Is this art?

28 Nov

I don’t know anything about art. What’s the definition of it? How can you recognize it?  When you go to a museum you know that what you’re going to see is art. When you go to a gallery what you’ll see is art. But when you go to the woods all you see is trees and animals, or?

Not long ago we had a funny experience.

We wanted to go for a walk and drink some coffee afterwards. Nothing special really. For this reason we went to Soest. At least that’s what we originally set out for. En route we passed a sign for Castle Groeneveld which made us change our mind. We thought: what the heck, why not see the castle instead. So we did. This proved to be a good decision.


The castle was beautiful.

Behind the building was a big park. Big green lawns. Great trees. Little ponds. And it was impressively quiet. It was as if time stood still here. Nothing moved. Nothing at all.


Then we saw something strange. At first glance it looked like a playground for children. There was a big web of thick ropes spread out over the park. Attached to it were ropes that were on their turn connected to all kind of things that could set the ropes in motion. Among them were some sort of swings that hang above the lawn next to the castle. 

“What’s that?” I asked my husband.
“It’s art, I guess.”, he said.

The children saw the things too and started to run for them ….  Yeah swings!
Gone was the quietness. Gone the stillness.  We trotted after them. When we came at the playground we saw a sign that told us that what we were looking at was indeed art. It was made by Chiel Kuijl.
Okay, we thought, frowning.

And then this happened:
As  soon as the  children started to swing everything started to move around the castle. It was marvelous. It was so much fun. This transition from a quiet, motionless static park  into this big waving movement. Everything danced as though it was touched by the wind: the trees, the ropes – even the water.

It was a very enchanting picture. I thought: What a wonderful way of showing that everything is connected. It reminded me of a Dutch writer who said: Nothing exists that doesn’t move something else.

While the kids were swinging, we walked through the dancing park. It was the best walk ever. And when we left that afternoon, I had the distinct feeling I had seen and experienced something that I wouldn’t easily forget. I had seen art.


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