Friday, August 26, 2011

Paul Segers: ´Put your science fiction away boys, this is not a spaceship'

"Southern Front (ZFU-05)" by Paul Segers at Art on Lake, Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
 Segers e-mails ArtTraveler 27 August the latest on "Southern Front":

"Any talk about aliens either friendly or not has got nothing to do with my work. Even the 'science fiction' label is starting to bother me. 

"Science fiction is now, and my works are far from fiction.

"They're just metaphorically addressing some issues that I feel are very much reality of 2011 - not some far off future. 

"I create sculptures that look fairly innocent, while using a lot of military and industrial language in creating them. This particular work which is just called "ZFU-05" (which translates as Southern Front Unit 05) was my reaction to the gated communities shaped as fortresses close to the city of s-Hertogenbosch. 

"People want to lock themselves up - for safety - even in the most placid environment of the Netherlands. I thought they could use some threat to justify that. 

"As the closed communities are like 'scale models' of old fortresses - like the city of 's-Hertogenbosch - my sculpture was also a scale model to add to that environment.

"I guess it´s not that hard once you get into the material.

"Put your science fiction books away boys... this is NOT a spaceship." 

Paul Segers 27 August 2011
The gated communities at s-Hertogenbosch Photograph courtesy of Paul Segers
The Dutch have a thing about water.

It comes with their cultural territory naturally.

Contemporary sculptor Paul Segers protects his homeland with a few symbolic warriors on water. 

One of them, "Southern Front (ZFU-05)", built in 2008, now floats placidly, peacefully on City Park Lake in Budapest.

As one of the 25 contemporary artists exhibiting in the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest show--Art on Lake--Segers and his floating pontoon must feel at home.

Curators of Art on Lake, which opened 22 May and closes 4 September, face some apparent difficulties in conceptualizing (in words, anyway) Southern Front.

“It is a strange structure, impossible to define more precisely than a floating pontoon, comprising a 10-meter long ´landing strip´, complete with marker lamps, a cabin made of corrugated steel and a tower that emits guiding lights,” they opined in Art on Lake´s catalogue that first appeared three weeks ago.

Art on Lake at City Lake Park, Budapest Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

But then, as though watching a UFO movie, the curators (or at least one of them)--Krisztina Jerger, Dr. Alexander Tolnay and Peter Fitz--liken Segers´vehicle to an alien spaceship in a Bradbury tale.

“After the successful landing, it turns out that the members of the friendly alien civilization are all microscopic in size, making it impossible to make personal contact.”

Now, what does the artist say about this alien piece of useless hardware that floats?

This apparently is something more than a bad dream for Segers about microscopic but friendly aliens who, because of their size, cannot communicate.

When the 34-year-old sculptor born in Eindhoven first showed the work in 2008, he saw Southern Front installed in an old water-inundated defense line.

It was placed in an area “with gated communities shaped like fortresses, as a reminder of the times when that area was an inundation area in the defense line around the city of s-Hertogenbosch.

“Waiting for high water and action, this station is fitted with a landing strip, a control cabin and necessary communication equipment,” according to Segers in

Segers likes things big, often with enclosed capsules, like cockpits or chambers. 

Segers studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Den Bosch and at the Dutch Art Institute in Enschede.

His Art on Lake work shows simultaneously with “Artworks on Water—Projects, Models”, a separate exhibition at the Vasarely Museum, Budapest.

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

ArtTraveler notes:

After living at the Hotel Queen Mary in Budapest (3.5 stars), I heartily recommend it: old on the outside, otherwise totally modern (23 rooms); 

The owner and staff are affable and speak English and German. Tel: 0036-1-413-3510;;

Visit Andalusia for a walking holiday or week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop. 

"Spanish Life Stilled," photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)

You may reach me at or by calling (34) 915 067 703 or from the UK at BT landline rates, 0844 774 8349. 

Animal cruelty protest ends as village defines policy
Mayor Don Jorge Martin told more than 150 expat residents of Canillas de Albaida during a village-initiated open forum for expats held today (26 August) that every two weeks a "dog catcher" (official animal control from Malaga) will survey streets not for cats but only for dogs that are sick. He denied any policy to simply sweep pets off the street. He did admit one cat died but it said it was sick. The mayor did not answer a repeated question: What happened to the animals you have already taken?

Let´s give peace a chance. The protest is ended. Thank you to those who took the time to e-mail your concerns to our mayor. I am confident you made a positive and signifcant impact.

--Stefan van Drake

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