Lucien den Arend (photographer Lucien den Arend)

Lucien den Arend spent his youth in California and began art studies there. He moved to the Netherlands in the early 1960s, where he graduated as a drawing teacher and then continued his studies in sculpting in Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts. In 1970 he received Threshold Rotterdam Art Foundation Award. Lucien den Arend taught sculpture in Rietveld Art Academy in Amsterdam 1977 - 1978 and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague 1981 - 1982.

Lucien den Arend is one of the central exponents of European Concrete Art. For him the main driving force behind the work of art is the study of structure and geometry. Den Arend seeks to avoid arbitrariness and aims for mathematical purity of expression in his sculpture. The geometric contours arise from the precisely bent tubular structures, plates and cut shapes.

Den Arend is also a renowned environmental artist, who has made site specific sculptures, land art and environmental projects. His public art works include e.g. Pieter Janszoon Saenredam Project, a massive island encompassing environment in Barendrecht, Holland and Dirksland Polder, a road bridge and its environment also in Holland, Closing the Arctic Circle, a stainless steel tubular structure in the courtyard of the Kemijärvi cultural center and Veera, a red painted steel plate sculpture in the Vaasa waterfront park.

Lucien den Arend was secretary of the Dutch Sculptor’s Association 1979 – 1984 and its chairman 1984 – 1986 and chairman of the Scholarship Committee for Artists and Architects of the Dutch Ministry of Culture 1981-1983. Den Arend has also actively worked towards greater cultural understanding. He realized an international sculpture park in the Drechtsteden, Holland in 1996 and started the organization for a second international sculpture park in Finland in 2004. Den Arend coordinated the exchange between Dutch and Bulgarian artists for which he was awarded the 1st Class Order of the Knight of Madara. Den Arend also served as a cultural ambassador for Unesco in 2005. In 2006 he opened POAM Penttilä Open Air Museum where a collection of his works is permanently exhibited.

Environmental Art Encounters-seminar 26.4.2007

Ympäristötaide - Lelystad, Alankomaat.
homage to El Lissitzky land art in The Netherlands 1986

In his speech Lucien den Arend examined the relationship between art and built environment. Ideally, the architecture is not only the sum of its parts, but a holistic experience, which creates an atmosphere and is tinged with social encounters.

Land Art, bridge, the Netherlands.
Bridge and designs for Highway S47 (now N215) around Dirksland and Middelharnis, Provincial Department of Construction of the Province of Zuid-Holland The Netherlands 1984-1989

A sculptor always wishes to find the best location for his work: a location in which the scale, material, color and shape of the sculpture fits the environment. When the sculpture already exists, this may be a challenge. Ideally the artist gets to conceive and make a site-specific sculpture for an existing location. Then there is the possibility of not “installing” a sculpture at all. When in 1969 den Arend received his first commission for an interior garden at a vocational rehabilitation and employment plant (DSW in Dordrecht, Holland), it enabled him to do more than place a sculpture on a given location. Den Arend created a holistic environment in which garden and sculpture form a harmonious whole.

This was the opening for his career as an environmental artist. The realization of the fact that any present natural environment really originates from a partnership between man and natural forces either joining them or opposing them, opened up a whole new world. Environmental art can be made using only elements and resources from our environment, be it natural or manmade artifacts. There is no need for separate, or even included sculpture, when the whole environment becomes the sculpture.

Katariina Lipsanen

Marjut Pitkänen, Kari Huhtamon Taidesäätiö ja Sari Väyrynen, Lapin yliopisto. Bulletin on the Encounters-seminar.
Merja Vehmas: Top artists trust the idea of the world class university. Lapin Kansa 27.4.2007.

Encounters page
Kari Piippo
Lucien den Arend
Jorma Hautala
Yrjö Kukkapuro
Antero Toikka