At the Rim

Rampant forms cover the walls of the meetingroom of the new tax office in Doetinchem. From ceiling to floor crawling plant species on the wall. You see groves, jagged branches, stumps and trees, but also rock and stone parties and boulders overgrown with moss. The mural is realized in the framework of the percentage arrangement for visual art by artist Erik Odijk (1959) and is titled At the Rim. She is on the outside and partly inside the space soon after the completion of the building, - the tax office was completed in April of this year - was baptized the Peanut . The oval conferenceroom looks indeed somewhat like a peanut, you can almost walk all the way around so the sleek shape is good to see. The Peanut is situated near the stairwell, at an intersection of corridors, hall and canteen. Recently you become so strangely enough, flooded with nature when you get a coffee, in a meeting or to the next workmeeting rushes.

The feeling overwhelmed by Odijk landscape in the tax office is dictated by the nature of At The Rim. The scale of the work ensures that you never fully see. The signed forests and deserts are such as the natural landscape, many times larger than the viewer. Faced with this imposing natural beauty, as a viewer you’ll become a tiny figure. This difference in scale ensures that Odijks world, as it were, encloses you.
From a distance, the rock formations, tree shapes and the infinite voids that separate them are still recognizable as such. Tree roots and shrubs intervene in inimitable fashion together. Under a stack of stones a cave seems to have arisen, a wind-polished rock protrudes above it. Elsewhere, a curious bush is formed, further away fallen trunks and gnarled stumps create a bizarre constellation: the result resembles a hut, a wigwam. The miraculous phenomena are fascinating in their form. They are actually created by nature and highly sculptural. Odijk found them during his trip to the United States, he explains. The photographs He made of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Sunset Crater and Arcosanti serve as the basis for his drawing. With his work, Odijk wants to position the viewer, as it were On the edge (At The Rim) of such an area. Behind the bushes, trees and stone formations covered with lichens lies not the full form of the Peanut, Suggests the artist. There is only emptiness, a cliff, a crevice or a cave, an abyss: the big nothing. Compared to the natural grandeur, man is reduced to an ant automatically.

At The Rim actually consists of a compilation of photographs, so it is an imaginary landscape. Coming closer to the drawing, you realize how the nature shown is created by human hands. Standing with your nose on top of the work, you see the lines of pastels and charcoal with which the 100 square meters of nature from At The Rim is created, the gestures which have drawn and refined decayed wood, the patterns by which the lava blocks, the foliage and mosses are constructed. Besides charcoal black the artist worked with rust brown, pink, orange and yellow. The choice of colors is determined by the nature spot, says Odijk. The Canyon and the desert are actually wrapped in an orange glow. Through the combination of colors and lines, an almost abstract visual rhythm is established, making the architectural, formerly motionless wall of the peanut move sometimes, so it seems..

It is this delicate distinction between another, Imaginary universe and the actual life that the attractiveness of Odijks work determines. The lush forms are sometimes downright lascivious, they seduce, like the pinnacles and ravines, the lovely plants, slippery rocks and sharp palisades, in their own way. The question is whether a child likes to play in this forest, that looks enchanting, but also rough, horrifying, wild and rugged. The passer-by in the tax office in Doetinchem is entrained in At The Rim, Erik Odijk forces the viewer to position itself, halfway between dream and breathtaking reality.

Ilse van Rijn.
November 2011.
(TASTE 54)