PART 4: 5 HOUSES 5 CITIES. The house in Arnhem


PART 4: 5 HOUSES 5 CITIES. The house in Arnhem - Thom Puckey

Charcoal and aluminium.
2nd and attic floors of a large old house opposite the Art Museum in Arnhem

5 Houses 5 Cities was a project I carried out in 1983/84, in collaboration with Galerie De Appel Amsterdam, the Jan van Eyck Academy Maastricht, Het Apollohuis Eindhoven, the Museum of Modern Art Arnhem, and Galerie Corps de Garde Groningen. The project involved my moving into a ramshackle house in each of these cities. I spent one week completely isolated in each house, looking for and reading 'signs' (marks on the wall, cracks in the woodwork etc.), and from these, drawing and planning an installation; then one week constructing this installation. Then the house was opened to the public for a week. After this third week I allowed myself one week free, whereafter I moved to the following house. I restricted my working materials to one metal and one chemical for each house, allowing myself otherwise only wood as a construction material and sometimes water. I drew much from old alchemical texts for inspiration and methodology, and in addition some texts by Rudolf Steiner. In this house in Arnhem, the fourth house in my project '5 Houses, 5 Cities', I made sculptures from charcoal pieces in the attic and created a complex gutter system, streaming black water throughout the house. In the middle of the largest room I built a huge pair of scales.