Photo: BKOR archive

Rolled up newspaper has been restored


This month is the Rolled up newspaper (1981) restored by the legendary art collective Kunst & Vaarwerk, which was active from 1979 to 1992. The column at Zuidplein station, painted like a front page of the newspaper The Free Peoplewas in urgent need of an overhaul. At the time, the work was carried out by Klaas Verkerk (Decorfabriek) and Leo van den Berg, among others, who were working at the time at Reclameatelier Leo Mineur. They led the restoration team that re-painted the pillar.

The restoration of the Rolled up newspaper took place simultaneously with the renovation of the entire area around the Zuidplein metro station. The new bus station of which this pylon is part will be Monday June 13 2022 om 12.00 Hours festive opening† Ove Lucas, director of CBK Rotterdam, will present the restored work.

During the restoration, filmmaker Elyssio Ramos visualized the working process. He also spoke to a number of people involved, including artist Hans Citroen from Kunst & Vaarwerk and Erico Smit, visual artist and urban illustrator 2020 and 2021.

Iconic artwork

Rotterdam has a rich tradition of mural art, which is continued today. How beautiful is it to be able to continue to see different time layers of the city through art on the street, such as with the restoration of the rolled up newspaper† It is an essential work from the oeuvre of the Kunst & Vaarwerk collective, which consisted of Willem van Drunen, Hans Citroen and Cor Kraat. The collective was active from 1979 to 1992.

This painted pylon at the renovated Zuidplein bus station is an iconic work of art: an ode to the port city of Rotterdam and a testimony from the 80s. Many generations are familiar with this work because the Zuidplein has traditionally been one of the largest stations in Rotterdam. The almost crumbled painting has always remained on the minds of alert Rotterdammers who have urged the organizations working on the Zuidplein not to let the painting disappear.

Ode to the port city

At the time, Rotterdam was the largest port city in the world and that strongly determined the identity of the working city of Rotterdam. The Rolled up newspaper (1981) shows various photos and texts about the port, the entire page is an ode to the port city. The painting was recently redone with a sleek and clear result. Also the telling title of the newspaper The Free People pops out again. This newspaper originally appeared as a national daily newspaper just after the Second World War, but eventually became the local newspaper of the socialist working-class city of Rotterdam, before it was eventually merged into Algemeen Dagblad.

Kunst & Vaarwerk

Kunst & Vaarwerk had a grand plan to place works of art at various Rotterdam junctions and access roads. Seemingly simple with a clear message and almost always with irony and humor. Think of the Red BMW at the Weena, the Lou Bandy's hat on the edge of the Vroesenpark and the Model of the old Maas bridges near the Willemsbrug. Art with color and guts as an antidote to raw post-war Rotterdam.

This project was realized with contributions from CBK Rotterdam/BKOR and Stichting Droom en Daad and was carried out by Decor Fabriek under the direction of Klaas Verkerk. He did that, just like in 1981, together with Leo and Henk van de Berg. Ricardo van Zwol was added to the team.

The Visual Arts & Public Space program of CBK Rotterdam manages the Rotterdam sculpture collection and presents it to the public. Due to the importance of preserving Rotterdam's cultural heritage, restoration projects are occasionally undertaken for which there is no maintenance budget. Paintings are, as it were, outlawed. One of the recent projects in addition to the restoration of the Rolled up newspaper, is the reconstruction of a mural Without title (1961) by Louis van Roode (1914-1964) from the demolished Dijkzigt hospital, which was given a new place in the foyer of the Willem Burger Zaal van de Doelen. For more art in public space, see www.bkor.nl

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The restoration was partly realized with a contribution from BKOR, the Visual Arts & Public Space program of CBK Rotterdam, and Stichting Droom en Daad. 

Publication date: 19 / 05 / 2022