The artist says that unless the sculpture has its patina returned before Friday of this week, he will begin court proceedings
Translated by Thomas Ansell
A 6-metre tall dog sculpture, called ‘Mannes’, sits just outside of Assen Station and has become something of an icon for the city in recent years. It is the work of the artists Maurice Nio and Q.S Serafijn (real name: Lambertus Gerardus Anna Hack), and was unveiled in 2018 as part of the refurbishment of the station.
A few months ago, the Gemeente Assen decided that it wanted to restore the weather-beaten appearance of ‘Mannes’, and decided to cover the dog (which is made form reconstituted wood) with some thick, brown lacquer. With ‘Mannes’ looking like a freshly creosoted fence, he was restored to his proud position at the entrance to the city.
However, and perhaps predictably for an artist with 6 names, Q.S Serafijn has decided that the ‘refurbishment’ is absolutely unacceptable. Serafijn has now taken on a lawyer, Marcel de Zwaan, and demanded that the Gemeente Assen restore ‘Mannes’ to its pleasing former patina. “From the moment that you receive an artwork, and it must be restored, you can’t turn it into something else”, says Serafijn/Hack.
According to De Zwaan, the artist remains the intellectual owner of the art-work (it’s a dog), and the Gemeente Assen should have worked with Serafijn to restore the sculpture.
Nio, meanwhile, says that it is ridiculous to expect something to look identical once it has been restored: “I, along with the Gemeente, have worked hard to restore Mannes, and my work took seven months to complete. The dog was equally shiny when it was first installed, and it is the top-coat of lacquer that is shiny: I expect it to deteriorate within a few months [back to a matte finish].”
Apparently, reports RTV Drenthe, the Gemeente Assen spent about 90,000 euros ‘restoring’ the sculpture, and will first speak to their legal department before responding to Serafijn/Hack’s letter.