"Vanrens" in your house

Jack de Valk

Miradero 1-2-3.

’Vanrens’ in your house

The first sculpture I bought from Helma is a vertical standing metal plate of 5 by 55 cm, lifted somewhat from the ground by a fragile foot. Marks from the mill are still visible on the steel: the material has remained itself. It radiates clear strength, and perhaps is therefore not immediately touchable, rather distant. There it stands, a bit obstinately raised, maybe even ‘elevated’.

But in the manner in which it stands on its foot, it is cautious, almost vulnerable. It is this tension that makes the sculpture’s presence felt. Its prominence takes up space, no, it makes space around itself, even makes this space clear, tangible.

Sometimes the sculpture stands on the floor in our house, sometimes on the windowsill; at the moment it is high, in front of an upper window. Each time different: each time creating space.

All these years of seeing (and sometimes being able to buy) her work, we encounter the individuality of her work again and again.
Her sculptures are there in all their material uniqueness, they demand space and evoke space; they are approachable from all sides, even from above and below. At first they keep you at a distance, they want to be conquered, they force you to look, look and then see, ‘recognize’. For their spiritual strength will not be surrendered at first sight. Perhaps that is why they retain their strength all those years, and entice you time and again.

We rehang and move the various objects in our home from time to time. That keeps your eyes sharp, your spirit fresh and your
mind alive. It seems as if Helma’s sculptures request it. Some of them (such as ‘Profunda’ and ‘Pareja’) are even built up of two parts. My hands tingle to keep on placing them elsewhere and to feel how the tension between the two parts can be increased.

That certainly is the case with ‘Pareja’. As an architect I see the monumentality of those sculptures, almost urban architectural masses with their interspaces, or sculptures in squares which keep the city moving. Something to live with, or in!

Jack de Valk