STATION 2. Jesus Takes Up His Cross

G. Roland Biermann: Stations II, 2019, 3 crosses made of safety barriers on steel elevations, 350 × 270 × 45 cm, 315 × 260 × 45 cm and 285 × 245 × 45 cm, 33 recycled oil drums, of which 23 measure 60 × 90 × 60 cm and 10 measure 50 x 90 x 60 cm.

The artist: “Silver safety barriers cut through the air, oil drums are spread out on the ground like the cargo of a stranded ship, washed up on the beach: a gruesome scene in the serene surroundings of the historic Corvershof. The safety barriers form three asymmetric, X-shaped crosses. On the one hand, they evoke traffic signs that warn us of a dangerous intersection; on the other hand, they refer to the three crosses on Golgotha as well as the three St Andrew’s crosses in the coat of arms of Amsterdam. Saint Andrew was a simple fisherman who died as a martyr on an X-shaped cross.”

Amsterdam started out as a little fishing town that grew into a rich and powerful commercial harbor city by means of whaling and transport of oil and other goods. Oil provided enormous prosperity but also wars, conflicts, and environmental disasters. Oil has caused blood to flow. The red oil drums refer to fresh blood: blood that congeals, dries and comes alive again. The drying process of blood serves as a metaphor for death and resurrection.

Location: De Hoftuin, Corvershof, Nieuwe Herengracht 18a (Diaconal Bureau Protestants Church Amsterdam). From the seventeenth century, these premises were used for the relief and care of the poor and elderly. Today they are the offices of social enterprises, welfare organisations, and the diaconal bureau of the Protestant Church in Amsterdam.

text: Marleen Hengelaar