Rotterdam / WWII memorial – Brandgrens / Jeroen Everaert

Last night Rotterdam memorised the WWII bombardments during which the entire city centre was destroyed. This year artist Jeroen Everaert made a temporary public art work to put extra attention to this past tragedy.

The work consisted of 127 gigantic light beams that lit the sky for four hours and marked the edge of the area ( brandgrens ) that was bombed. Despite its overwhelming beauty (enhanced by the magical music performed in the city, which could be heard throughout the entire centre), I could not oversee the resemblance with one of the most famous Albert Speer works. As state architect during the nazi regime, he designed a light sculpture notoriously known as the ‘cathedral of light’ for one of the Nuremberg party rallies (see last picture underneath). For these resemblances, a couple of years ago the organisation of the Love parade in Berlin was refused to make a similar light installation.

Nonetheless, despite the striking resemblance, we are artists and therefore tend to become completely blinded to any of such unethical or immoral implications the moment we see something beautiful (which I would say is the obvious flaw in human nature that Speer gratefully abused in his nazi works, a strategy a.k.a. as propaganda).

Uncanny implications or not, last night… standing underneath the brightly lit sky… and today, when I look back at beautiful pictures…
I yield.

All photos by Oscar Langerak (except the ‘cathedral of light’) 


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