Wednesday, September 7, 2011

UPDATED: Laurens Kolks´ "Private Investigations" serves art spies

"Private Investigations" by Laurens Kolks at Art on Lake (2011)

"Prviate Investigations" by Laurens Kolks at Art on Lake (2011)

One by one, the two men in their 20´s gingerly put a left leg into the narrow, white and black-windowed rowboat´s top-heavy cabin.

It was June on City Park Lake in Budapest, site of Art on Lake´s show of 25 contemporary artists, which closed 4 September.

“Private Investigations,”  is the name of the water-born art object, a limousine-like, row boat that Dutch spatial designer Laurens Kolks built especially for this show.

It began to look more like a death trap as it tipped menacingly one side to the other as the pair entered its cabin.

Kolks told me, "I very much like the contrast between its luxurious/decadent looks (limousine) and the clumsy way it moves through the water when used."

Good thing City Park Lake is only half a meter deep. 

(Kolks said the art object boat is "solid" but "not seaworthy." It´s headed back to Rotterdam where the artist built it himself for 2,500 Euros in material and three months´ labor at two to three days a week in his studio.)

Finally settled in, the two men rowed off slowly and sloppily to view Art on Lake up close, personal and in secret, undercover art spies, huddled in their own secret space.

Kolks, age 35, is known for his site specific installations and in this case floating design object for Art on Lake.

A companion exhibition in Budapest at the Vasarely Museum with his designs—“Artworks on Water – Sketches, Models”—continues through 26 September.

The artist, who teaches 3D graphic research and spatial design near Rotterdam, his home, described this work on his official website as a boat for viewing the art works affording you “full privacy.” 

"Private Investigations" is public art, said Kolks in an e-mail interview.


"I guess I´m fascinated by the carelessness of quite some people when it comes to privacy nowadays; exposure seems to be all.
"'Private Investigations' aims at being a very personal experience in a very public environment."

Co-curator of Art on Lake Peter Fitz wrote in the show´s catalogue, “…there is no way of knowing who is rowing inside, making it perfect for the person concealed to secretly observe the outside world.” 

(Other curators of Art on Lake: Dr. Alexander Tolnay and Krisztina Jerger.)

Fitz called the work a “rowable paradox.”

You can see out. No one can see in. 

The observer becomes the observed.

At Art on Lake, people could rent the floating art limo.

It was moored (and viewed) next to other traditional row boats, the kinds that are designed not to easily tip over with a 10 kph wind.

Asked where he plans to exhibit "Private Investigations," next, Kolks said the canals of Amsterdam or Venice are ideal.

Here are some of Kolks´ design proposals, according to his website:

·        “A Picnic Table for Man and Dog” (created1999);

·        Transform a bridge watcher´s house into an “urban tea oasis”;

·        A playground disguised as a bus shelter;

·        A transportable restaurant with tables, stools and moveable kitchen that needs no water or electricity connections and that can be taken apart in pieces;

·        Europe´s first drive-through wedding chapel in a north Rotterdam courtyard. It would have a “doubt drive away” lane for those who suffer a last-minute change of heart.

Educated at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, Kolks has worked in New York as a designer with an archietectural firm. 

He has exhibited 37 times, including Art on Lake.

Art on Lake at night with Vajdahundyed Castle
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.

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