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Urban Sensibility in and around Eindhoven

A project by Frank Bruggeman and Ernst van der Hoeven.

GroundAbout is about looking. It’s about city and vegetation, culture and nature, not as separate entities but as one amalgamated whole. Artist Frank Bruggeman and Landscapearchitect Ernst van der Hoeven have a sharp eye for these kinds of places. Sometimes unspoiled green grows rampant, at other times buildings or other human traces dominate the image.

For GroundAbout at MU Bruggeman and Van der Hoeven, makers of the magazine Club Donny, are seeking tension between cultivated and ‘wild’ nature in and around Eindhoven. Twenty spots they found, with ease. No neatly raked-over parks or well-tended inner gardens, but community gardens, construction sites and traffic islands, unexpected oases full of botanical richness. A variegated privet run wild in a neglected citypark or a deserted switch yard taken over by nature. The prevailing question in all cases is to what these places owe their unique sensibility. What makes a patch of land a spot, a segment of city a biotope?

GroundAbout, however, aims to be more than just a special course in observation. It is the makers’ ambition – quite in line with the objective of the magazine – to break a lance for the personal perception of nature in an urban context and the generous sharing of it.
Club Donny and GroundAbout both aim to show the audience more than the obligatory green of public gardens, parks, and avenues. Not that these aren’t nice, quite the contrary. But there is more, much more that often legitimizes it’s existence beyond the scope of the municipal regulations and doesn’t reveal itself readily. It is located in the side wings of the city, the residual spaces, the twilight zones. Those who are receptive to it and ‘discover’ it, will experience it as a free state. A free and very individual experience.

The fragmented urban structure of Eindhoven proves to be an ideal landscape for research into these uniquecityscapes. GroundAbout depicts twenty of them. Printed in poster format, they are ready to be taken home with you. Together with crude wooden structures they form an installation with which MU temporarily goes beyond the nature of an exhibition space. If you climb the bridge and lookouts, you will experience this art biotope in the city in a very different way, if only for a brief moment. Even the view of the ‘concrete’ reality of its environment takes on a different perspective.

In collaboration with Eric Roelen (installation) and Boudewijn Bollmann (photography)

At the invitation of MU, Bruggeman and Van der Hoeven also designed a special area at Strijp S: an elongated labyrinth with a huge diversity of dahliaspecies in funky flowerbeds immediately next to the NatLab. This Dahlia Drive is part of the flux-s festival, which takes place from September 10 through September 13. Dahlia Drive is also made possible by Woonbedrijf.

Club Donny