Jorge Satorre's project for Portscapes had its beginnings in the eastern part of the Netherlands with a 3-tonne gneissic granite rock from the Svecofennian age, approximately 1.9 billion years ago. Following the artist’s fascination with the environmental compensation practices being instigated alongside the construction of Maasvlakte 2, his project consisted of returning the rock to where it once came from in Sweden – an act of synthetic restitution and transnational sculptural offsetting.
The boulder has now found a permanent home at the Wanås Foundation, near Knislinge in southern Sweden . The boulder was transported from Erica, in the north east of The Netherlands, to Knislinge at the beginning of January (see report on the Swedish newspaper Kristianstadsbladet).
Not insignificantly, the celebrated Land art work 'Broken Circle' (1971) by Robert Smithson, sited in a working quarry near Emmen, incorporates such a seemingly immovable boulder at its centre. Satorre’s reverse geological gesture is also reflected in the fact that much of the existing and future sea defence in the port area will be made from rock brought from Scandinavia. The artists offers an account of the process through drawings, which incorporates both actual and imagined details. One such detail depicts an imagined protest at the beginning of the boulder’s homeward journey – see post 2 October 2009.
Jorge Satorre's project was produced in the context of 'Portscapes', an accumulative series of newly commissioned projects produced in the context of the 2,000 hectare extension to the Port of Rotterdam, the project Maasvlakte 2.
Portscapes was commissioned by the Port of Rotterdam Authority with advice and support from SKOR (Foundation Art and Public Space, Amsterdam) and was curated by Latitudes. [FOOTNOTE 1] The foundation estate encompasses a medieval castle, an organic farm, and a sculpture park which since 1987 has hosted a number of permanent works by international artists.
Images: Journey and placement of the boulder from the newspaper Kristianstadsbladet; Drawings of 'The Erratic. Measuring Compensation' (2009), courtesy of the artist.
Coinciding with the end of the 'Footprints' exhibition (17 May–25 October 2009) organised by The Wanås Foundation (presenting works by Tue Greenfort, Henrik Håkansson, Tea Mäkipää (with Halldór Úlfarsson), Tomás Saraceno and Nilsmagnus Sköld) this one-day seminar hosted by the foundation on the 21st October included three presentations from different areas of expertise and a panel discussion around the relationship between contemporary art practice and ecology, the language used by the media on climate change, individual and collective environmental efforts, etc.