Flora & Fauna Shen Yuan

Hindeloopen
‘The Hindeloopen Fountain Commission supplied me with a great deal of information on the history and stories of Hindeloopen. I became inspired by the town coat of arms, especially by the myths connected with it. The town coat of arms consists of a tree, with a stag and a doe (‘hinde’) surrounding it. According to legend, the tree is a so-called “tree of life”. Its roots are in the underworld and its branches point to heaven. The tree symbolises the life force, but it also stands for wisdom.
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities

The stag and the doe feed on its leaves. In my design of the fountain the tree of life occupies a central position. It is surrounded on the left and the right by a large set of antlers lying on the ground. There are birds in the tree that spit water at irregular intervals. The antlers refer to the primordial power of the stag and the doe, and they also resemble the tree’s roots and branches. They were made locally from durable wood, and you can sit on them to look at the festive tree. Around the tree is a basalt basin that collects the water. A few holes have also been made in the soil, where Hindeloopen flower motifs can be seen under reinforced glass. In the evening the holes are illuminated, which enhances the beautiful, poetic atmosphere.’

Shen Yuan (China, 1959) lives and works in Paris. Shen Yuan is one of the few female Chinese artists who makes work for public spaces. She chooses her subjects directly from life in France as a Chinese woman would experience it. This may result in a wall relief with multicoloured tongues, symbolising her language problem. Or a typical Chinese bridge of Delft blue tiles in one of the parks of Paris. Or a gigantic hairbrush with black hairs in it. Each time, we are struck by the impressive, traditional craftsmanship with which she executes her sculptures and installations. Shen Yuan has participated in a number of exhibitions in Asia and has exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Hayward Gallery in London. In 2007 she represented China at the Venice Biennale along with three other female Chinese artists. In 2017 the Denmark Biennale also showed some of her sculptures and installations.

Fountains