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Geenstijl falls for hasty provocation by Dries Verhoeven., the website once founded to celebrate free speech in all its expressions, has discovered something. Well - it wasn't that complicated to discover, as the centre of Utrecht is rather hard to get around. But so it is about Dries Verhoeven's building site, one of the manifestations of the otherwise often rather inconspicuous presence in the city festival Spring.

Now Geenstijl, plus the army of trolls of this now mostly death-defying web community, is particularly angry about an Arabic text at the construction sign of this building site. That building sign reads - in all languages, including Russian and Arabic - 'Monument to the end of Western hegemony'. According to the same building sign, a pedestal will be erected on this site, in front of which a bald man lies on the ground, apparently fallen from his pedestal.


As to be expected, Geenstijl jumped on the news because, first of all, the text "monument to the end of Western hegemony" should not be displayed in Arabic, according to the moralists. Further: a bald man on the ground is also not done because, they argue in the rather predictable comments: the statue celebrates the assassination of Pim Fortuyn.

Sic transit gloria mundi. Studio Dries Verhoeven. Animated Street View by JA Arquitectura

However, anyone who looks closely will see that the reclining bald man is lying on his stomach, and not stretched out on his back as in the iconic 2002 images. Further: Dries Verhoeven himself has no hair, and those who know the man will immediately see that he has portrayed himself lying down.

Art appreciation is studied by scholars using semiotics, or the doctrine of signs. Dries Verhoeven, who previously sent us through a haunted house, or made us look at ourselves in a hotel bed, obviously uses these signs deliberately. The bald man is a sign for many people, even though it is clearly not Pim Fortuyn. The Arabic text is a sign, but it is not a call to violence. The image of the monument is a sign, but it is not going to be built.

Between the ears

Verhoeven uses these characters to spark thoughts, start conversations, make people think. The means he deploys become more grotesque every year, but we also find it increasingly difficult to avoid them. The best part is now, he doesn't need much more than a construction fence and a construction sign to confront an entire section of the population with his own hatred and agony.

The image they protest against is between their ears. Nowhere else.

Mission accomplished. I'm actually getting a lot more admiration for Dries Verhoeven again.

Here are a few more images of the construction site. The photos are by Willem Popelier.

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1 thought on “Geenstijl trapt in gehaaide provocatie van Dries Verhoeven.”

  1. This so-called 'work of art' is beautiful. I enjoyed going here with my family and my children, wife and I were deeply impressed. The high level of craftsmanship, eye for detail, years of swooshing and the ultimate drive for perfection produces this kind of timeless art. So no, what an incredible bagger this is again. 'to make people think'. Yep, that's true. What everyone is thinking about is: what rank moron in the municipality gives permission for this. What on earth did this cost and from what subsidy pot and who in their right mind would call this art. Go to the Rijksmuseum and see what real artists can do bunch of sad welfare recipients. Without subsidy (the money you get from us.a. the Geenstijl commenters) enables you to sell this kind of nonsense.

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Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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