5 Elements

André Volten

The sculpture 5 Elements by André Volten on the Surinameplein in Amsterdam was originally created in 1980 as part of an installation on the Jaarbeursplein in Utrecht. 

André Volten (1925-2002) was one of the most important Dutch sculptors of the post-war generation. He was a master at creating harmonious ensembles of sculpture, architecture, design and urban design. When the Utrecht railway station area was redeveloped, however, Volten’s sculpture was removed from the Jaarbeursplein. Thanks to the efforts of a private individual who initiated a collaboration between the owner (the Jaarbeurs), the André Volten foundation, various municipal departments and the hoisting company that resituated the work, 5 Elements was saved. 

Finding a suitable location for five huge bronze elements cannot have been easy, but in the end, a collaboration of local residents, the André Volten foundation and ArtZuid curator Cintha van Heeswijck managed to get the sculpture resituated on the Surinameplein in 2015. In this location, the harmonious relationship between sculpture, architecture, design and urban design that André Volten aimed for is beautifully expressed, which is extraordinary and a great achievement of the specialists involved.

I consider this a successful resituation and proof that the relocation of monumental works of art, if expertly supervised, is perfectly possible. 

The original plan was that 5 Elements would remain on the Surinameplein until 2016, as part of a temporary project. Today, the sculpture is still there and as far as I’m concerned, it can stay that way.

– Meinke Horn