Flipping the Bird (2020) | Jaap Scheeren

‘Flipping the Bird’ is a photographic work by visual artist Jaap Scheeren (1979). Three nature images are displayed on billboards of 6 x 3 metres, spread around the NDSM-wharf. This project confronts the viewer and shows the serious yet absurdist way in which humans relate to nature.

Upon arriving at the northern banks of the IJ-river, you will stumble upon images of a few rebelling animals. A rat, a swan, a squirrel, all putting up their middle finger. Scheeren creates a world in which he uses his own logic, intuition and rules, but always adds a humoristic twist. With these photographs displayed in public space – at the NDSM-wharf and around Tolhuistuin, the artist tells a story about a human trying to connect to nature. The absurdist images, which were also featured in Het Parool, can be seen from 17 October onwards on large billboards ( 6 x 3 meter) in various spots at the NDSM-wharf. The work’s title points to the act of changing one’s perspective towards animals and nature, but also refers to a British slang saying for ‘giving someone the finger’. Jaap Scheeren: “It’s my objective that we become more conscious of mankind’s position with regards to nature. How can we go back to being an organic part of it?

Scheeren’s exhibition is the first in a new programme series ‘NDSM Billboards’, with which the NDSM-Foundation provides artists with space on large billboards: In addition to the billboards in the western area of the NDSM, we want the eastern area to offer artists an opportunity to attach their statements to large surfaces. Besides some well-known names, we also want this to be a way for young talent to display their work in a large size in response to the context of NDSM and the wider publics of Amsterdam.

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