Tulips from Istanbul

by Sonja van Kerkhoff
in The Poetic Condition exhibition,
NorthArt, Northcote, Auckland, New Zealand
7-30 Oct 2018
This work was first made in 1997

4 tulips installed at NorthArt, Oct 2018

    Installation by Sonja van Kerkhoff
Left to Right: Paintings by Pietertje van Splunter, “Metamorphosis IV” by Sanne Maes
Shells by Martje Zandboer, "Te Maharatanga" by Sonja van Kerkhoff
Top right: "Tulips from Istanbul" with a plague below.

Cultural symbols always have a history and are always in flux. “Tulips from Istanbul” was made in response to the political debate on what is a "Dutch" national culture.
The tulip began in China, was cultivated in Turkey, and migrated into Europe out of an Islamic society. In the Netherlands it became a cultural icon and still is today. Likewise with the colour orange: the name originates in France but was imported into the Netherlands via Germany and is the name of the Dutch Royal family, the House of Orange. And the colour orange has become a national icon associated with the Netherlands. These orange tulips are a reminder that there is a give and take involved with any cultural interaction. I cast these tulip forms in a material that looks fragile and is transluscent and to suspend them to emphasize the fluidity of the frames we put around things. Two texts are exhibited with this work:

´It is not a tale invented but a confirmation of what went on before it...´
The Quran

The Dutch House of Orange has reigned since 1572.
The tulip from Turkey gained popularity in West Europe in the early 1600s.

The text from the Qu'ran is a reminder that nothing is entirely original and that new stories are always influenced by our history and cultural backgrounds.

Initially I made 50 tulips in 1997 for an exhibition in Villach, Austria and have exhibited many of these tulips around Europe. While each tulip is cast (from the same mould), each is also unique - either in the finishing, or in the way the dye was applied, or by a history of cracks, knocks, fissures or repairs.
Related Work

>> Sonja's c.v.    Outdoor sculpture    cast in resin    Arranged by Medium    Art by Sen + Sonja    A thumbnails tour