The Ice Fountain Birthe Leemeijer

Dokkum
‘The basic shape of the Ice Fountain is based on a photo by Erik Koch that was taken during the legendary winter of 1963, when even the North Sea froze over. The photo shows how a sculpture of ice had formed in the receding water. The shape of the fountain, executed in concrete, also refers to the history of Dokkum, which was once an important seaport until the sea vanished from sight. ‘The formation of the ice is continuously determined by the interplay of the elements.
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities

The various parts of the sculpture freeze and thaw, depending on the weather. Drops of water from freshly melted icicles fall on the still frozen parts and freeze again. The sides of the stacked elements assume a structure that can form “ice beards”. ‘The extent to which the fountain will form ice is dependent on the amount of green energy generated by the solar panels, which are part of the artwork. Residents of Dokkum can also add panels for their households, if they so desire. An energy cooperative is being set up for this purpose. ‘“The Ice Fountain” was designed for the Market in Dokkum and will be surrounded by oak trees (Quercus Palustris, or pin oak). The Market is an emotionally charged, historical place where, it is said, the disciples of Boniface lie buried. Boniface chopped down the Holy Oak that had been venerated by the pagan Frisians. The trees recall this history and the martyrs, and they turn blood red in the autumn.’

Birthe Leemeijer (the Netherlands, 1972) lives and works in Haarlem. Leemeijer is known for the unusual way in which she focuses her work on a location and its history, thereby inviting the visitor to become personally involved. Her primary concern is the physical and sensory experience of nature and the landscape, in which hidden socio-political aspects are subtly addressed. With her recent project ‘The Boundless Gardens’, for example, she highlights the originally Asian tulip as a kind of migrant, pointing out that the tulip mania of the 17th century caused one of the first crises of capitalism. Leemeijer likes to work with local groups and scientists. She has been offered a number of commissions for work in public spaces and exhibits in leading museums and art institutions in the Netherlands and the

Fountains