Feature: Rowan Van As: The Seagull

Rowan van As’s artistic production consists in the creation of sculptures, performances and music. An example is his installation The Flying Carpet, a floating representation of a flying carpet; which could be interpreted as a desperate hope for a miracle for all those people who did not arrive in Europe, crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Other installations are a mix of performance, music and visual art, such as Antwerp City You’re So Pretty, a sound-happening in the streets of the city, where, dressed as a giant mussel, replete with a keyboard and a microphone, he plays songs about the city’s chauvinism.

He also sculpted a gull from spot-welded wire steel, a common material used in lots items such as laundry racks. Van As is interested in the making techniques that are eventually manifested in everyday items and then uses them in his works.

The seagull is the piece he chose to bring to IMACO. The idea of IMACO is to make one last performance with a sculpture of choice and then leave it behind on stage for the next performing artist to take it home, and possibly do performances with it. In September all the works are brought together again, to be auctioned at WORM.

As we speak I imagine the seagull left in the centre of the UBIK space and I think it will now take on a new life, maybe fly off in another direction. Just like the other artists who participated in this project Rowan finds it difficult to separate from the gull because it is imbued with memory, Rowan tells me that for seven years the gull remained in his studio as his best ‘sculptured’ friend.

Rotterdam is a city full of seagulls and so is the Zeeuwse island, Schouwen-Duiveland where Rowan comes from; a place surrounded by beaches where, as a kid, he would go to the beach and look for stuff that had drifted ashore. This is how during the interview we embark on a journey through the memory of Rowan.

When I listen to his story, beautiful images come to mind, almost from an ancient and distant, fantastic time. Quite a lot of Rowan’s sculptures are reminiscent of the sea, but are connected to life in the city.

Storyteller Marta Franzoso.