Afternoon of art in prison
During my sociology study in Amsterdam I had an intense interest in closed institutions and the concept of social control. That interest, years after my study still remains and drove me to the opening day of the exhibition ‘Onder Controle’ by UtrechtDownUnder. I stood at the entrance of the prison at 13:15, on Wolvenplein, with a few other visitors. I was very excited about an afternoon of ‘art in prison’. With the side note that I had more interest in Wolvenplein, then the exhibition, ‘Onder Controle’. But in this case I got two for the price of one. So..
UtrechtDownUnder, is an initiative of the organization Kunstliefde, that supports artists in Utrecht. UtrechtDownUnder organized an art route in 2013 in the Utrecht wharfs along the Oudegracht. The visitors could enjoy the art route at wharfs that are not open to the general public. This was a first special location with a lot of history in Utrecht. In the month of May UtrechtDownUnder presents a second major exhibition on an exciting location, this time prison Wolvenplein. Wolvenplein has a long and rich history in Utrecht. It was first a military stronghold and the singel flowed around the island. Later, the island was attached to the mainland and the building was used for various businesses. In 1856, the government built a prison with 166 cells according to American example. During WWII Wolvenplein was used to by the Germans and was overcrowded with more than 5 prisoners per cell. At the end of June 2014 the last inhabitants was transferred to the prison in Nieuwegein. Wolvenplein is now empty and put for sale by the State. But in the meantime there are wild plans to revive the complex. The Wolvenplein offers workspaces, a second branch of the coffee shop ‘The Village’ possible festivals and more.
Exhibition Onder Controle
The exhibition Onder Controle, displays contemporary art of 41 artist from Utrecht, in the common areas and the cells of Wolvenplein. All artists give their own interpretation of the theme ‘under control’: retaining control, losing control, control or have power over others. The winners of the Boellard Award 2013, an award for artists over 50 years of age with Utrecht roots, also present their works of art during Onder Controle.
Of all five winners of the Boellard Award 2013, I was most fascinated by the canvas by Robbie Cornelissen. The effect is very impressive. The exhibition Onder Controle is very beautiful. The location, Wolvenplein, is a work of art in itself even after all the refurnishing through the years. When visiting pay close attention to the small details like the iron spiral staircase in the workspace. Or the iron work in the cell-complex, the light that shines through the glass-ceiling gives a mysterious atmosphere. Go see the exhibition and Wolvenplein people!
1 – 31 May 2015
Wednesday through Sunday from 13:00 – 18:00
Fee €6 (only pin)
No fee for Children below 12
If you are more interested in the Wolvenplein complex, there will be tours during the dag van de Architectuur on the 20th of Juni.
Header photo from Onder Controle.