In the 1970s, visual artists Teun Jacob (1927-2009) and Kees Verschuren (1941) made what at the time was the largest work of art in the Netherlands. On the 1st Maasvlakte, over a five year period, they created an impressive work of land art adjacent to a power station.

The work was commissioned by the municipality of Rotterdam together with the Municipal Energy Company (GEB). Dozens of artists submitted proposals. In an open procedure, accompanied by much protest, the commission eventually went to Jacob and Verschuren. In a determined fashion, they worked on this massive environmental artwork, which also includes work by other artists including Marinus Boezem and Carel Visser, until it was completed in 1979. Then the work entered into oblivion. Over the years, it has increasingly suffered from a lack of maintenance and the power plant’s expansion.

The vitrine presentation displays documents relating to the the work’s inception, public participation, and the numerous opinions and protests accompanying the process. Historic photos and drawings show how the work’s intimate spaces were combined with expansive views. The recently published Steen in Water – een onbekend aardwerk voor de 1e Maasvlakte (Stone in Water – an unknown earth work for the 1st Maasvlakte) is available in the TENT Bookshop.

Rotterdam Cultural Histories is a collaborative project between TENT and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art that explores our common roots in Rotterdam and articulates meeting points between both of our programs. Rotterdam Cultural Histories is conceived by Defne Ayas (Director of Witte de With) and Mariette Dölle (Artistic Director, TENT).

—With Thanks To:

Concept and Research: Sandra Smets
Images, archival material: Municipal Archives Rotterdam, private archives Kees Verschuren, the estate of Teun Jacob
Editing and coordination: Mariette Dölle (TENT)
Graphic Design: Rick Vermeulen
Book design: Arthur Meyer
TENT Thanks: Xandra Nibbeling Kees Verschuren, Cathy Jacob, Hein van den Assem, Marcel van de Wouw, CBK Rotterdam, Netherlands Institute for Art History.
Special thanks to: Municipal Archives Rotterdam, Kees Verschuren.