For over 350 years Atlas is carrying the universe on his shoulders, standing on top of the Amsterdam Royal Palace. This statue by Artus Quellinus is a familiar icon of the city. It is made of bronze and was cast by the Hemony brothers in 1664. These brothers as well manufactured almost all church bells of the city: Westertoren, Oosterkerk, Zuiderkerk, Munttoren, Oude Kerk and Royal Palace.
Atlas by Heinen Delfts Blauw
Jacob de Baan made an interpretation of Atlas. Jacob is inspired by Atlas and he is wondering if Atlas can hear the bells that are all around him. Atlas is doing his job without complaining. But he maybe is tired and is suffering from his heavy burden. From his position Atlas can see the Westertoren and the Herengracht. Maybe Atlas could go for a walk? Condemned to shoulder the universe for ever, freedom seems impossible to Atlas. The monumental installation asks difficult questions about the nature of choice and is a dazzling telling of the myth of Atlas and Heracles.
The design by Jacob de Baan wants to communicate to the visitors that it is possible to turn the familiar on its head. It is a touching meditation on the difficult journey to selfknowledge. And to learn to put down our burden of the world.
Inspiration for the theme as well came from the novel ‘Weight’ by Jeanette Winterson.