bik van der pol

Bik Van der Pol , Facts on the ground¹, 2009

Since 1995, Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol have executed dozens of projects in the Netherlands and abroad. They explore the shift in the artistic production of separate objects towards that of the shared experience. In this process, they embrace a variety of practices, such as workshops, film programmes, picnics and other situations in which the visitor becomes participant in an artistic manifestation. Bik Van der Pol are interested in utopian concepts and connect radical ideas from the past with contemporary thought.

For Portscapes, Bik Van der Pol initiated a study focusing on how the template was developed that shapes the new land of Maasvlakte 2, which is sprayed as formless sand on carefully selected locations. They wondered in particular whether poetic or aesthetic considerations played a role at the start of this typically Dutch undertaking.
The artists developed a kind of guided tour, in the form of interviews with the people who were involved in the project. Talking with, among others, engineers, policy-makers, planners and environmental organisations, Bik Van der Pol go through the different phases of the process. Which decisions were ultimately determinant for Maasvlakte 2’s appearance and for its precise location? Which knowledge was utilised and how did the parties work together to achieve a final result?

In the end, the artists made a video work by circling with a helicopter over the area where Maasvlakte 2 will arise and filming its outline.
This represents the research process as an aerial drawing, with the helicopter as pencil and the film as paper.

[1] similar to fait accompli, used as an oblique way of saying that discussions over the possession of a given piece of territory are irrelevant.


Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol work collaboratively since 1995 and live and work in Rotterdam. Recent exhibitions and projects are: Xth Biennale de Lyon 2009; One Day Sculpture, Auckland New Zealand, 2009; Plug-In 28, Pay Attention, Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, 2008; A Format for Nightcomers, Istanbul Biennale, 2007, Fly Me To The Moon, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 2007; On Mobility, De Appel Amsterdam, 2005; Beyond Leidsche Rijn Utrecht, Nomads in Residence 2003; White Box New York, Loompanics, 2001; Green Naftali, New York, Trailer 2000; Museum Boymans van Beuningen, The Bookshop Piece, 1996.