The Dutch artist Theo Jansen has become famous by the creation of Beach Animals, otherworldly constructions that are able, under favorable wind conditions, to move along the beach. In Dutch language they are called Strandbeesten and on the Internet you can find many fascinating videos of them.
Here is a compilation
I had never seen a Strandbeest in the real, so I was thrilled when I read that there was an exhibition of Jansen’s works in the ArtScience Museum in Singapore! I had planned already to visit my Singapore friends before my next trip to Holland, this was an extra reason. A full report of my Singapore trip will come later.
The iconic ArtScience museum was designed by architect Moshe Safdie and opened in 2011. The Strandbeest exhibition fits perfectly in the concept of this museum. Theo Jansen actually studied physics before becoming an artist and you can still see clearly the scientific/technical background of his creations.
Theo Jansen started the creation of his animals in 1990, basically using PVC tube. The first Strandbeesten are now fossils, they have evolved during the years, the newest species is the Burchus family, resembling giant caterpillars
The exhibition shows 13 large-scale Strandbeests, fossil ones and new developments. They have been assembled in the museum by a team of Jansen’s helpers, according to a museum attendant it took months..:-)
It is really a pleasure to view these creations, even when they are static and don’t move
But of course it is even nicer when they move..:-) At certain times of the day demonstrations are given with a few models, using a wind generator, but not during my visit.
However, there are two models you can move by hand. Fascinating!
Of course I had to do it myself.
It is a nice exhibition, occupying one floor of the museum. You can experiment yourself, the kids can make drawings.
Some of his creations look like prehistoric animals.
The details are often astonishing.
A few more pictures
If this one was supposed to move, I don’t know. But so beautiful! This exhibition brings you in a happy mood.
The exhibition in Singapore will be on until 30 September 2018. More information about opening times, guided tours etc, can be found here.
For the Dutch readers of this post, here is a very readable interview with Theo Jansen, from 1996: De schaamte van een strand-eskimo