The statues of Elselien van der Graaf
The statues of Elselien van der Graaf are getting more pure and simplified , a development that becomes clear in the statue at the art-lending institute on the Maliebaan, whith the title ‘Carrier of the Night’.
Elselien van der Graaf is working on her statue ‘Carrier of the Night’. It is a good example of her new stile, in which she tries to get to the core of certain sentiments.
One of her statues ‘Lady Justitia’ is placed at the entrance of the Court house in Utrecht. She created it in her atelier on a fortress close by the Koningsweg. This place represents her work: dedicated and engagement directly connected with the need to isolation in order to focus on her worl and create her own imagery.
Van der Graaf: “I love to work with an assignment for a certain place. Then, you’re not only working on the statue, but also have to take into the account the environment in which it will be placed. The contact with the one giving you the assignment, the people you work for, is very important. I head to learn a lot about that, just by myself, they didn’t teach you that on the Art Academy.
When we go trough Van der Graaf’s earlier work, we get an image of the way Utrecht was during her studies, when art still had to be politically engaged and she worked on posters for the first ‘Flight to Lowlands Paradise’ and demonstrated against the war in Vietnam. Van der Graaf worked as a volunteer in the prison on the Gansstraat: ‘Imprisonment makes you anonymous, the windows reflect that. I worked there as a student. The objective was to empower people in underprivileged situations with creativity, prisoner, disabled people, and the socially challenged. We didn’t want creativity to be only accessible for a small group of happy, privileged people.