Doorkeeper, 2023
Installation with ‘stiepels’, painted wooden poles
6 x 6 x 300cm each

The installation Doorkeeper (2023) consists of several painted wooden poles that are spread throughout the exhibition space. These poles refer to 'stiepels' or 'stiepelpalen', the large standing poles that hold together the patio doors in the doorposts of historical 'hallenhuisboerderijen' (also known as: Low German houses, or Fachhallenhauses); and that are often found in the Eastern part of The Netherlands and Northern Germany.

These 'stiepels' in Doorkeeper depict evil-preventing symbols that seal off the house from intruders, and unlike the traditional 'stiepels', are not depicted on one side but fan out over the four sides of the beam. The signs mark the transition from inside to outside, but at the same time make that transition ambiguous and diffuse. The poles in Doorkeeper, turn the exhibition space into both a public space and a private space through which the visitor moves. As displaced building elements, they are a reference to the many demolished historic farms in the twentieth century, and raise questions about both their protective and exclusive functions.

Who exactly does the stiepel mark protect against whom?

The poaskearls ‘vlöggeln’ (festive ritual procession) around the ‘stiepel’ of Polman's barn on Kerkplein (Ootmarssum), (year unknown, just after the Second World War).

Doorkeeper (2023) was part of the group exhibition Hoeders van het Land, Kunstenlab, Deventer (NL)
17.11.23 - 07.01.24

Mister Motley, Wakers op de drempel - over bezit en bescherming in landelijke architectuur, essay by: Bart Lunenhurg