we became quite a crowd!, Theater Le Bonheur, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2011); Pop saw the need, Double Art Gallery, Minneapolis, USA (2011); I WANT TO BELIEVE, Wolfart Projectspaces, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2011); HIC, La Villa Arson, Nice, France (2010); and Temps réels/Soupe à part, FRAC LR, Montpellier, France (2010).