Interview: Dutch artist Krijn de Koning discusses his Edinburgh Art Festival project, 'Land'

This article is from 2013

Krijn De Koning: Land

credit: Copyright Krijn de Koning, Work for Nieuwe Kek, Amsterdam

de Koning's installation is set to transform the Edinburgh College of Art's sculpture court

In this new work by the Dutch artist Krijn de Koning, his first exhibited piece in the UK, the intention is dramatic. ‘I wanted to make an artwork as a place,’ he says, reflecting on a project in which the interior of Edinburgh College of Art’s sculpture court will be entirely transformed with a series of raised platforms and walkways. ‘I wanted to make it visible and strong as an artwork, and to give a use to it, so people could walk on it or use it for a discussion or a debate.’

Having worked at ECA for the past year as the John Florent Stone Fellow, de Koning is familiar with the sculpture court’s dramatic exhibiting environment and with its unique features, among them a series of reproduction classical sculptures created for use in teaching. His design allows the viewer to get closer to these works and to see them from new angles, to ‘see them in a different way, or in a state in which we’re more alert’.

He speaks of a copy of Michelangelo’s famous Pieta in the Vatican, in which Jesus lies dying in Mary’s arms. ‘But Mary isn’t there, so you have this laying dying body. Immediately that’s interesting. It’s a hollow cast, at one part you see the sculpture and at another you see the metal and the plaster flaking off. It’s not about the sculpture, it’s about what these really are.’

His standard practice in transforming interiors through installation like this, he says, came from ‘a certain pragmatism, the thought that it would be a real good way to work with what I had, with the material, with the light coming in, to provide the best work for the situation.’ And the thought of a new space being created and destroyed doesn’t worry him. ‘Everything constantly changes,’ he says. ‘Things are temporary, either short-term temporary or long-term temporary.’

Edinburgh College of Art, 651 5800, 1 Aug–1 Sep, free.

Krijn de Koning: Land

In the Dutch artist's first ever UK exhibition, the works in Edinburgh College of Art's Sculpture Court are hidden from view using a series of platforms to reorient the space's architecture.