Herman Makkink

Exiting the motorway and driving into Sloten, you happen upon an intriguing sculpture. From a distance it looks a bit like a windmill, but up close it turns out to be an unstable brick structure on a round bottom with sails that are not really sails but rather a couple of strange metal flaps that adorn the head of the structure like ears.

The nameless sculpture is by Herman Makkink and was erected in 1998. To me, it represents everything a work of art in the public space can do. In this meaningless spot, on the edge of a neighbourhood, it is an unforgettable sign of something you cannot put a name to. It reminds me of things from a distant past that have disappeared, but it’s more than that. It looks recognizable, but is not. It clearly shows that art in the public space can challenge you to reflect on its meaning and that this challenge is all the stronger precisely because you do not know what it is you’re looking at, because you do not understand. It also shows that notions like ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’ are irrelevant to art in the public space. I do not know if this is a beautiful sculpture, but it sure is unforgettable. I usually just call it Molenkonijn (Windmill Rabbit).

– Jeroen Boomgaard